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.

Round one of the 2005 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.

It is the opening lap of the 2005 SCCA Pro Racing Speed World Challenge for the Grand Touring competitors. Leading the field through Sebring International Raceway’s turn fifteen is the series current champion, Tommy Archer driving the 3R Racing Dodge Viper. Behind him is the pole-winning Porsche 911 GT3 Cup of Wolf Henzler and Archer’s teammate, Phil McClure, in another Viper. Thirty-one drivers participate in the first round.
The Grand Touring grid for round one of the 2005 World Challenge season what determined by practice times after qualifying was rained out. The defending series champion, Tommy Archer, recorded the second-fastest time and started on the outside of the front row. Archer jumped into first place early and led flat-to-flag. Driving the No. 1 3R Racing Dodge Viper, he went unchallenged and was able to control the pace of the contest.
Finishing in the runner-up position for the second consecutive year was Andy Pilgrim driving the Mobil 1 / Motorola / Bose sponsored Cadillac CTS-V. Last season, Pilgrim’s result was much more dramatic as he stalled the Cadillac and had to charge through the field. This year, Pilgrim was gridded fourth and fought with the Dodge Viper of Phil McClure and Robin Liddell and Wolf Henzler in Porsches to finish second by a margin of 0.490-seconds.
In 2005, Robin Liddell joined John Groom’s team as part of a three-car effort. Drivers, Liddell and Groom, were joined by Canadian, Alex Penfold and raced the Porsche 911 Cup model with backing from AXA Financial. Liddell was gridded sixth for the start and passed Phil McClure and Max Papis before battling with the Cadillac of Andy Pilgrim and Wolf Henzler in another Porsche for the final spot on the podium.
There were two Volvo S60 R entered under the Volvo Cars of North America banner. Driving one of the Volvos was the five-time 24-Hours of Le Mans winner, Derek Bell. Racing the second car was a series rookie, Jameson Riley. Bell would retire after four-laps with a transmission issue. Riley was gridded twenty-seventh and advanced ten positions during the race to win the Sunoco Hard Charger Award.
Joining the Cadillac team on a full-time basis this season was Max Papis. Papis arrived with a resume that included stints in Formula 1, CART and sports cars. His best time in practice resulted in the fifth starting position – one place behind his teammate, Andy Pilgrim. Papis’ race turned out to be eventful as he mixed it up with the Porsches of Robin Liddell and Wolf Henzler and Phil McClure driving a Viper before finishing fifth.
Phil McClure made some significant changes in the off-season. He changed his car number from 73 to 2. In even bigger news, the driver who, since 2000, scored eighteen top-five finishes and two victories driving a Chevrolet Corvette would be racing a Dodge Viper this season. McClure appeared at Sebring with a Viper prepared by 3R Racing and started in the third position. Unable to hold off Robin Liddell and Max Papis, he finished sixth.
The 2004 Porsche Supercup Champion, Wolf Henzler, made his series debut last season at Infineon Raceway and won the event. He also entered the finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and grabbed a second victory. This year, Henzler would participate on a full-time basis. At Sebring, he set the fastest practice time and when qualifying was cancelled, Henzler started on the pole. He was second for most of the race but finished fourth.
Three-time World Challenge titleholder (1991, 1992 and 1996), Lou Gigliotti, left the series to compete in the Trans-Am championship but returned in 2004. Last season, he captured two podium finishes and was tenth in the final standings. This year, Gigliotti was racing the No. 28 LG Pro Long Tuber Header sponsored Chevrolet Corvette C6. He was seventh quickest in practice but retired with an engine failure on lap-6.

12Tommy ArcherDodge Viper20-
24Andy PilgrimCadillac CTS-V20-
36Robin LiddellPorsche 911 Cup20-
41Wolf HenzlerPorsche 911 Cup20-
55Max PapisCadillac CTS-V20-
63Phil McClureDodge Viper20-
79Mike McCannDodge Viper20-
810Leighton ReeseChevrolet Corvette C620-
911Tim WiensDodge Viper20-
1017Thomas OatesChevrolet Corvette Z0620-
1112Sonny WhelenChevrolet Corvette Z0620-
1214Jim McCannDodge Viper20-
138Alex PenfoldPorsche 911 Cup20-
1413Bob WoodhouseDodge Viper20-
1518Mike DavisSaleen SR20-
1616Lenny DillerDodge Viper20-
1727Jameson RileyVolvo S60R20-
1815Mike HartleyDodge Viper GTS20-
1923John BourassaPorsche 911 T19-
2020Kenny HawkinsDodge Viper19-
2124Philip DiPippoChevrolet Corvette Z0619-
2219Brett PearsonDodge Viper19-
2322Adel ElsayedViper Competition Coupe18-
2421Warren DillerDodge Viper18-
2530Tony GaplesChevrolet Corvette C613Suspension
2625Ed BraswellChevrolet Corvette Z0610Mechanical
277Lou GigliottiChevrolet Corvette C66Engine
2826Derek BellVolvo S60R4Transmission
2931Stu HaynerPontiac GTO2Engine
3029Jon GroomPorsche 911 Cup2Engine
3128Randy HaleFord Mustang1Mechanical

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