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.

  • Grand Touring (GT) – The Grand Touring class rules accommodate a broad range of vehicles from different manufacturers. Engine displacements range from the 2.5-liter turbocharged Volvo S60-R 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. Many of the competitors race the Chevrolet Corvette, Porsche 911 GT3 Cup or Dodge Viper.

  • Touring Car (TC) – The Touring Cars are 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 and BMW 328. 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 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 five of the 2007 SCCA Pro Racing Speed World Challenge for Grand Touring competitors was held at Watkins Glen International. The series had not visited Watkins Glen since 1998. Twenty-six competitors would race around the eleven-turn 3.337-mile circuit for fifty-minutes.

Capturing his first pole position of the season was the 2005 SCCA Pro Pro Racing Speed World Challenge Grand Touring champion and currents points leader, Andy Pilgrim, in the No. 8 Cadillac CTS-V. Sharing the front row with Pilgrim was Eric Curran in the Whelen Engineering sponsored Chevrolet Corvette C6. Starting third and fourth was the defending champion, Lawson Aschenbach and 2003 titleholder, Randy Pobst.
Randy Pobst entered round five at Watkins Glen third in the championship points. Pobst qualified fourth driving the No. 22 Porsche 911 GT3. He inherited third place, when the pole-sitter, Andy Pilgrim, was penalized for jumping the start. On the restart after the contest’s only caution period, Pobst slipped inside Lawson Aschenbach for second. The race leader, Eric Curran, retired on lap-17, giving Pobst first place and the win.
The defending series champion, Lawson Aschenbach, qualified third fastest at Watkins Glen. In the race, Aschenbach moved the XM Satelite Radio / Mobil 1 sponsored Cadillac CTS-V into second place when his teammate, Andy Pilgrim, was penalized for jumping the start. On the lap-6 restart, after the contest’s only caution period, he slid wide. Aschenbach re-entered the track and hit Randy Pobst but continued and finished second.
SCCA Pro Racing veteran Lou Gigliotti had series victories at Watkins Glen in 1992, 1996 and 1997. Gigliotti’s 2007 campaign began poorly with a DNF at Sebring, but since that event, he had scored podiums at Long Beach and Utah. In qualifying for round five, Gigliotti was sixth fastest driving the LG Pro Long Tube Headers Chevrolet Corvette. As steady performance during the race was rewarded with another podium.
The series points leader entering Watkins Glen International was Andy Pilgrim. Pilgrim had two podium finishes, which included a victory in the previous round at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. At Watkins Glen, he put the XM Satellite / Mobil 1 sponsored Cadillac CTS-V on the pole. Unfortunately, Pilgrim jumped the start and was given a stop-and-go penalty. He returned to the track in the twenty-second position but finished fourth.
The round five Sunoco Hard Charger award went to Tony Gaples. The Hard Charger prize is given to the competitor that advances the most positions during the race. The driver of the No. 34 Blackdog Racing prepared Chevrolet Corvette C6 was gridded sixteenth for the start of the fifty-minute contest. Gaples moved up the race order and was in ninth place at the checkered flag.
In just five races, Rookie competitor, Brian Kubinski had delivered some impressive stats. To date, Kubinski was the fastest Rookie qualifier at every event. Unfortunately, the No. 12 Blackdog Racing Chevrolet Corvette C6 wasn’t always up to the task in the races. His best result was a sixteenth place, but that would change at Watkins Glen. Kubinski started eleventh and finished eighth, earning the Piloti Rookie of the Race award.
A new honour was introduced this year called the Toyo Tires Cup. Awarded at each race, it recognizes those drivers who make contributions to the series while working in another profession. At Watkins Glen International, the recipient was Sonny Whelen, who field cars for himself and Eric Curran. Whelen qualified tenth in the Whelen Engineering Chevrolet Corvette and finished in seventh place. His best result to date.
Eric Curran started the season with two victories – Sebring International Raceway and Long Beach. But since the first two-rounds, Curran had been racking-up DNFs. At Watkins Glen International, he started on the outside of the front row and put the Whelen Engineering Chevrolet Corvette into the top spot before the end of the first lap. The Corvette developed a misfire and Curran lost the lead to Randy Pobst. He retired on lap-17.

14Randy PobstPorsche 911 GT322-
23Lawson AschenbachCadillac CTS-V22-
36Lou GigliottiChevrolet Corvette22-
41Andy PilgrimCadillac CTS-V22-
59Michael GalatiPorsche 911 GT322-
65Tommy ArcherDodge Viper22-
710Sonny WhelenChevrolet Corvette22-
811Brian KubinskiChevrolet Corvette22-
916Tony GaplesChevrolet Corvette22-
1013Tim McKenziePorsche 911 GT322-
117James SofronasPorsche 911 GT322-
128Doug PetersonChevrolet Corvette22-
1312Michael McCannDodge Viper22-
1419Rob FosterChevrolet Corvette22-
1517Jeff CourtneyDodge Viper22-
1620Lenny DillerDodge Viper22-
1722Jeffrey RobbinsDodge Viper22-
1818Jason DaskalosDodge Viper22-
1924Michael HartleyDodge Viper22-
2025John BourassaPorsche 911 Turbo21-
2126Adel ElsayedDodge Viper21-
2215Jeff AltenburgDodge Viper18Electrical
232Eric CurranChevrolet Corvette17Mechanical
2414Chip HerrChevrolet Corvette12Mechanical
2523Rob HollandPorsche 911 GT38Off Course
2621Dane MoxlowPontiac GTO1Fire

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