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 three of the 2006 SCCA Pro Racing Speed World Challenge Touring Car 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.

A field of thirty-four World Challenge Touring Car competitors line-up on the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course’s front straight for the start of round three. On the pole, for the first time in 2006, is the RealTime Racing Acura TSX of Pierre Kleinubing. Sharing the front row with Kleinubing is Chip Herr, driver of the No. 17 Audi A4. Starting behind the fastest qualifiers are Peter Cunningham and Randy Pobst.
Chip Herr driving the No. 17 STaSIS / Fred Baker Audi sponsored Audi A4 started on the outside of the front row. Using the Audi’s all-wheel-drive advantage, he jumped into the lead at the start of the race. With positions second to sixth being hotly contested, Herr was able to pull away from the competition. At the end of twenty-seven laps, he 3.304-seconds clear of second place and won his first World Challenge Touring Car race.
The three-time World Challenge champion, Pierre Kleinubing, entered Mid-Ohio second in the Driver’s standings. Piloting the RealTime Racing prepared No. 42 Acura TSX, he qualified on the pole. At the start of the race, Kleinubing lost the top spot to the second-fastest qualifier, Chip Herr. He held off challenges from Randy Pobst and Jeff Altenburg to finish second and grab the lead in the title chase.
The No. 72 Mazdaspeed / Tri-Point Motorsports Mazda 6 was driven by Jeff Altenburg. Altenburg was sixth fastest during the qualifying session. Early in the race, he passed the Acura TSX of Peter Cunningham and Charles Espenlaub in a Mazda 6. On lap-18, Altenburg passed his teammate, Randy Pobst, for third place. He caught Pierre Kleinubing but could not find a way past and settled for the final spot on the podium.
Rookie, Jeff Courtney, was part of the three-car STaSIS team which, included drivers Chip Herr and Freddy Baker. Courtney drove the No. 99 Audi A4 with backing from MPI Coin, Karavan and Badger. He started eighth on the grid but maneuvered his way through the field and was in fifth place at the conclusion of the event. Not only was this Courtney’s best World Challenge result but he also earned the Piloti Rookie of the Race award.
Another rookie competitor, Justin Hall, went home with a couple of honours. Hall drove the DIG Motorsports BMW 325Ci. He was unable to participate in qualifying and started last in the thirty-four field. On the opening lap of the contest, he gained ten positions to earn the B&M Sport Shifters Hole Shot award. And, received the Sunoco Hard Charger prize for advancing seventeen positions during the race.
Successful amateur racer, Freddy Baker had four SCCA National Championships on his resume. In 2006, the Ohio resident joined the STaSIS team to drive an Audi A4. At his local track, Mid-Ohio, he qualified ninth fastest. During the race, Baker battled with Randy Pobst, Jeff Altenberg and his teammate, Jeff Courtney. He finished fifth but was penalized for jumping the start and classified in the sixth position.
The defending World Challenge Touring Car champion, Peter Cunningham, drove the No. 1 Acura Certified Pre-Owned sponsored Acura TSX. After just two rounds, his best finish was a runner-up result at Saint Petersburg. At the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Cunningham qualified third quickest. In the race, he was unable to maintain the pace of the leaders and was in seventh place at the checkered flag.
The point’s leader entering round three was Randy Pobst. Pobst opened the season with third-place finishes at Sebring and Saint Petersburg. He was fourth fastest during the qualifying session, driving the Tri-Point Motorsports prepared Mazda 6. At the end of an eventful race, Pobst was in sixth place but was awarded fifth after Freddy Baker was penalized. The result dropped him to second in the Driver’s standings.

12Chip HerrAudi A427-
21Pierre KleinubingAcura TSX27-
36Jeff AltenburgMazda 627-
48Jeff CourtneyAudi A427-
54Randy PobstMazda 627-
69Freddy BakerAudi A427-
73Peter CunninghamAcura TSX27-
87Brandon DavisAcura TSX27-
914Nick EsayianAcura RSX27-
1010Eric CurranAcura RSX27-
1111James ClayBMW 325i27-
1216Dino CrescentiniMazda 627-
1319Jim OsbornBMW 325Ci27-
1425Lucho de CastroBMW 325i27-
1515Seth ThomasBMW 325i27-
1629Rob HollandDodge SRT-427-
1734Justin HallBMW 325Ci27-
1827Fred PignataroBMW 325i27-
1931Hal BrownDodge SRT-427-
2024Andrew WojteczkoLexus IS30027-
2119Charlie PutmanMazda 627-
2222Phil ParlatoBMW 325i27-
2325Mary KatharineMazda Protege27-
2424Billy RevisBMW 325i27-
2521Brian SmithDodge SRT-427-
2624Walter SwickBMW 325Ci27-
272Charles EspenlaubMazda 626-
285Kuno WittmerMercedes C23026-
2924David ScottBMW 325i26-
3024Karl PoeltlBMW 325i24-
3133Lance StewartMazda 623-
3221John PrallBMW 325Ci19Mechnical
3317Christian MillerVolkswagen Jetta14Mechanical
3428Dan AweidaDodge SRT-412Mechanical
3520Seth NeimanBMW 325Ci0Did Not Start

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