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 seven of the SCCA Pro Racing Speed World Challenge Grand Touring championship was held at Road America. Teams would compete on the fourteen-turn 4.048-mile circuit during the Generac 500 weekend.

The opening lap at Road America for round seven of the SCCA Pro Racing Speed World Challenge Grand Touring championship. Leading the field into corner eight is the pole-sitter, Tommy Archer, in the No. 5 Autohaus Motorsports Dodge Viper. Behind Archer is the Porsche 911 GT3 of Lawson Aschenbach. Trailing Aschenbach is his teammate, Ricardo Emery, who qualified fifth and third place starter, James Sofronas.
Starting on the pole for the second time this season was the 2004 SCCA Pro Racing Speed World Challenge Grand Touring champion, Tommy Archer. His first pole of 2006 was in round three at Long Beach. Archer, driving the No. 5 Autohaus Motorsports Dodge Viper, led the field into the first turn and went flag-to-flag, winning by a margin of 1.028-seconds. The win marked his sixth career World Challenge victory.
Lawson Aschenbach was the second-fastest driver in qualifying. Piloting the No. 66 AXA Financial Porsche 911 GT3, he chased the race leader, Tommy Archer, for nineteen laps. Aschenbach was able to maintain Archers pace but was never a threat for the top spot and finished in the runner-up position. His performance moved him ahead of Lou Gigliotti and into the lead for the Driver’s championship.
Road America was Leighton Reece’s fourth World Challenge event on the 2006 calendar. In the previous events, he qualified at the front of the grid but issues during the races resulted in a season-high finish of twenty-first. In round seven, Reece started fourth but a pass on the Porsche of Ricardo Emery gave him the last spot on the podium. The change in position also earned him the B&M Oil Coolers Coolest Move of the Race award.
The lead in the Driver’s standings appeared to be a moving target. After six races, the top spot in the championship had been shared by Mike McCann, Lawson Aschenbach and as of the last event at Miller Motorsports Park, it was Lou Gigliotti. Gigliotti started and finished fourteenth at Road America driving the LG Pro Long Tube Headers Chevrolet Corvette. The result dropped him to second in the title chase.
The defending series champion, Andy Pilgrim, opened the season at Sebring with a runner-up result and scored third-place finishes at Infineon Raceway and Miller Motorsports Park. Despite his record thus far, he was not one of the championship contenders. The Cadillac CTV-S driver was seventh fastest at the end of the qualifying session. A solid drive during the race netted Pilgrim a seventh-place finish.
At Road America, rookie, Michael Greenberg, was making his first start of the 2006 season. Greenberg drove the No. 04 Dodge Viper with backing from Greenberg Cheese and Big Daddy Racing. He qualified thirty-second and the thirty-three-car field. During the race, Greenberg advanced eleven positions to finish twenty-first. For his performance, he earned the Sunoco Hard Charger award.
Rookie, Ricardo Emery, was delivering some great results in his first year of World Challenge competition. Heading into Road America, Emery had three podium finishes, including a pole and victory at Infineon Raceway. But his results were overshadowed by his AXA Financial teammate, Lawson Aschenbach, who was in contention to win the championship. In round seven, Emery started fifth and finished sixth.
The round seven SCCA Pro Racing Speed World Challenge Grand Touring podium at Road America. In the center is the series 2004 Driving champion and race winner, Tommy Archer. Standing on the left side of the rostrum is Lawson Aschenbach. Aschenbach’s results moved him back to the top of the Driver standings. The final spot of the podium is occupied by World Challenge veteran, Leighton Reese.

11Tommy ArcherDodge Viper19-
22Lawson AschenbachPorsche 911 Cup19-
34Leighton ReeseChevrolet Corvette C619-
48Mike McCannDodge Viper19-
59Johnny MowlemAston Martin DB919-
65Ricardo ImeryPorsche 911 Cup19-
77Andy PilgrimCadillac CTS-V19-
813Ritch MarzialeDodge Viper19-
911Michael GalatiVolvo S60R19-
1012Bob WoodhouseDodge Viper19-
1117Tony GaplesChevrolet Corvette C619-
1210Rob FosterDodge Viper19-
1316Jim McCannDodge Viper19-
1414Lou GigliottiChevrolet Corvette C619-
1518Lenny DillerDodge Viper19-
1622Claudio BurtinChevrolet Corvette C619-
1715Doug PetersonChevrolet Corvette C619-
1819Bob MillerPorsche 911 Cup19-
1928John BourassaPorsche 911 T19-
206Johnny O'ConnellCadillac CTS-V19-
2132Michael GreenbergDodge Viper19-
2230Greg WeirickChevrolet Corvette C619-
2331Bob TaylorChevrolet Corvette Z0618-
2426Mark LoPilatoPorsche 911 T17Mechanical
2521Sonny WhelenChevrolet Corvette C615Mechanical
2627Tom PapadopoulosAston Martin DB914Mechanical
273James SofronasPorsche 911 Cup13-
2823Skip SaulsDodge Viper12Accident
2920Mike DavisMustang Cobra12Mechanical
3033Adam MalmquistChevrolet Corvette Z069Mechanical
3125Adel ElsayedDodge Viper1Accident
3229Mike HartleyDodge Viper GTS1Mechanical
3324Brian KubinskiChevrolet Corvette C60Mechanical

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