In 2001, the Sports Car Club of America’s (SCCA) World Challenge Championship was in its twelfth season. For the third year, Speedvision was the primary sponsor. SCCA had developed a successful format that attracted competitors and fans. A couple changes of note for this year:
  • There were larger purses due to an increase in the number of sponsors.
  • Competitors would be using a new spec tire from Toyo.

Race weekends included two standing start races (limited to fifty-minutes) – one for the Grand Touring class and another for the Touring Cars.

  • Grand Touring (GT) – The GT class rules accommodate an extensive range of vehicles from different manufacturers. There is no limit to the engine displacement in this category and cars may use a forced induction system. To stop the cars, alternative materials may be utilized for the brake pads and shoes. Rules also allow the use of four-piston calipers but rotors are limited to 14-inches in diameter. The maximum diameter of the wheels is 18-inches and any changes to the bodywork must be approved. The series uses a spec tire and competitors race on Toyo Proxes RA-1s.
  • Touring Car (TC) – The Touring Cars are limited to an engine displacement of 2.8-liters. The motors must be naturally aspirated (turbochargers or superchargers are not permitted). The Touring Cars are also allowed four-piston calipers and alternative materials for the brake pads and shoes but the maximum rotor diameter is 12-inches. Wheels in this group are limited to 17-inches. Cars can be fitted with a spec rear wing and approved aftermarket bodywork. This category also uses a spec tire from Toyo – the Proxes T1-S.

To prevent any driver/car combination from dominating the class and ensuring tight competition, the R.E.W.A.R.D.S. System was implemented. Introduced in 1995, R.E.W.A.R.D.S. is the acronym for ‘Rewarding of Equalizing Weight Assigned to Reduce Driver Sensitivity.' This weight equalization rule adds or removes ballast from a car based on the finishing position of a driver.

There were eight-race weekends during the 2001 season. The opening rounds were in March at Texas Motor Speedway and Sebring, Florida. Teams weren’t back in action until May at Mosport International Raceway and Lime Rock Park. Lime Rock would be a doubleheader for the Touring Cars. The next event would be at Detroit’s Belle Isle which was just for the Grand Touring category. The championship would move to the west coast with races at Sears Point Raceway, Portland International Raceway and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The final weekend was at Road Atlanta. The schedule initially included a round at Charlotte Motor Speedway but when that venue was cancelled Road Atlanta became a doubleheader weekend.

Round three of the 2001 Speedvision World Challenge Series was held at Mosport International Raceway. Thirty-three Touring Car drivers started the fifty-minute race around the ten-turn 2.459-mile road course.

