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.

The final round took place at the eleven-turn Laguna Seca road course. There were twenty-nine Touring Car entries with twenty-six of these drivers starting the race.

Short of the fastest race lap Eric Curran had a perfect race weekend. He qualified the No. 44 RealTime Acura RSX first. At the start Curran pulled away at a steady pace and was never challenged on his way to a 4.921-second margin of victory. This was Curran's best result of the season - he finished fifth in the Driver's Championship.
Jeff Altenburg locks up the rear brakes heading into corner two. The Tri-Point Mazda 6 driver qualified third but moved to second when his teammate, Randy Pobst, dropped a wheel off the track at turn six on the second lap. Pobst’s miscue bent the wheel and caused the tire to deflate. Altenburg attempted to chase down Curran but had to settle for second.
Defending Touring Car Champion and RealTime principal, Peter Cunningham qualified fifth. At the start Cunningham was passed by tenth place starter Chip Herr in an all-wheel drive Audi A4. But by the tenth lap Cunningham had worked his way past Herr and teammate Pierre Kleinubing. He closed on second place Jeff Altenburg but was third at the checkered flag.
Driving the 06 Autohaus Mercedes-Benz C230 was Kuno Wittmer. During the season the Mercedes suffered a series of mechanical issues which prevented Wittmer from living up to his reputation and showing his true potential. His best finish during the season was a ninth at Infineon. At Laguna Seca, Wittmer was tenth after qualifying twenty-fifth.
Pierre Kleinubing had a season that included two wins, seven podiums and an eighth place finish as his worst result. These stats contributed to Kleinubing winning his fourth World Challenge Touring Car Drivers’ Championship. The final race of the season was uneventful for him – he started and finished fourth.
The No. 74 Tri-Point Mazda 6 of Dino Crescentini gets crossed-up in the ‘Corkscrew’ during Touring Car qualifying. Crescentini would start last in the field of twenty six cars and receive the checkered flag in ninth place. For advancing seventeen positions during the twenty-eight laps of racing he was awarded the ‘Sunoco Hard Charger Award’.
Chip Herr took advantage of the Audi A4 all-wheel drive feature at the beginning of the race. At the start, the STaSTIS driver advanced five positions. Up from tenth Herr found himself leading the RealTime teammates – Peter Cunningham and Pierre Kleinubing. But Cunningham and Kleinubing would find a way past Herr. After 26-laps of racing he finished fifth.
The No. 97 Tindol Motorsport Mazda 6 was raced by Charles Espenlaub. Espenlaub qualified and finished sixth. The highlight of his season was the Road America round where he was the pole-sitter and finished second. Espenlaub was eighth in the 2006 Drivers’ Championship.
BimmerWorld entered three BMW 325i. The No. 38 car was driven by Seth Thomas who started eleventh and finished seventh. His teammate, James Clay was fourteenth after qualifying seventeenth. At third car was entered for Tomy Drissi.
Tomy Drissi drove the No. 39 BimmerWorld BMW 325i. Drissi was the veteran of the Trans Am series – capturing his first win at Long Beach in 2000. He qualified but failed to start the Laguna Seca event.

11Eric CurranAcura RSX26-
23Jeff AltenburgMazda 626-
35Peter CunninghamAcura TSX26-
44Pierre KleinubingAcura TSX26-
510Chip HerrAudi A426-
66Charles EspenlaubMazda 626-
711Seth ThomasBMW 325i26-
87Nick EsayianAcura RSX26-
926Dino CrescentiniMazda 626-
1025Kuno WittmerMercedes-Benz C23026-
1113Brandon DavisAcura TSX26-
1212Rob HollandDodge SRT-426-
132Randy PobstMazda 626-
1417James ClayBMW 325i26-
1519Charlie PutmanMazda 626-
169Dan AweidaDodge SRT-426-
1722Lucho deCastroBMW 325i25-
1824Jonathan MerisHonda Civic25-
1923Mary KatharineMazda Protege24-
2016James SofronasBMW 325Ci19-
2120Freddy BakerAudi A411Mechanical
228Brian SmithDodge SRT-48Mechanical
2315Christian MillerVolkswagen Jetta2Mechanical
2418Jason MartinelliBMW 325Ci1Suspension
2514Jeff CourtneyAudi A41Mechanical
2621Tomy DrissiBMW 325i0DNS
2727Andrie HartantoHonda Civic Si0DNS
2828Kenny YimHonda Civic Si0DNQ
2929Marco FerreraHonda Civic Si0DNQ

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