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.
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.
Round one of the 2004 SCCA Pro Racing Speed World Challenge Grand Touring Championship was held at Sebring International Raceway as a support event for the 12-Hours of Sebring. Thirty-one Grand Touring drivers would compete in a fifty-minute race around the seventeen-turn 3.74-mile road course.
|Max Angelelli, driving the new Cadillac CTS-V, qualified on the pole. On the opening lap, Angelelli was passed by the Audis of Michael Galati and Randy Pobst. Pobst only made it to turn three before he had a mechanical issue and Angelelli passed Galati two laps later for the lead. From there, it was ‘clear sailing’ for Angelelli, who captured his first World Challenge victory. He attributed the win to the team’s six-days of testing at Sebring.|
|You might say, Andy Pilgrim ‘showed Cadillac’s hand.’ Pilgrim qualified the No. 8 Cadillac CTS-V third fastest. As the cars exited the pits on the formation lap, he noticed that there was something wrong with the clutch. During the standing start, the Cadillac began to creep forward and when he attempted to prevent this, the car stalled. He was left at the starting line but proceeded to drive through the field and finished in second-place.|
|Five-time series champion, Michael Galati, started seventh in the Audi Certified Pre-Owned Audi RS 6. At the start of the race, Galati shot into the lead, followed by his teammate, Randy Pobst and the pole-sitter, Max Angelelli. On lap-2, he lost the top spot to Angelelli. Galati circulated in second place until he was passed by a hard-charging, Andy Pilgrim in the second Cadillac. He would earn the final position on the podium.|
|After a twelve-year absence, Tommy Archer returned to the World Challenge series. In the early 90s, Archer raced an Eagle Talon in the Super Production category. This season, he was driving a Dodge Viper Competition Coupe prepared by 3R Racing. Archer qualified fifth fastest but by the second lap of the race, he was in third place. Archer would lose a position to the Cadillac of Andy Pilgrim and finish fourth.|
|The McCann brothers – Mike and Jim - were entered in Dodge Viper Competition Coupes with backing from the family’s plastic manufacturing company. Their previous racing experience included a stint campaigning a Viper in the Grand Am series. Problems in qualifying, left Mike gridded in the thirty-first position for the start. During the race, he improved by twenty-one spots to finish eleventh and earn the Sunoco Hard Charger Award.|
|The reigning series champion, Randy Pobst, had reason to be optimistic after qualifying second fastest. The all-wheel-drive feature on his Audi RS 6 would give him a great ‘launch’ at the start. The all-wheel advantage worked but it was even better for his teammate, Michael Galati, who grabbed first place. It was of little consequence as the belts came off the Audi before turn three and Pobst lost two laps while the car was repaired.|
|The defending race winner, Phil McClure, returned to the series in his Chevrolet Corvette Z06. This year McClure was fourth quickest during qualifying. Shortly after the contest started, he found himself battling with the Dodge Viper Competition Coupes of Tommy Archer and rookie, Bob Woodhouse. Late in the race, McClure was challenging Michael Galati for second place but an engine miss dropped him to a fifth-place finish.|
|Former Trans Am competitor, Leighton Reese, joined the World Challenge series for a full season of racing. He drove a Chevrolet Corvette Z06 with support from his long-time sponsor Banner Engineering. Reese adapted to the series quickly and was gridded sixth for the start of the race. As the event came to a conclusion, the Corvette started to suffer from fuel starvation. Reese was able to salvage a seventh-place finish.|
|Sebring International Raceway appeared to be a track that suited John Young and his Saleen SR. Last season, he qualified third and led the race before losing an engine. This year, Young was seventh fastest during the qualifying session. Unfortunately, he lost his time when it was discovered that the Saleen was underweight. Starting from the twenty-ninth position on the grid, Young carved his way through the field to finish sixth.|
|1||1||Max Angelelli||Cadillac CTS-V||20||-|
|2||3||Andy Pilgrim||Cadillac CTS-V||20||-|
|3||7||Michael Galati||Audi RS 6 Competition||20||-|
|4||5||Tommy Archer||Viper Competition Coupe||20||-|
|5||4||Phil McClure||Chevrolet Corvette Z06||20||-|
|6||29||John Young||Saleen SR||20||-|
|7||6||Leighton Reese||Chevrolet Corvette Z06||20||-|
|8||8||Peter Tonelli||Viper Competition Coupe||20||-|
|9||9||Bob Woodhouse||Viper Competition Coupe||20||-|
|10||11||Tim Wiens||Viper Competition Coupe||20||-|
|11||31||Mike McCann||Viper Competition Coupe||20||-|
|12||10||Michael Culver||Porsche 911 Cup||20||-|
|13||28||Lou Gigliotti||Chevrolet Corvette Z06||20||-|
|14||15||Stan Wilson||Viper Competition Coupe||20||-|
|15||12||Kevin Chambers||Chevrolet Corvette Z06||20||-|
|16||16||Jim McCann||Viper Competition Coupe||20||-|
|17||21||Thomas Oates||Chevrolet Corvette Z06||20||-|
|18||17||Jon Groom||Porsche 911 Cup||20||-|
|19||13||Lenny Diller||Viper Competition Coupe||19||-|
|20||25||Jeff McMillin||BMW M3||19||-|
|21||19||John Bourassa||Porsche 911 T||19||-|
|22||22||Kenny Hawkins||Viper Competition Coupe||19||-|
|23||20||Adel Elsayed||Viper Competition Coupe||19||-|
|24||18||Tom Stewart||BMW M3||18||-|
|25||26||Carol Hollfelder||Ford Mustang||18||-|
|26||2||Randy Pobst||Audi RS 6||18||-|
|27||27||Gunnar Jeanette||Audi S4 Competition||16||Mechanical|
|28||23||Stu Hayner||Pontiac GTO||14||Mechanical|
|29||14||Tony Gaples||Chevrolet Corvette Z06||7||Mechanical|
|30||30||Keith Videtto||Chevrolet Corvette Z06||1||Overheating|
|31||24||Shawn Greene||BMW M3||0||Did Not Start|
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