1997 was the eighth year of the Sports Car Club of America Pro Racing’s World Challenge series.

Last season, four categories were contested – Sport 1 and 2 and Touring 1 and 2. The high costs associated with the Sport division caused Pro Racing to eliminate the category. In 1997, titles were on the line for Touring 1 and Touring 2.

  • Touring 1 is the faster of the two categories and is for American produced vehicles such as the Saleen Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro and Corvette. This group is also open to European and Japanese cars and includes the Acura NSX, Mazda RX-7 Turbo, BMW M3 and Porsche RSR.
  • Touring 2 is for the small-bore cars from Japan, Europe and the United States. Vehicles competing in this category include the Acura Integra, Mazda RX-7 and MX-6, Honda Prelude, BMW 328, Ford Contour and Oldsmobile Calais and Achieva.

The schedule is consists of ten events beginning in February and ending in October.

    St. Petersburg, Florida
  • Lime Rock Park, Connecticut
  • Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Ohio
  • Watkins Glen International, New York
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Heartland Park, Kansas
  • Trois-Rivieres, Quebec
  • Mosport Park, Ontario
  • Pikes Peak International Raceway, Colorado
  • Reno Hilton Street Circuit, Nevada

Round eight of the 1997 World Challenge Touring championship was held at Mosport Park. Drivers in the Touring 1 and 2 classes would compete simultaneously around the ten turn 2.459-mile road course in a fifty-minute contest.

Rob Fellows scored his first World Challenge Touring 1 victory at Heartland Park, which was followed by his worst result of the season, an eighteenth-place at Trois-Rivieres. It appeared that Fellows’ bad luck followed him to his home track, Mosport, as he lost an engine in practice. The motor was replaced and Fellows was the fastest qualifier in the No. 4 Saleen Mustang. He was gridded second and led the race flag-to-flag.
Touring 2 teammates, Pierre Kleinubing and Michael Galati staged an epic battle. The points leader, Galati, in the No. 44 Acura Integra led from, the start but was passed by Johannes van Overbeek, who was first until he spun. Then the duel was between Galati and Kleinubing. Kleinubing took the top spot on lap-8, but lost it to Galati on the nineteenth circuit. Kleinubing regained the position and claimed the victory.
Vermont resident Kermit Upton III was only competing in the 1997 World Challenge Touring 1 class on a part-time basis. He took the No. 25 Mountain Auto Sport BMW M3 to victory in his first race of the season at Lime Rock Park and collected a third-place at Trois-Rivieres. At Mosport, Upton qualified third fastest and started fourth. He passed Lou Gigliotti on lap-3 and chased Rob Fellows to a runner-up result.
The Touring 1 points leader entering round eight was Peter Cunningham. Another commitment prevented Cunningham from participating at Mosport. The services of Boris Said were enlisted to drive the No. 42 Acura NSX. Said flat-spotted his tires in qualifying. They were replaced; however, the rules required him to start the race from the rear of the field. Said moved up the order and finished in third place.
Taz Harvey entered the Mosport round with a season-high runner-up result at Watkins Glen International and a third-place finish in the Touring 2 category at Minneapolis. Harvey recorded the eighth fastest time in qualifying for race eight, driving the No. 8 Redline Oil sponsored Honda Prelude Si. He fell to ninth place during the contest but battled back to capture the final spot on the class podium.
The defending Touring 1 champion, Lou Gigliotti, was second in the title chase, but the absence of Peter Cunnigham at Mosport was an excellent opportunity for him to close the points gap and possibly move into the championship lead. Gigliotti qualified second fastest and was gridded in the third position. He was running third in the race when an incident with Touring 2 competitors forced him to retire on lap-10.
LG Motorsports entered four Saleen Mustangs in round eight at Mosport. In addition to team principal Lou Gigliotti, the cars were driven by Simon Gregg, Doug Frazier and Ron Johnson. Gregg, the son of successful Porsche racer Peter Gregg, qualified fourth-fastest and drew the pole for the twenty-eight-lap contest. Unfortunately, his race ended at the midway point when he had an accident in the No. 59 Saleen Mustang.

1Rob FellowsSaleen MustangMcGraw Racing28-
2Kermit Upton IIIBMW M3MASR Autosport28-
3Boris SaidAcura NSXRealTime Racing28-
4Sean GrosmanChevrolet CamaroSMG Motorsport28-
5Duane GrahovecChevrolet CamaroAmerican Lock28-
6Reese CoxChevrolet CorvetteMTI Chevy28-
7Harry BytzekPorsche RSRBytzek Motorsports28-
8Thomas Safar IIChevrolet CorvetteTSUNANI28-
9Grant CarterChevrolet CamaroRedline Oil28-
10Anthony BusoEagle TalonMilano Biscuit26-
11Doug FrazierSaleen MustangLG Motorsports26-
12Ron JohnsonSaleen MustangLG Motorsports25-
13Chris CamadellaChevrolet CamaroFlat Four24-
14Cameron WorthMazda RX-7 TurboPettit Racing19Engine
15Simon GreggSaleen MustangLG Motorsports14Accident
16Walter SwickBMW M3Tridelta Industries14Mechanical
17Bob SchiesserFord MustangAdvanced Automotive13Engine
18Pierre BareilFord Mustang LXBareil Racing11Mechanical
19Lou GigliottiSaleen MustangLG Motorsports10Accident
20Trevor GoddardFord MustangT.S.E.6Transmission
21Bruno BusoEagle TalonMilano Biscuit4Mechanical
-Peter KitchakPorsche RSRToad Road Racing0Did Not Start

1Pierre KleinubingAcura IntegraRealTime Racing27-
2Michael GalatiAcura IntegraRealTime Racing27-
3Taz HarveyHonda PreludeDublin Honda27-
4Jim LovettHonda PreludeRealTime Racing27-
5Paul BooherSaturn SCICY Racing27-
6Walter PuckettSaturn SCICY Racing27-
7Chuck HemmingsonOldsmobile CalaisPatent It27-
8David RosenblumSaturn SCICY Racing27-
9Alain ChebeirBMW 328isLast Minute Racing26-
10Fred PignataroMazda RX-7Autotrend Racing26-
11Steve LisaOldsmobile AchievaPatent It26-
12Fernando MaldonadoMazda RX-7Autotrend26-
13Michael DefontesMazda RX-7Casfab Racing25-
14Dennis BaglierMazda MX-6Baglier Racing24-
15Ronald JesbergerMazda RX-7Tangerine Racing23-
16Fred MeyerHonda Prelude SiRealTime Racing23-
17Manny MatzMazda RX-7Matco-Norco22-
18Peter SchwartzottHonda Prelude SiSchwartzott Motorsports20Mechanical
19Johannes van OverbeekBMW 328Last Minute Racing13Radiator
20A.J. AshleyMazda RX-7Autocraft Racing7Mechanical
-Chris ReinkeFord ContourSigma Motorsports0Did Not Start

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