In 2002, the Sports Car Club of America’s (SCCA) World Challenge Championship was in its thirteenth season. For the fourth year Speed Channel was the primary sponsor – (in the off-season the Speedvision channel was renamed Speed). SCCA had developed a successful format that attracted competitors and fans.

Race weekends included two standing start fifty-minute races – 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 vehicles 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 eleven-race weekends during the 2002 season. The opening round was in March at Sebring International Raceway followed by back to back race weekends in May at Mosport Park and Lime Rock. The teams would take a break until the end of June when they would travel to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. The series then moves to Road America followed by the inaugural National Grand Prix at Washington, D.C. After these weekends the championship returns to Canada with a stop at Trois-Rivieres and a second visit to Mosport – just for the Touring Car category. The teams will head west in September and compete at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The penultimate rounds will take place at Road Atlanta and the series finale will be held at a new venue, Virginia International Raceway.

The SCCA Pro Racing Speed World Challenge series returned to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course after a two-year absence. Twenty-three Grand Touring drivers would compete on the thirteen-turn 2.258-mile road course for fifty-minutes.

The first lap through Mid-Ohio’s ‘Esses’ for the Speed World Challenge GT competitors and the pole-sitter, Michael Galati leads the field. Following Galati is the other front row starter, Johannes van Overbeek driving the G&W Motorsports prepared Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. Behind van Overbeek, is the Porsche of Randy Pobst, Jeff McMillin in a BMW M3 and championship contender, Peter Cunningham driving an Acura NSX.
At Mid-Ohio, Michael Galati driving the No. 1 Audi S4 Competition earned his third pole position of the season. When the starting lights turned off, Galati pulled away from the field thanks to the Audi’s all-wheel-drive system. By the tenth circuit, Johannes van Overbeek and Randy Pobst were on his bumper, and his brake pedal had gone soft. A caution period allowed Galati’s brakes to cool and despite the pressure, he held on for the victory.
Qualifying second for round four of the SCCA Pro Racing Speed World Challenge GT championship was Johannes van Overbeek. Van Overbeek was driving the No. 81 G&W Motorsports prepared Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. Taking advantage of the all-wheel-drive, the pole sitter, Michael Galati pulled away from van Overbeek at the start. During the next 17-laps, he reeled in Galati but was unable to make the pass and settled for the runner-up spot.
Prior to round three at Lime Rock Park, the 3R Racing Team recruited multi-time champion and Porsche factory driver Randy Pobst to drive a second Porsche 911 GT3 Cup in the 2002 World Challenge series. Pobst immediately made his presence felt with a victory in his first outing. At Mid-Ohio, he qualified third and chased Michael Galati and Johannes van Overbeek during the race. Unable to pass them, Pobst finished third.
Derek Bell drove the No. 2 Audi S4 Competition prepared by Champion Audi. At Mid-Ohio, Bell delivered his best qualifying performance of the season and was gridded sixth for the start. By lap-23 of the race, he had caught the Realtime Racing Acura NSX SC of championship contender, Peter Cunningham. Two circuits later, Bell passed Cunningham for a fifth-place finish and won the Rogaine ‘Hair Raising Pass of the Race.’
This season, 2000 SCCA Pro Racing Speed World Challenge GT champion, Jeff McMillin was producing the same results that won him his title. McMillin was yet to win a series race but he often finished inside the top-five. This year McMillin had two podiums and was third in the title chase. The driver of the No. 25 McMillin Motorsports prepared BMW M3 started fourth and after a battle with Peter Cunningham, he was fourth at the checker.
In was a miserable weekend for RealTime Racing’s, Peter Cunningham. To date, the former series champion had two runner-up finishes (Sebring and Mosport) and was in the championship hunt. Cunningham, driving the No. 42 Acura NSX SC, qualified fifth quickest at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. During the race, he lost positions to Jeff McMillin, Derek Bell and Justin Marks and finished seventh but was still second in the standings.
In the center and victorious for the second time this season is the driver of the No. 1 Audi S4 Competition, Michael Galati. Standing on the right side is the runner-up, Johannes van Overbeek – this was van Overbeek’s third podium finish this year (third at Mosport International Raceway and second at Lime Rock Park). Completing the rostrum is Randy Pobst, the winner of the last round at Lime Rock Park.

11Michael GalatiAudi S4 Competition28-
22Johannes van OverbeekPorsche 911 Cup28-
33Randy PobstPorsche 911 Cup28-
44Jeff McMillinBMW M328-
46Derek BellAudi S4 Competition28-
68Justin MarksPorsche 911 Cup28-
75Peter CunninghamAcura NSX28-
812Joel NelsonAudi S4 Competition28-
97John YoungSaleen SR28-
1018Tim WiensPorsche 911 Cup28-
1117Michael LevitasPorsche 911 Cup28-
1219Tim WiensPorsche 911 Cup28-
1316Brad FlowersPorsche 993 SC28-
1414Bob MillerPorsche 911 Cup28-
1520Walter SwickBMW M328-
1622Mark AndersonPorsche 928 GTS28-
1711Michael CulverPorsche 911 Cup27-
1821Craig GelstonChevrolet Corvette27-
1923Henry GilbertChevrolet Corvette ZO627-
2013Greg MerrilPorsche 911 Cup24-
219David FarmerChevrolet Corvette ZO65Mechanical
2210Phil McClureChevrolet Corvette ZO62Suspension
2315Jeff AltenburgBMW M30Clutch
2424Dennis PetersenChevrolet Corvette ZO60Did Not Start
2525Steve CarvajalSaleen SR0Did Not Start

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