The Super Touring concept proved popular in the '90s with series in Australia, Britain, Germany, Italy and Sweden. The cars were production based vehicles using 2-liter engines which produced approximately 300-horsepower. They were allowed to use six-speed sequential transmissions. But the suspension had to retain the original design although it could be fully adjustable. ABS brake systems were not allowed but the cars could be fitted with larger rotors and calipers. These series had cars entered from just about every manufacturer.

As this type of racing was a worldwide success, it seemed only natural to attempt it in North America. 1996 was the inaugural season of the North American Touring Car Championship (NATCC) with sixteen-races on eight-weekends held in the US and Canada - often as a support series on CART weekends. The 1996 series champion was Randy Pobst driving a Honda Accord. Unfortunately, there were very few entrants with each event averaging 10 to 12 cars. Despite low car counts in the first year the series proved popular with fans and with some optimism they proceeded for a second season.

The 1997 season opened at Long Beach in April. It was followed by events at Savanah, Detroit, Portland, Cleveland, Toronto, Mid-Ohio, Vancouver and concluded at Laguna Seca in September. The Driver’s Championship was won by David Donohue in a Dodge Stratus but the Manufacturer’s title went to Honda. Unfortunately, low car counts (about 9 – 10 entries per event) in 1997 contributed to the demise of the series.

The sixth race weekend of the 1997 season was held at Toronto’s eleven-turn Exhibition Place. It was one of the better-subscribed races with 11-entries.

Fastest qualifier for round-eleven was Dominic Dobson driving the PacWest entered Dodge Stratus. Before the end of the first lap, he was passed by Peter Cunningham in a Honda Accord. Dobson was able to re-pass Cunningham and lead laps-2 to 18 securing the victory. This would be Dobson’s second and last win of the 1997 season – he finished fourth in the final Driver’s standings.
Australian Touring Car veteran, Neil Crompton finished a close second to Dominic Dobson in the first race at Toronto. The Honda driver’s effort earned him the fastest race lap which put him on the pole for round-twelve. Crompton would lead all laps and finish 2.839-seconds ahead of Dobson. During the year, Crompton would win 7-rounds finishing third in the championship.
Mexican Roberto Quintanilla was a successful Formula Atlantic driver in the mid-80s. Quintanilla drove a Ralt RT-4 and finished second in the 1986 WCAR Formula Atlantic Championship. During the 1997 Super Touring Car season Quintanilla campaigned a Honda Accord prepared by Hertfelder Motorsports. He finished ninth in Round-11 after starting eleventh and in the next race was eighth.
For the 1997 season, defending Super Touring Car Champion, Randy Pobst switched makes – his team replaced the Honda Accord with a BMW 320i. The T.C. Cline prepared car did not prove as successful as the previous year’s Honda. At Toronto Pobst had two seventh-place finishes. He did not earn any wins in 1997 but through consistency was able to finish fifth in the final standings.
The second factory Dodge entry was for David Donohue. Donohue had a pair of fourth-place finishes in Toronto. His 1997 season was much better at other venues - five-wins (Detroit, Portland, Cleveland and two at Mid-Ohio) and 11-podiums which were enough to secure the Driver’s Championship.
The No. 42 Honda Accord was raced by Peter Cunningham. Prior to his road racing career, Cunningham achieved success in Ice Racing, Solo and Rallying events. At Toronto, he scored a pair of third-place finishes. His season included four wins and the runner-up spot in the Driver’s standings. Also, the efforts of Cunningham and Neil Crompton gave Honda the Manufacturers Championship.
The Fastech Group entered a Ford Contour/Mondeo which was driven by David Welch. Based in Seattle, Washington the team drew on experience from competing in SCCA and NASCAR events. In Toronto, Welch had a great battle with Darren Law who was driving the Hartong Motorsports BMW. During round-eleven Law got the upper hand finishing fifth and was trailed by Welch. In the next race, the finishing order was reversed.
Schader Motorsports entered two Mazdas for the 1997 season – one for team owner Bob Schader and a second car for South African open wheel veteran Desire Wilson. Schader entered the series with an impressive racing resume - having won the American Cities Racing League Championship and he also shared the winning cars at the 1994 and 95 24-Hours of Daytona. Schader had eighth and ninth place finishes in Toronto.
Doug Beatty Jr. started the weekend in the No. 12 T.C. Cline BMW. Beatty, a local driver, had some success in the very competitive Canadian series for Chevrolet Camaros and Pontiac Firebirds. With experience on the Toronto circuit, he should have been optimistic about his chances for a good finish. Unfortunately, he experienced mechanical problems throughout the weekend.

11Dominic DobsonDodge Stratus18-
24Neil CromptonHonda Accord18-
32Peter CunninghamHonda Accord18-
43David DonohueDodge Stratus18-
57Darren LawBMW 320i18-
65David WelchFord Contour18-
76Randy PobstBMW 320i18-
88Bob SchaderMazda 62618-
99Roberto QuintanillaHonda Accord18-
1010Doug Beatty Jr.BMW 320i1Mechanical
1111Desire WilsonMazda 6261Accident

11Neil CromptonDodge Stratus20-
22Dominic DobsonHonda Accord20-
33Peter CunninghamHonda Accord20-
44David DonohueDodge Stratus20-
57David WelchBMW 320i20-
66Darren LawFord Contour20-
75Randy PobstBMW 320i20-
89Roberto QuintanillaMazda 62620-
98Bob SchaderHonda Accord13Oil Line Fitting
1010Doug Beatty Jr.BMW 320i1Mechanical
1111Desire WilsonMazda 6260Did Not Start

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