In 2007, the Sports Car Club of America’s (SCCA) popular World Challenge series for Touring and Grand Touring cars entered its 18th-season.
With continued sponsorship from SPEED TV, the championship attracted a loyal following of race fans and attracted competitors.
Race weekends included two standing start fifty-minute races – one for the Grand Touring class and another for Touring Cars.
To prevent any driver/car combination from dominating the class and ensuring tight competition, the R.E.W.A.R.D.S. System was 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 car 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 2007 season – ten-races for each class. The Touring cars did not compete at Long Beach or a new venue at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Touring Cars raced twice at Watkins Glen, which was a new addition to the 2007 schedule. Also, the Touring Cars were the only World Challenge class competing at Lime Rock. As in 2006, the opening round was in March at Sebring, Florida and ended in late October at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, California.
Round one of the 2007 SCCA Pro Racing Speed World Challenge GT series was held at Sebring International Raceway. Twenty-eight World Challenge Grand Touring drivers would compete in a fifty-minute race around the 3.74-mile seventeen-turn road course.
|The round one 2007 SCCA Pro Racing Speed World Challenge Grand Touring podium at Sebring International Raceway. In the center is the winner, Eric Curran. This was Curran’s debut with the Whelen Engineering team and his first GT victory. The runner-up and defending World Challenge champion, Lawson Aschenbach, stands on the left side of the rostrum. Occupying the final spot is the third-place finisher, Tomy Drissi.|
|For the last two seasons, Eric Curran had competed successfully in the Touring Car division with RealTime Racing. Previously, Curran had participated in Grand Touring events on a part-time basis. In 2007, he joined the Whelen Engineering team full-time. Curran rewarded Sonny Whelen by qualifying on the front of the grid, recording the fastest race lap and leading flag-to-flag for his first-class victory.|
|The reigning SCCA Pro Racing Speed World Challenge Grand Touring champion, Lawson Aschenbach, returned to the series for another shot at the title. In the off-season, Aschenbach left the AXA Financial effort to join the Cadillac team driving a Cadillac CTS-V. At Sebring, he qualified fifth fastest and lost a position to Randy Pobst early in the contest. Aschenbach made progress during the race and finished second.|
|Gridded tenth for the season’s first Speed World Challenge event was Trans Am series regular, Tomy Drissi. Drissi was driving the No. 15 Next-The Movie Chevrolet Corvette C6. During the race, he moved to the front of the field. Drissi caught and passed the Porsche 911 GT3 of the five-time series champion, Michael Galati, on lap-16 for third place. He held the position and earned his first World Challenge podium.|
|Race day started with heavy rains but cleared in the afternoon. By the time the World Challenge competitors hit the track, it was mostly dry. There were still puddles around the circuit. To ensure the safety of competitors, race officials canceled the traditional standing start in favour of a rolling start. Leading the field to the green flag is the pole-sitter, Doug Peterson. Behind Peterson are Eric Curran and the race’s first retiree, Lou Gigliotti.|
|It was a surprise for serials regular’s when Doug Peterson driving the No. 87 3-Dimensional Services Chevrolet Corvette C6 captured the pole. To some observers, it may not have come as such a shock as Peterson has demonstrated his skill at the amateur level where he earned the 2004 Formula Mazda National title. Unfortunately, his race did not go as well, he lost three-laps with a transmission issue and finished twenty-third.|
|In 2007, five-time SCCA Pro Racing Speed World Challenge driver’s champion, Michael Galati, was racing for the K-PAX Racing team. His participation in the Grand Touring division the last two seasons has been limited a handful of starts. At Sebring International Raceway, Galati qualified the No. 23 Porsche 911 GT3 fifteenth fastest. During the race, he advanced eleven positions to earn the Sunoco Hard Charger award.|
|There were ten drivers classified as Rookies for the season opener. The fastest in qualifying was Brian Kubinski, who recorded the seventh-best time driving the Blackdog Racing prepared Chevrolet Corvette C6. Unfortunately, his race ended on lap-9 with a mechanical issue. The Piloti Rookie of the Race honours went to Tim McKenzie, the driver of the No. 66 TR Racing Porsche 911 GT3, who started sixteenth and finished ten.|
|It was a disappointing race for the 2005 SCCA Pro Racing Speed World Challenge Grand Touring champion, Andy Pilgrim. Pilgrim was the fourth fastest in the qualifying session, driving the No. 8 XM Satellite Radio / Mobil 1 / Motorola sponsored Cadillac CTS-V. Unfortunately, the Cadillac developed a gearbox issue and he dropped to sixth place at the checkered flag.|
|1||2||Eric Curran||Chevrolet Corvette||18||-|
|2||5||Lawson Aschenbach||Cadillac CTS-V||18||-|
|3||10||Tomy Drissi||Chevrolet Corvette||18||-|
|4||15||Michael Galati||Porsche 911 GT3||18||-|
|5||4||James Sofronas||Porsche 911 GT3||18||-|
|6||12||Andy Pilgrim||Cadillac CTS-V||18||-|
|7||8||Randy Pobst||Porsche 911 GT3||18||-|
|8||9||Tommy Archer||Dodge Viper||18||-|
|9||14||Brian Smith||Dodge Viper||18||-|
|10||16||Tim McKenzie||Porsche 911 GT3||18||-|
|11||19||Jeff Courtney||Dodge Viper||18||-|
|12||20||Dane Moxlow||Pontiac GTO||18||-|
|13||23||Brett Pearson||Dodge Viper||18||-|
|14||17||Jason Daskalos||Dodge Viper||18||-|
|15||25||John Bourassa||Porsche 911 Turbo||18||-|
|16||18||Rob Foster||Chevrolet Corvette||18||-|
|17||24||Joel Feinberg||Dodge Viper||18||-|
|18||26||Jeffrey Robbins||Dodge Viper||18||-|
|19||27||Eric Olberz||Porsche 911 GT3||18||-|
|20||22||Ed Braswell||Chevrolet Corvette||18||-|
|21||28||Kimberly Braswell||Chevrolet Corvette||17||-|
|22||6||Sonny Whelen||Chevrolet Corvette||16||Mechanical|
|23||1||Doug Peterson||Chevrolet Corvette||15||-|
|24||13||Stu Hayner||Pontiac GTO||12||Mechanical|
|25||7||Brian Kubinski||Chevrolet Corvette||9||Mechanical|
|26||21||Lenny Diller||Dodge Viper||8||Mechanical|
|27||11||Michael McCann||Dodge Viper||6||Mechanical|
|28||3||Lou Gigliotti||Chevrolet Corvette||5||Mechanical|
|29||30||Tony Gaples||Chevrolet Corvette||0||Mechanical|
|30||29||Al Wicht||Chevrolet Camaro||0||Mechanical|
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