In 2011, the Pirelli World Challenge Championship kicked off at Saint Petersburg, Florida in March as a support event for the IndyCar series. Saint Petersburg was followed by a race on the temporary street circuit at Long Beach, California. The remaining contests were conducted on traditional road courses beginning with Miller Motorsport Park in late April and then a trip to Canada for the Mosport Park rounds. The series did not reconvene until August at Mid-Ohio. Races nine and ten were held at Infineon Raceway in California. The penultimate event took place at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca with the finale at Road Atlanta during the Petit Le Mans weekend.

The 2011 season opened with two big news items.

  • First, was the return of Cadillac to the series after a four-year absence.
  • Finally, Toyo was replaced by Pirelli as the series tire supplier. Competitors would now race on slicks rather than DOT performance street tires.

    The series also introduced a new class in 2010 – Grand Touring Sport. The additional category resulted in changes to the rules for Touring Cars. Vehicle rules remained basically unchanged for 2011. The three classes were: The three classes were:

    • Grand Touring (GT) – This group included the series quickest cars: Cadillac CTS-V, Porsche 911 GT3, Chevrolet Corvette, Dodge Viper, Nissan GT-R and Volvo S60. The preparation rules remained unchanged from the previous year for these vehicles.
    • Grand Touring Sport (GTS) – The cars in this category are similar to the GT vehicles but have additional preparation restrictions. This class is mainly comprised of the Acura TSX, Ford Mustang FR500S, Ford Mustang Boss 302S and Chevrolet Camaro.
    • Touring Car (TC) – Touring Cars were not allowed many of the modifications. The preparation of the vehicles was closely aligned with Grand-Am Cup and the Sports Car Club of America’s Improved Touring classes. Makes competing in the category included the Volvo C30, Scion tC, Mazda RX-8, Honda Civic, Volkswagen Jetta and Golf.

    As in 2010, all classes competed in the same fifty-minute race – 1996 was the last time that categories competed together.

    Rounds one and two of the 2011 Pirelli World Challenge championship were conducted at Saint Petersburg, Florida. Competitors in the Grand Touring, Grand Touring Sport and Touring Car classes would race in two fifty-minute contests around the fourteen-turn 1.800-mile temporary street course.

