In 2004, the World Challenge series entered its fifteenth season. For the sixth consecutive year, Speed Channel was the primary sponsor. As evidenced by the growth of the series, the Sports Car Club of America 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 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 nine-race weekends during the 2004 season with a double-header events for each class. Touring Cars would race Saturday and Sunday at Infineon Raceway and the Grand Touring competitors would have a similar format at Mosport International Raceway. The opening round was in March at Sebring International Raceway, Florida, followed by a two-month break before teams travelled to Lime Rock Park. The third race weekend of the year was at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. In July, the teams trekked west for races at Infineon. Competitors stayed on the west coast for races at Portland International Raceway. Next, the championship made its only Canadian stop at Mosport. Returning south of the border, the first stop was Road America. The penultimate round was held at Road Atlanta and the series finale took place at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

After nine rounds of the 2004 SCCA Pro Racing Speed World Challenge Grand Touring Championship, there were still two titles to be decided. On the line was the Manufacturer’s crown and Driver’s championship. Topping the Driver’s points was Audi’s Michael Galati trailed closely by Dodge Viper competitor, Tommy Archer. Audi and Cadillac would fight for the Manufacturer’s championship. The drama would unfold in a fifty-minute contest around Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca’s eleven-turn 2.238-mile road course.

At the start of the fifty-minute event, the first and third fastest qualifiers pulled away from the field. The pole-sitter, Wolf Henzler driving the No. 17 Farnbacher Racing prepared Porsche 911 GT3 Cup got a jump on the field. Boris Said in the Applied Computer Solutions sponsored Saleen SR was third fastest during qualifying. Said made an equally good start and followed Henzler into Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca’s turn two.
The 2004 Porsche Supercup Champion made his series debut at Infineon Raceway, driving a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup for Farnbacher Racing. At Infineon, Henzler qualified second but moved into first place on the opening lap and led flag-to-flag. It was much the same performance at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca except, he started on the pole. Despite pressure from Boris Said, Henzler won by a margin of 2.391-seconds.
This year, Boris Said’s primary focus was the Grand-Am GT series. Driving a BMW M3 for the Prototype Technology Group, he was in a tight battle with Bill Auberlen for the championship. Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca was his only World Challenge start of the season. Said qualified third fastest driving the Applied Computer Solutions Saleen SR. He chased the eventual winner, Wolf Henzler but could not make the pass.
The battle for the Driver’s championship was between Tommy Archer in the 3R Racing prepared Viper Competition Coupe and the leader, Michael Galati, driving an Audi RS 6. Archer needed to score five more markers than Galati to clinch the championship. At the start, Archer stalled the Viper and fell to fourteenth place but put his head down and drove through the field to finish third. He won the title over Galati by six-points.
Randy Pobst entered the season finale fifth in the Driver standings. His objective for the weekend was to help his teammate, Michael Galati, win the Driver’s championship and secure the Manufacturer’s title for Audi. Pobst was fourth fastest in qualifying. During the race, he maintained his position but could hold off, Galati’s championship rival, Tommy Archer. Archer won the title, but his Pobst’s fourth place gave Audi the crown.
During this season’s qualifying sessions, the former Trans-Am competitor, Leighton Reece, was always near the top of the timesheets. Unfortunately, the same could not be said for his race results. The high point of his season was qualifying third at Mosport and finishing the in the runner-up position. He delivered another excellent qualifying performance at Laguna Seca and was fifth quickest but an accident on lap-8 ended his race.
The Manufacturers’ title was also on the line. The championship was to be decided between Cadillac and the leaders, Audi. To that end, both teams entered a third driver. Cadillac used the services of Olivier Beretta and Audi hired Peter Cunningham. Cunningham started, sixth in the No. 3 Audi and finished fifth. His teammates for the weekend, Randy Pobst and Michael Galati earned enough points to secure the title by three-markers.
With the Driver’s title out of reach for the Cadillac drivers, Max Angelelli and Andy Pilgrim, their main goal was to secure the Manufacturer’s championship. To help them, the team recruited Olivier Beretta. The Cadillac drivers qualified behind the Audi pilots, Randy Pobst and Peter Cunningham. Beretta started at the rear of the field after losing an engine. They didn’t perform much better in the race and lost the title to Audi.
The final podium of the 2004 season for the Speed World Challenge Grand Touring Championship. On the left side of the rostrum making his first and only start of the year is the runner-up, Boris Said. Standing on the opposite side is the third-place finisher and securing the Driver’s title, Tommy Archer. In the center of the podium, scoring his second series victory in just as many attempts is the winner, Wolf Henzler.

11Wolf HenzlerPorsche 911 Cup28-
23Boris SaidSaleen SR28-
310Tommy ArcherViper Competition Coupe28-
44Randy PobstAudi RS 628-
56Peter CunninghamAudi RS 628-
62Michael CulverPorsche 911 Cup28-
78Max AngelelliCadillac CTS-V28-
89Mike McCannViper Competition Coupe28-
915Bob WoodhouseViper Competition Coupe28-
1014Tim WiensViper Competition Coupe28-
1113Michael GalatiAudi RS 6 Competition28-
127Phil McClureChevrolet Corvette Z0628-
1319Kevin ChambersChevrolet Corvette Z0628-
1421Robert FosterViper Competition Coupe28-
1522Stu HaynerPontiac GTO28-
1620Jon GroomPorsche 911 Cup28-
1732Olivier BerettaCadillac CTS-V27-
1823Mark AndersonPorsche 92827-
1927Jameson RileyVolvo S60 R27-
2017Jim McCannViper Competition Coupe27-
2125Al BeceraViper Competition Coupe27-
2212Andy PilgrimCadillac CTS-V18Accident
2330Bob TaylorChevrolet Corvette Z0618Mechanical
2416Tony GaplesChevrolet Corvette Z0617Mechanical
2528Carol HollfelderFord Mustang14Mechanical
2633Mark KibortPorsche 92814Mechanical
2711Lou GigliottiChevrolet Corvette Z069Engine
285Leighton ReeseChevrolet Corvette Z068Accident
2926Derek BellVolvo S60 R1Accident
3031John DearingDodge Viper GTS0Mechanical
3124Keith VidettoChevrolet Corvette Z060Accident
3210Mike DavisSaleen SR0Accident
3329Peter TonelliViper Competition Coupe0Accident
3434Dwain DementPorsche 911 Cup0Did Not Start

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