In 2005, the World Challenge series entered its sixteenth season. The championship’s successful relationship with Speed Channel was now in its seventh year.

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 Toyo Proxes.

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 2005 season – the longest in series history. The opening round was in March at Sebring International Raceway, followed by a second event in Florida at Saint Petersburg. The series then moves north to Georgia for a race weekend at Road Atlanta. Rounds four, five and six are conducted in the Northeast with races at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Cleveland’s Burke Lakefront Airport and Lime Rock Park in Connecticut. In July, the championship takes a trip to the West Coast for an event Infineon Raceway. Competitors stay in the West for races at Portland International Raceway. Next, the series makes a stop at Denver, Colorado. The penultimate round is held at Mosport International Raceway and the series finale takes place at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

After ten rounds of the 2005 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 Cadillac’s Andy Pilgrim trailed by last year’s champion Tommy Archer driving a Dodge Viper. Porsche 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.

Twenty-eight competitors are gridded on the front straight at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for the final round of the SCCA Pro Racing Speed World Challenge Grand Touring category. Sitting on the pole is the Farnbacher Loles prepared Porsche 911 Cup of the defending race winner, Wolf Henzler. Sharing the front row with Henzler is Max Papis in one of three Cadillac CTS-V entered by the manufacturer, Cadillac.
The No. 16 Mobil 1 Cadillac CTS-V was driven by Max Papis. The highlight of Papis’ season was a victory at Road Atlanta, but since then, his results had been mixed. He was not in contention for the Driver’s title – his mission was to win the Manufacturer’s championship. Papis started on the outside of the front row and passed the leaders, Lou Gigliotti and Wolf Henzler, with two laps remaining in the race to capture the win.
Cadillac Racing used the services of Max Angelelli in their attempt to win the Manufacturer’s title. Angelelli was no stranger to the team as he competed in the series last season with Cadillac and finished third in the final standings. In 2005, he had already driven the car four-times and was victorious at Lime Rock Park. At the finale, Angelelli qualified tenth and battled with the title contender, Tommy Archer, to finish second.
The defending series champion, Tommy Archer, ‘gave it his all’ at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in an attempt to capture his second consecutive Driver’s championship. Archer entered the finale, trailing the point’s leader, Andy Pilgrim, by eight-markers. He started the twenty-lap event in the ninth position. During the race, Archer contested the runner-up spot with Max Angelelli. At the finish, he was in third and six-points behind Pilgrim.
The defending race winner, Wolf Henzler, entered the season finale with two victories. Unfortunately, some poor results, including a thirty-first-place finish at Cleveland, meant he was not a contender for the Driver’s title but could help Porsche win the Manufacturer’s championship. Henzler qualified on the pole and during the race, he fought with Max Papis and Lou Gigliotti before finishing twenty-second after contact on lap-18.
Andy Pilgrim entered the finale at Mazda Raceway with an eight-point lead over Tommy Archer in the Driver’s championship. Pilgrim had not won a race during the season but he could attribute his place in the standings to consistent finishes – three podiums and didn’t have any results outside the top-ten. He started round eleven in twelfth place and delivered another steady performance to finish fourth and secure the title.
All season, series veteran, Tony Gaples appeared in the No. 34 Chevrolet Corvette C6 with silver Blackdog Racing livery. At Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Gaples was entered in a Corvette with Whelen Engineering colours. To date, his best result during the 2005 season was a runner-up finish at Infineon Raceway. In the finale, Gaples started twenty-first but advanced twelve positions to earn the Sunoco Hard Charger Award.
This was Robin Liddell’s first season competing in the World Challenge series. He joined John Groom’s three-car effort driving the No. 66 Porsche 911 Cup with backing from AXA Financial. Liddell was strong in the first half of the year, scoring a victory at Cleveland. Entering the finale, he was a distant third in the title chase. Liddell was seventh fastest in qualifying but in the race, he lost three-laps and finished twenty-fourth.
James Sofronas’ participation in this year’s series was limited. He entered the events at Road Atlanta, Cleveland, Lime Rock, Infineon and Mosport. At Lime Rock, Sofronas qualified fourth and grabbed the last spot on the podium. He was gridded in the eighth spot for the start of the finale. Driving the No. 14 GMG Porsche 911 Cup, Sofronas was in fifth place at the checkered flag and finished fifteenth in the final standings.

12Max PapisCadillac CTS-V20-
210Max AngelelliCadillac CTS-V20-
39Tommy ArcherDodge Viper20-
412Andy PilgrimCadillac CTS-V20-
58James SofronasPorsche 911 Cup20-
615Tim WiensDodge Viper20-
75Leighton ReeseChevrolet Corvette C620-
817Mike DavisSaleen SR20-
921Tony GaplesChevrolet Corvette C620-
104Lawson AschenbachPorsche 911 Cup20-
1118Sonny WhelenChevrolet Corvette Z0620-
123Mike McCannDodge Viper20-
1320Al BeceraDodge Viper20-
1425John DearingDodge Viper GTS20-
1523Skip SaulsPorsche 911 Cup20-
1628Mark LoPilatoPorsche 911 T20-
1722Brett PearsonDodge Viper20-
1827Jonathan MartinezDodge Viper GTS20-
1919Kevin ChambersChevrolet Corvette C520-
2014Ritch MarzialeDodge Viper20-
2113Dino CrescentiniChevrolet Corvette C619-
221Wolf HenzlerPorsche 911 Cup18Contact
236Lou GigliottiChevrolet Corvette C618Mechanical
247Robin LiddellPorsche 911 Cup17-
2524Greg WeirickChevrolet Corvette C514Contact
2626Carol HollfelderFord Mustang7Mechanical
2711Bob WoodhouseDodge Viper1Accident
2816Jim McCannDodge Viper1Accident
2929Michael JudyFord Mustang0Withdrawn

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