2006 marked the seventeenth season for the Sports Car Club of America’s (SCCA) very successful SCCA Pro Racing Speed World Challenge series. With SPEED TV back on board as the primary sponsor, SCCA had developed a successful format that continued to attract competitors and fans.

Race weekends included two standing start fifty-minute races – one for the Grand Touring (GT) class and another for Touring Cars (TC).

  • Grand Touring (GT) – The GT class rules accommodate a variety of vehicles from different manufacturers. Engine displacements range from the 2.5-liter turbocharged Volvo S60R to the Dodge Viper with an 8.3-liter V10 motor. While most of the cars are rear-wheel drive, the series also permits all-wheel-drive vehicles such as the Nissan Skyline GT-R, Porsche 911 AWD TT, Subaru WRX STI and Volvo S60R. A majority of the competitors race the Chevrolet Corvette, Porsche 911 GT3 Cup or Dodge Viper.
  • Touring Car (TC) – The Touring Cars were limited to an engine displacement of 2.8-liters. Vehicles originally equipped with turbocharged or supercharged motors are also homologated for the series. The class is split predominantly between front-wheel-drive cars from Acura, Honda, and Mazda and the rear wheel drives such as the BMW 325. Also proving very competitive is the all-wheel-drive Audi A4.

To prevent any driver/car combination from dominating the class and ensuring tight competition, the R.E.W.A.R.D.S. System is 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. The maximum amount of weight that can be removed from a vehicle is 100-pounds. And, no more than 200-pounds can be added to a GT class car and 150-pounds to a Touring Car.

There were eleven-race weekends during the 2006 season – ten-races for the two classes. The Touring cars did not compete at Long Beach and the GT class was not invited to the Denver event. The opening round is in March at Sebring International Raceway, followed by a second event in Florida at Saint Petersburg. The GT category has a race at Long Beach in April and rejoins the Touring Car division for a race weekend at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. In July, the championship takes a trip to the West Coast for an event Infineon Raceway. Competitors stay in the West for races at the new Miller Motorsports Park in Utah. Teams return to the East for events at Road America and Mosport International Raceway. Next, the Touring Cars make a stop at Denver, Colorado. The penultimate round is held at Road Atlanta and the series finale takes place at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

Round four of the 2006 SCCA Pro Racing Speed World Challenge Grand Touring championship was held at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. The event presented by Trenton Forging Quality Formed Solutions would be twenty-nine-laps around the thirteen-turn 2.258-mile road course.

Twenty-eight Grand Touring competitors are gridded on Mid-Ohio’s front straight for the start of round four of the World Challenge series. On the pole, for the second time this season is Lou Gigliotti driving the LG Pro Long Tube Headers Chevrolet Corvette C6. Sharing the front row with Gigliotti, is the rookie, Lawson Aschenbach in the AXA Financial Porsche 911 Cup. Behind the top qualifiers are the locals, Michael McCann and Michael Galati.
It was a perfect weekend for World Challenge veteran, Lou Gigliotti. The three-time series champion qualified on the pole and led the twenty-nine-lap event flag-to-flag. But it wasn’t a stress-free run to the checkered flag. The No. 28 Chevrolet Corvette C6 had a vibration from the start of the race, which Gigliotti could not diagnose and full course caution late in the event bunch the field. Despite these challenges, he won by 0.324-seconds.
After just three-weekends, Lawson Aschenbach showed that not only was he a contender for the Rookie title but the overall championship as well. Aschenbach entered round four at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course just one-point behind the overall leader, Mike McCann. Aschenbach put the No. 66 Porsche 911 Cup on the outside of the front and ran in third place for much of the race. Problems for Michael Galati allowed him to finish in second.
In 2006, Michael Galati joined At Speed Motorsports to campaign their all-wheel-drive Volvo SR60R. Galati was experienced with all-wheel-drive vehicles as he had raced Audis for five seasons. The Volvo was not well developed, and this was his first event with the car. Galati succeeded in qualifying the Volvo fourth quickest and he was in second place when he had a brake issue. Galati slowed and finished in third place.
Ohio resident Jim McCann led the championship by a single point entering round four at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Driving the No. 82 McCann Plastics / K&N Filters sponsored Dodge Viper, he qualified third fastest. During the contest, McCann battled with the Chevrolet Corvette of Leighton Reese. On lap-20, the two drivers made contact. McCann’s race ended in the gravel trap. He was classified in twenty-third place.
The 2004 series champion, Tommy Archer, started 2006 with some good qualifying efforts but disappointing race results. He finished twenty-fifth at Sebring and at St. Petersburg, Archer was twenty-third. In the previous round at Long Beach, he redeemed himself with a runner-up finish after qualifying on the pole. At the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Archer started thirteenth and finished fourth driving the No. 5 Dodge Viper.
The defending SCCA Pro Racing Speed World Challenge Grand Touring champion, Andy Pilgrim, returned for his third season driving a Cadillac CTS-V. The highlight, to date, for the reigning titleholder, was a runner-up result in round one at Sebring International Raceway. During the qualifying session at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Pilgrim was seventh fastest. With the demise of Leighton Reece and Mike McCann, he finished fifth.
In addition to Lawson Aschenbach, there was a second rookie on the AXA Financial team. Venezuelan, Ricardo Imery, was driving the No. 64 Porsche 911 Cup with backing from Cavenas Elevators. Before moving to the SCCA Pro Racing Speed World Challenge series, Imery had some success at the open-wheel level. He captured his first series podium in round two at St. Petersburg. At Mid-Ohio, Imery started sixth but finished eighth.
Bob Woodhouse drove the No. 13 Dodge Viper. Woodhouse made his World Challenge debut in 2003. His best series result was a ninth-place finish last year at Portland. He started the event at Mid-Ohio last as the result of a mechanical issue that prevented him from participating in the qualifying session. With the problem corrected, Woodhouse advanced twenty-one positions during the race to earn the Sunoco Hard Charger award.

11Lou GigliottiChevrolet Corvette C629-
22Lawson AschenbachPorsche 911 Cup29-
34Michael GalatiVolvo S60R29-
413Tommy ArcherDodge Viper29-
57Andy PilgrimCadillac CTS-V29-
68Ricardo ImeryPorsche 911 Cup29-
717Rob FosterDodge Viper29-
810Ritch MarzialeDodge Viper29-
920Stu HaynerPontiac GTO29-
1031Bob WoodhouseDodge Viper29-
1116Jim McCannDodge Viper29-
1219Claudio BurtinChevrolet Corvette C629-
1314Bob MillerPorsche 911 Cup29-
1421Lenny DillerDodge Viper29-
1518Johnny MowlemAston Martin DB929-
169Sonny WhelenChevrolet Corvette C629-
1725Greg WeirickChevrolet Corvette C628-
1826David FarmerChevrolet Corvette C628-
1928Michael SolleyPorsche 911 Cup28-
2022Skip SaulsDodge Viper23-
215Johnny O'ConnellCadillac CTS-V21-
226Leighton ReeseChevrolet Corvette C621-
233Mike McCannDodge Viper20-
2424John BourassaPorsche 911 T19-
2511James SofronasPorsche 911 Cup13-
2623Adel ElsayedDodge Viper13-
2727Tom PapadopoulosAston Martin DB912-
2815Tony GaplesChevrolet Corvette C66-
2912Doug PetersonChevrolet Corvette C60Did Not Start
3029Ed BraswellChevrolet Corvette C50Did Not Start
3130Igor SushkoNissan Skyline GT-R0Did Not Start

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