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 Touring Car Championship was held at Mosport International Raceway. Teams would compete on the ten-turn 2.459-mile road course.

At the beginning of the race, one would have expected the all-wheel-drive Audi A4 of the pole-sitter, Chip Herr, to lead the field into corner one, but it was Randy Pobst, who nailed the start. Following Pobst in the No. 73 Tri-Point Motorsports Mazda 6 is the third-fastest qualifier, Peter Cunningham in the RealTime Racing Acura TSX, last year’s winner, Charles Espenlaub driving a Tindol Mazda 6 and the Audi of Herr.
Chip Herr was fresh off a win in the previous round at Road America. At Mosport, Herr captured the pole driving the No. 17 STaSIS Audi A4. It rained during the race and much to everyone’s surprise, he was unable to capitalize on the Audi’s all-wheel-drive advantage. Herr led the first lap but was passed by Randy Pobst and fell behind the Acuras of Brandon Davis and Pierre Kleinubing before moving by all three for the victory.
The defending World Challenge Touring Car champion, Randy Pobst, was in contention for another title. Pobst trailed the points leader, Pierre Kleinubing, by twenty-one markers with three races left in the season. He drove the No. 73 Tri-Point Motorsports Mazda 6 and qualified fourth fastest. An excellent start allowed Pobst to lead lap-2. Unfortunately, he was unable to maintain the pace of the leaders and finished seventh.
RealTime Racing’s Brandon Davis drove one of the team’s three Acura Certified Pre-Owned sponsored Acura TSX. At the conclusion of the qualifying session, Davis was the ninth fastest. Despite his poor starting position, he was able to maneuver his way to the front and led laps-13 to 20. On the twenty-first circuit, Davis was passed by the Audi A4 of the winner Chip Herr and finished in the runner-up position.
Three-time SCCA Pro Racing Speed World Challenge champion, Pierre Kleinubing led the Touring Car title chase heading into round eight. Kleinubing finished on the podium in the first six races of the season – two of these were victories. His worst result was an eighth in the previous event at Road America. He qualified sixth at Mosport but finished third, which widened the points gap on Randy Pobst.
In the mid-90s, Jeff Nowicki participated in the World Challenge series but left to race in the Grand Am championship. At Mosport, Nowicki returned to World Challenge after a long absence. He drove the Ford Focus previously campaigned by Chip Herr and Memo Gidley. Nowicki qualified twenty-third fastest and finished seventeenth. On the opening lap, he advanced six positions and received the B&M Shifters Hole Shot Award.
There was only one Volkswagen competing regularly in the series, which was the Jetta model driven by a rookie, Christian Miller. In round seven at Road America, Miller earned his best result to date – a ninth-place finish. At Mosport International Raceway, he qualified tenth and finished sixth. For his performance, Miller was awarded the Piloti Rookie of the Race. This was the second time this year, he earned this distinction.
Another driver delivering a great performance in less than ideal conditions was Brian Smith. Smith piloted the No. 13 Dodge SRT-4. In qualifying, he recorded the twenty-first fastest time and at the checkered flag, Smith was in eleventh place. This was his best result after seven rounds – previously, Smith’s best showing was a seventeenth. For improving ten positions during the race, he was given the Sunoco Hard Charger award.
The SCCA Pro Racing Speed World Challenge Touring Car podium for round eight at Mosport International Raceway. In the center, scoring his third victory of the season is Chip Herr, driver of the STaSIS Engineering Audi A4. On the left side of the rostrum is the runner-up, Brandon Davis. Occupying the final spot on the podium is Davis’ teammate and the current points leader, Pierre Kleinubing.

11Chip HerrAudi A425-
29Brandon DavisAcura TSX25-
36Pierre KleinubingAcura TSX25-
43Peter CunninghamAcura TSX25-
511Eric CurranAcura RSX25-
610Christian MillerVolkswagen Jetta25-
74Randy PobstMazda 625-
813Rob HollandDodge SRT-425-
916Jeff CourtneyAudi A425-
1015Jeff AltenburgMazda 625-
1121Brian SmithDodge SRT-425-
1218Fred PignataroBMW 325i25-
1317Nick EsayianAcura RSX25-
1419Charlie PutmanMazda 625-
158James ClayBMW 325i25-
1622Phil ParlatoBMW 325i25-
1723Jeff NowickiFord Focus25-
1825Mary KatharineMazda Protege25-
1926Henry BrosnahamMazda 624-
2014Freddy BakerAudi A4T23-
2120Seth ThomasBMW 325i23-
222Charles EspenlaubMazda 621-
2312Dino CrescentiniMazda 620Accident
247Andrew WojteczkoLexus IS30018Accident
2524Seth NeimanBMW 325Ci13Handling
265Kuno WittmerMercedes C2300Did Not Start

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