In 2003, the Sports Car Club of America’s (SCCA) World Challenge series was in its fourteenth season. For the fifth year Speed Channel was the primary sponsor. 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 ten-race weekends during the 2003 season. The opening round was in March at Sebring, Florida, followed by back to back race weekends in May at Mosport Park and Lime Rock. Two races would be held for the Grand Touring category at Lime Rock. Lime Rock was followed by the first of two events held at Road Atlanta (June and October). Both classes competed at Infineon Raceway but the next event at Mid-Ohio was only for Touring Cars. The series moved to Road America, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and then the penultimate round at Road Atlanta. The series finale was held in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Round two of the 2003 SCCA Pro Racing Speed World Challenge Touring Car Championship was held at Mosport International Raceway. Forty-two Touring Car drivers would compete in a fifty-minute race around the ten-turn 2.459-mile road course.

Forty-two competitors stream into Mosport International Raceway’s turn one for the first lap of the SCCA Pro Racing Speed World Challenge Touring Car Championship. Leading the field is the pole-sitter, Mike Fitzgerald in the Team FBR Lexus IS300. Tucking in behind Fitzgerald is the Acura RSX-S of the third fastest qualifier, Pierre Kleinubing. The other front row starter, Jeff Altenburg has already fallen back in the No. 40 Mazda Protege.
Once Pierre Kleinubing’s VTEC electrical issue was resolved at Sebring International Raceway, he demonstrated the new Acura RSX-S’ potential. With the car in proper working order at Mosport, Kleinubing recorded the third quickest time in qualifying. Early in the race, he trailed Mike Fitzgerald and Jeff Altenburg. Kleinubing inherited a spot when Altenburg retired and passed Fitzgerald on lap-10 for the lead and win.
Round one winner, Bill Auberlen attributed his eighth starting position to the R.E.W.A.R.D.S. weight he received after his Sebring victory. However, in the race, the driver of the No. 93 BMW 325i wasted little time moving to the front. In an effort to catch the leaders, Auberlen set the fastest race lap. After he caught and passed Mike Fitzgerald, he chased Pierre Kleinubing but did not have the speed to make the pass and settled for second.
Team FBR driver, Mike Fitzgerald was fast in qualifying but waited until the final lap of the session to capture the pole. This was the first pole position for the team and the Lexus IS300 in Speed World Challenge competition. Fitzgerald led the race until lap-10 when he went wide at Moss corner. The mistake cost him several positions, but Fitzgerald fought back and was able to salvage a third place finish.
Jeff Altenburg showed great promise in the season opener at Sebring but a cooling problem resulted in an early exit from the race. At Mosport, the driver of the No. 40 Tri-Point Motorsports Mazda Protege ES was just 0.023-seconds slower than the pole-sitter, Mike Fitzgerald and would start on the outside of the front row. Unfortunately, Altenburg’s bad luck followed him to Mosport where he retired on lap-5 with a throttle issue.
Michael Flynn, driving the Irish Mike’s Subaru Impreza, made his series debut at Sebring International Raceway. It was an inauspicious start to his Speed World Challenge career. Flynn qualified thirty-seventh and retired after eleven-laps with an electrical problem. At Mosport, he started last in the forty-two car field but passed five of his fellow competitors on the opening lap to earn the B&M Hole Shot Award.
It was wet during the practice sessions on Friday and many teams did not participate. Christian Elder decided it was safer to park the No. 21 Mazda Protege ES. He did not venture onto the track until qualifying on Saturday morning and was thirty-seventh quickest. Elder must have come to grips with Mosport during the race as he passed eighteen cars to finish nineteenth and earn the Sunoco Hard Charger Award.
The No. 92 Turner Motorsport / H&R Springs BMW 325i was driven by World Challenge series veteran, Will Turner. In race one at Sebring International Raceway, Turner was eleventh quickest in qualifying and finished ninth. His performance improved in round two at Mosport International Raceway. Turner qualified fourth quickest and finished in the same place. He left Mosport fourth in the Touring Car standings.
Round two’s SCCA Pro Racing Speed World Challenge Touring Car class podium. In the center is the two-time series champion, Pierre Kleinubing who scored his seventeenth-career Touring Car victory at Mosport International Raceway. To Kleinubing’s right is the winner of race one and this event’s runner-up, Bill Auberlen. Completing the podium, from Team Franz Blam Racing is Mike Fitzgerald.

13Pierre KleinubingAcura RSX-S28-
28Bill AuberlenBMW 325i28-
31Mike FitzgeraldLexus IS30028-
44Will TurnerBMW 325i28-
510Jon PrallAudi A428-
65Matt PlumbBMW 32528-
77Chuck HemmingsonMazda Protege ES28-
89Ken DobsonBMW 325Ci28-
915Tim PappasLexus IS30028-
1014Bob EndicottAcura RSX-S28-
1122Charles EspenlaubMazda Protege ES28-
1221Roger FooMazda Protege ES28-
1318Nic JonssonBMW 325Ci28-
1413Jim OsbornBMW 325Ci28-
1527James ClayBMW 325i28-
1620Bob StretchBMW 325Ci28-
1712Scott BradleyMazda Protege ES28-
1824Mike Van SicklenLexus IS30028-
1937Christian ElderMazda Protege ES28-
2025Jocelyn HebertAcura Integra R28-
2132Leo CapaldiMercury Cougar28-
2219Frank SelldorffBMW 325i28-
2323Alfred duPontBMW 32528-
2430Matt RichmondBMW 328i28-
2531Kevin McKeeAcura Integra R28-
2634Michael ThornleyAcura Integra R28-
2739Tom StewartHonda Civic Si28-
2826James SofronasBMW 325i28-
2911Shauna MarinusMazda Protege ES27Mechanical
3038Will LinBMW 325i27-
3133Brad SofronasBMW 328i26Mechanical
3236Jeff PabstAudi A425-
3317Neal SappBMW 325Ci19Accident
3442Steven PiantieriSubaru Impresa19Mechanical
3540Nick WoodhouseBMW 325i14Overheating
3628Andrew MonterrubioAcura Integra R12Mechanical
3729Robert BaxterMazda Protege ES9Accident
3843Michael FlynnSubaru Impresa9Mechanical
3916Zac MazzottaAcura RSX-S8Transmission
402Jeff AltenburgMazda Protege ES5Throttle
4141Paul BonaccorsiMazda Protege ES5Overheating
426Peter CunninghamNissan SE-R0Clutch
4335Paul GargiuloBMW 3250Did Not Start

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