  • The class winners for the opening round of the 2011 Pirelli World Challenge championship at Saint Petersburg. On the left is the Touring Car victor and 2006 Grand Touring champion, Lawson Aschenbach. In the center of the podium is Porsche driver and the Grand Touring race winner, Patrick Long. Completing the rostrum is Jason von Kluge, the winner of the Grand Touring Sport category.
    Patrick Long returned to the Pirelli World Challenge series driving the Truspeed Porsche 911 GT3. Long led round one flag-to-flag but it wasn’t easy; he fended off challenges from Randy Pobst and Mike Skeen. The following day, Long was gridded second and at the start followed the pole-sitter, Pobst and James Sofronas. On lap-3, he passed Pobst and with three laps remaining he took the lead and win from Sofronas.
    The 2006 World Challenge GT champion and former Saint Petersburg race winner, Lawson Aschenbach was entered in the Touring Car category driving a Honda Civic Si. He started the weekend’s first contest third in class. Flat tires eliminated first and second fastest qualifiers, Tristan Herbert and Chip Herr which allowed Aschenbach to take a comfortable victory. In round two, he inherited second when Herr retired.
    Eric Foss joined the GTS ranks in a Ford Mustang FR500S. Foss qualified first in class for the season opener. He finished fourth after battling with Peter Cunningham, Paul Brown and the winner, Jason von Kluge. At the start of Sunday’s race, Foss moved from his fourth starting position to second and chased the pole-sitter, Paul Brown, until Brown had to pit with a flat tire – despite pressure from Cunningham he took the win.
    Former Mustang Challenge competitor, Jason von Kluge adapted quickly to the Pirelli World Challenge series. In Saturday’s contest, von Kluge started fifth in the GTS category. On the lap-18 restart, he passed Peter Cunningham, Eric Foss and Paul Brown and maintained first to the checkered flag. Von Kluge started second for the weekend’s final race but could not match the pace of the leaders and finished fifth.
    Starting on the Touring Car pole for the season’s first round was Tristan Herbert. Herbert was leading the race when he had to pit for a flat tire – Herbert finished thirteenth in class. Despite some confusion during a caution period in the weekend’s second contest, Herbert moved from his third starting position to take the victory in the No. 33 Brimtek Motorsports prepared Volkswagen GTI.
    RealTime team principal and the defending GTS champion, Peter Cunningham qualified fourth in his Acura TSX and finished third after a heated fight with Jason von Kluge, Paul Brown and Eric Foss. The following day, Cunningham was gridded fifth and chased Paul Brown and Eric Foss until Brown made contact with a slower car. In the runner-up position, Cunningham put pressure on Foss but could not gain the position.
    Paul Brown drove the No. 50 Lucas Oil/K&N Filter sponsored Ford Mustang Boss 302S and was the second fastest Grand Touring Sport qualifier. After dicing with Peter Cunningham, Jason von Kluge and Eric Foss in race one, he finished second. Brown started round two on the pole and led until contact with slower Touring Car resulted in a flat tire. He pitted and finished thirty-fourth overall and twelfth in class.
    GMG Porsche 911 GT3 driver; Dino Crescentini found himself in fifth place just before the last caution. But Crescentini nailed the restart and shot past Randy Pobst and his GMG teammate, James Sofronas. Mike Skeen’s incident of the last lap elevated him to a second place finish. On Sunday, a spin in turn one on the first lap dropped Crescentini to last place. He charged through the field and finished ninth.
    Florida resident and first time World Challenge entrant, Ron Zitza finish second in the Touring Car class driving the No. 60 Zotz Racing Volkswagen Jetta. Zitza was gridded eighth but flat tires for Tristan Herbert and Chip Herr allowed him to capture the runner-up spot. In the weekend’s second event, he encountered problems and finished thirty-seventh overall and twelfth in class.
    In race one, series veteran, James Sofronas qualified third in the No. 14 Porsche 911 GT3. Sofronas battled with the Corvette of Mike Skeen, Randy Pobst in a Volvo and his teammate, Dino Crescentini. Some shuffling on the last lap resulted in a third-place finish. In Sunday’s race, Sofronas jumped from his second starting position to lead the contest. Lapped traffic allowed Patrick Long to slip by for the win.
    Mike Skeen driving the No. 2 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 qualified on the outside of the first row for race one. On the final lap, Skeen was battling Patrick Long for the victory. The Honda S2000 of Tom Felt spun in front of the leaders. Long cleared Felt but Skeen hit him and finished ninth. An engine change overnight meant Skeen had to start from the rear of the grid on Sunday. He charged through the field and finished third.
    In race one, Ray Mason benefitted from the misfortune of the Touring Car leaders, Tristan Herbert and Chip Herr, to grab the final position on the podium. The following day a consistent performance netted Mason and his TLMUSA.com/Columbus Truck sponsored Honda Civic Si a fifth-place at the checkered flag.

    FINISHCLASSCLASSDRIVERCARLAPSRETIREMENTS
    11GTPatrick LongPorsche 911 GT323-
    22GTDino CrescentiniPorsche 911 GT323-
    33GTJames SofronasPorsche 911 GT323-
    44GTJohnny O'ConnellCadillac CTS-V Coupe23-
    55GTRandy PobstVolvo S60 AWD23-
    66GTSteve OttNissan GT-R23-
    77GTTony GaplesChevrolet Corvette23-
    88GTPatrick LindseyChevrolet Corvette23-
    99GTMike SkeenChevrolet Corvette23-
    1010GTRob MorganPorsche 911 GT323-
    1111GTAndy PilgrimCadillac CTS-V Coupe23-
    1212GTTomy DrissiPorsche 911 GT323-
    1313GTFred RobertsDodge Viper23-
    141GTSJason von KlugeFord Mustang Boss 302S23-
    152GTSPaul BrownFord Mustang Boss 302S23-
    163GTSPeter CunninghamAcura TSX23-
    174GTSEric FossFord Mustang FR500S23-
    185GTSGeorge WinklerFord Mustang FR500S23-
    196GTSNick EsayianAcura TSX23-
    207GTSBrad AdamsFord Mustang FR500S23-
    218GTSRichard GolinelloFord Mustang FR500S23-
    221TCLawson AschenbachHonda Civic Si23-
    239GTSChris DeSalvoFord Mustang GT23-
    242TCRonald ZitzaVolkswagen Jetta23-
    253TCRay MasonHonda Civic Si23-
    264TCAaron PovoledoVolvo C30 FWD23-
    275TCPatrick SeguinHonda Civic Si23-
    286TCCharlie SolomonMazda RX-823-
    2914GTJason CarterPorsche 911 GT323-
    3010GTSArdee ToppeChevrolet Camaro23-
    317TCDevin CatesVolkswagen GTI23-
    328TCCarl HoberHonda Civic Si22-
    339TCRobb HollandVolvo C30 FWD22-
    3410TCCarolyn KujalaVolkswagen Jetta22-
    3511TCColin CohenVolkswagen GTI23-
    3612TCThomas EhlenHonda Civic Si22-
    3715GTJason DaskalosDodge Viper22-
    3813TCTristan HerbertVolkswagen GTI22-
    3911GTSErnie JakubowskiPorsche Cayman S22-
    4012GTSWilliam ZieglerMitsubishi EVO21-
    4113GTSTom FeltHonda S2000CR20Accident
    4214TCDon IstookVolkswagen GTI18-
    4315TCChip HerrMazda RX-817Mechanical
    4414GTSBen CroslandFord Mustang FR500S17Mechanical
    4515GTSAlec UdellChevrolet Camaro5Mechanical
    4616TCBrett SandbergHonda Civic Si5Accident
    4717TCEric MeyerMazda RX-85Accident
    4818TCShea HolbrookHonda Civic Si5Accident
    4916GTTony RiveraNissan GT-R2Accident