The Touring Car field heads into Mosport International Raceway’s corner one for the first lap. Leading the way is the Acura Integra Type R of the pole-sitter, Pierre Kleinubing and the BMW 328is of the other front row starter and points leader, Steve Pfeffer. They are being followed by the Acura Integra Type R of the third fastest qualifier, Hugh Plumb and the BMWs of Don Salama and Terry McCarthy.
Pierre Kleinubing made it two victories in a row and took the point’s lead. Kleinubing captured the pole but his advantage only lasted to corner two on the first lap - he slid wide and lost fourteen spots. He proceeded to charge through the field and on the last lap, Kleinubing tapped Hugh Plumb to slip by for the win. Unfortunately, he also made contact with Roger Foo, the two incidents earned Kleinubing a two race probation.
Hugh Plumb drove the No. 43 RealTime Racing prepared Acura Integra Type R. Plumb qualified third but gained a position when his teammate slid wide on the first lap. Five circuits later, he passed the BMW of the race leader, Steve Pfeffer. Pfeffer battled with Don Salama which allowed Plumb to pull away. On the last, Pierre Kleinubing caught Plumb and tapped him in turn nine. He went off line and lost the top spot to Kleinubing.
The No. 94 BMW 328i was prepared by Turner Motorsports and driven by Don Salama. This was Salama’s second year competing in the World Challenge series. In his rookie season, he won at Texas Motor Speedway. After the first two races of 2001, Salama was fourth in the standings. He started the Mosport event in fourth place. In the race, Salama had a terrific battle with Steve Pfeffer and earned the final spot on the class podium.
Touring Car point’s leader, Steve Pfeffer won the opening round at Texas. At Mosport, Pfeffer started on the outside of the front row but he grabbed the lead when the pole-sitter, Pierre Kleinubing made a mistake. Pfeffer maintained the position until the fifth lap when he was passed by Hugh Plumb. Then Pfeffer lost a spot to Will Turner and another midway through the contest when he was caught by Kleinubing – Pfeffer finished fourth.
British Touring Car Championship race winner, David Leslie joined the World Challenge series in 2001. Despite his racing resume, Leslie was classified as a rookie. Driving a Mazda 626, he was seventh in the standings after the first two rounds. In practice, at Mosport, Leslie was twenty-second quickest but improvements before qualifying gave him the fourteenth starting spot. In the race, he improved by five positions and finished ninth.
DuPont Motorsports entered three BMW 325is in the Touring Car category for drivers Neal Sapp, Paul Orwicz and team principal, Alfred duPont. duPont had an engine problem during qualifying and the team decided to install a new motor. He was gridded sixteenth for the start of the twenty-eight-lap race. Proving that engine swap was the right decision, duPont finished sixth and earned the Borla Performance Award.
Former, SCCA E Production National Champion, Terry McCarthy made his World Challenge debut in 2000. The highlight of his season was starting last at Laguna Seca and setting a new lap record on the way to a fifth-place finish. Racing the No. 23 BMW 328is, McCarthy was fifth fastest in the qualifying session for round three. In the race, he traded positions with the BMWs of Neal Sapp and Alfred duPont before finishing fifth.
In the center, RealTime Racing’s, Pierre Kleinubing celebrates his second consecutive victory of the season. The win also moved Kleinubing into the point’s lead. Standing on the left side of the podium is Kleinubing’s RealTime Racing teammate, Hugh Plumb who captured the runner-up position. The final spot on the rostrum is occupied by Don Salama – this was his first podium finish of 2001.

11Pierre KleinubingAcura Integra Type R28-
23Hugh PlumbAcura Integra Type R28-
34Don SalamaBMW 328i28-
42Steve PfefferBMW 328is28-
55Terry McCarthyBMW 328is28-
616Alfred duPontBMW 325is28-
710Ken DobsonBMW 328Ci28-
88Neal SappBMW 325is28-
914David LeslieMazda 62628-
1019Taz HarveyHonda Civic28-
1117Paul OrwiczBMW 325is28-
127Mike FitzgeraldAcura Integra Type R28-
1326Shauna MarinusMazda Protege28-
1418Drew HagestadVW Jetta28-
1520Carlos SteyerAcura Integra Type R28-
1623Mike BuzzettiAcura Integra Type R27-
1727Laurence OlivaBMW 328is27-
1825Ken PaysonMazda Protégé27-
1922Ed SchairbaumNissan 240SX27-
2028John GreenAcura Integra Type R27-
2131Fred MeyerAcura Integra Type R27-
2230Alex JuhaszBMW 328is27-
2311Paul BonaccorsiMazda Protege26Accident
2424Mark HeinAcura Integra Type R26Accident
2529Stephane TrahanVW Golf26-
2612Chuck HemmingsonMazda Protege22Mechanical
2721Grant LockwoodHonda Prelude21Mechanical
289Rob HinesBMW 328is18Accident
296Will TurnerBMW 328is11Mechanical
3032Kris WilsonMazda 6264Electrical
3133Bob MillerFord Contour SVT3Mechanical
3213Roger FooHonda Civic Si1Accident
3315Leo CapaldiMercury Cougar0Mechanical

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