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 eight of the SCCA Pro Racing Speed World Challenge Grand Touring Championship was held at Mosport International Raceway. Teams would compete on the ten-turn 2.459-mile road course.

The fifth-place starter, Michael Galati, used his all-wheel-drive advantage to lead the field of twenty-three SCCA Pro Racing Speed World Challenge Grand Touring competitors into Mosport International Raceway’s corner one. Not far behind Galati is the Cadillac CTS-V of the pole-sitter, Ron Fellows and Leighton Reese in a Chevrolet Corvette C6.
Five-time World Challenge champion, Michael Galati qualified fifth fastest driving the At-Speed Motorsports Volvo S60R. The extremely wet race conditions allowed Galati to capitalize on the Volvo’s all-wheel-drive system. He led into corner one and ‘never looked back.’ Despite a misfire with two laps left in the race, Galati lapped all but the runner-up and won by a margin of one minute, 32.418-seconds.
The 2004 series champion, Bobby Archer, was fresh off a pole and win in the previous round at Road America. In qualifying at Mosport International Raceway, he delivered a disappointing effort and would be gridded eighth. Archer had resigned himself to a poor result, but he began passing cars during the race and was in third by lap-2. Driving the No. 5 Dodge Viper, he finished second and was the only other competitor on the lead lap.
A local favourite, Ron Fellows, was making his fourth guest appearance of the season with Cadillac Racing. In his first outing of the year at Long Beach, he was victorious. Fellows wasn’t so lucky in the previous round at Road America, he finished twentieth. As expected, Fellows qualified on the pole at Mosport, but the wet conditions did not favour the Cadillac CTS-V. He struggled to finish third when the car lost power.
Sonny Whelen opened the season at Sebring International Raceway with a seventh-place finish. Since then, the driver of the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Chevrolet Corvette C6 had been unable to crack the top-10. At Mosport International Raceway, he was twenty-fourth fastest in a field of twenty-five entries. During the race, Whelen advanced twelve positions – finishing twelfth and earned the Sunoco Hard Charger award.
During the 2006 season, there were two Aston Martin DB9 entered by Autosport Designs Racing. The Aston Martins were driven by Tom Papadopoulos and Johnny Mowlem. Mowlem delivered the team’s best result to date, which was a fifth place at Road America. At Mosport, Mowlem qualified twelfth and Papadopoulos was fifteenth. In an inspired drive, Papadopoulos moved up eight positions during the race for his best result of the year.
With a 2006 record that included three podium finishes of which one was a first place, rookie competitor, Lawson Aschenbach, led the World Challenge championship point standings. At Mosport International Raceway, Aschenbach qualified ninth. Attrition during the race allowed him to finish six and for the fifth time this season, Aschenbach earned the Piloti Rookie of the Race award.
Another driver to excel in the inclement conditions was James Sofronas. Driving the Global Motorsports Group Porsche 911 GT3, Sofronas was gridded fourteenth for the twenty-seven-lap event. During the race, he improved ten positions to finish in fourth place. The result matched his best performance of the season – he also captured a fourth in round one at Sebring International Raceway.
The round eight SCCA Pro Racing Speed World Challenge Grand Touring podium at Mosport International Raceway. In the center and scoring his first victory in 2006 is the series five-time champion, Michael Galati. Standing on the left side of the rostrum is the runner-up, Tommy Archer, who won the previous round at Road America. The final spot of the podium is occupied by the local favourite, Ron Fellows.

15Michael GalatiVolvo S60R27-
28Tommy ArcherDodge Viper27-
31Ron FellowsCadillac CTS-V26-
414James SofronasPorsche 911 Cup26-
54Bob WoodhouseDodge Viper26-
69Lawson AschenbachPorsche 911 Cup26-
715Tom PapadopoulosAston Martin DB926-
87Ricardo ImeryPorsche 911 Cup26-
918Lou GigliottiChevrolet Corvette C626-
1010Rob FosterDodge Viper25-
1112Johnny MowlemAston Martin DB925-
1224Sonny WhelenChevrolet Corvette C625-
1320Tony GaplesChevrolet Corvette C625-
1417Bob MillerPorsche 911 Cup25-
1522Claudio BurtinChevrolet Corvette C625-
1625Ritch MarzialeDodge Viper25-
1719Lenny DillerDodge Viper25-
1821Stu FrederickDodge Viper GTS24-
1913Mike McCannDodge Viper24-
206Brett PearsonDodge Viper24-
212Andy PilgrimCadillac CTS-V23-
2223John BourassaPorsche 911 T21-
233Leighton ReeseChevrolet Corvette C618-
2411Jim McCannDodge Viper0Did Not Start
2516Doug PetersonChevrolet Corvette C60Did Not Start

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