    FINISHCLASSCLASSDRIVERCARLAPSRETIREMENTS
    11GTPatrick LongPorsche 911 GT332-
    22GTJames SofronasPorsche 911 GT332-
    33GTMike SkeenChevrolet Corvette32-
    44GTJason DaskalosDodge Viper32-
    55GTTony GaplesChevrolet Corvette32-
    66GTRob MorganPorsche 911 GT332-
    77GTJohnny O'ConnellCadillac CTS-V Coupe32-
    88GTAndy PilgrimCadillac CTS-V Coupe32-
    99GTDino CrescentiniPorsche 911 GT332-
    1010GTTomy DrissiPorsche 911 GT332-
    1311GTFred RobertsDodge Viper32-
    612GTSteve OttNissan GT-R32-
    171GTSEric FossFord Mustang FR500S31-
    162GTSPeter CunninghamAcura TSX31-
    233GTSChris DeSalvoFord Mustang GT31-
    184GTSGeorge WinklerFord Mustang FR500S31-
    145GTSJason von KlugeFord Mustang Boss 302S31-
    196GTSNick EsayianAcura TSX31-
    217GTSRichard GolinelloFord Mustang FR500S31-
    208GTSBrad AdamsFord Mustang FR500S31-
    219GTSBen CroslandFord Mustang FR500S30-
    2210GTSArdee ToppeChevrolet Camaro30-
    2311GTSWilliam ZieglerMitsubishi EVO30-
    241TCTristan HerbertVolkswagen GTI30-
    252TCLawson AschenbachHonda Civic Si30-
    2613GTRandy PobstVolvo S60 AWD29Accident
    273TCPatrick SeguinHonda Civic Si29-
    284TCDevin CatesVolkswagen GTI29-
    295TCRay MasonHonda Civic Si29-
    306TCRobb HollandVolvo C30 FWD29-
    317TCCarl HoberHonda Civic Si29-
    328TCShea HolbrookHonda Civic Si29-
    339TCThomas EhlenHonda Civic Si29-
    3412GTSPaul BrownFord Mustang Boss 302S28Mechanical
    3510TCAaron PovoledoVolvo C30 FWD27-
    3611TCCharlie SolomonMazda RX-827-
    3712TCRonald ZitzaVolkswagen Jetta27-
    3813TCChip HerrMazda RX-825Mechanical
    3914TCDon IstookVolkswagen GTI22Mechanical
    4014GTPatrick LindseyChevrolet Corvette17Accident
    4113GTSErnie JakubowskiPorsche Cayman S9Mechanical
    4215TCCarolyn KujalaVolkswagen Jetta7Accident
    4315GTJason CarterPorsche 911 GT34Mechanical
    4416TCColin CohenVolkswagen GTI4Mechanical
    4514GTSAlec UdellChevrolet Camaro3Mechanical
    4617TCEric MeyerMazda RX-81Retired
    4715GTSTom FeltHonda S2000CR0Did Not Start
    4816GTTony RiveraNissan GT-R0Did Not Start
    4918TCBrett SandbergHonda Civic Si0Did Not Start

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