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.

Jeff Altenburg started on the pole in the No. 72 Mazdaspeed Motorsports Development Mazda 6. On the first lap, he is followed closely by twenty-four competitors. During the fifty-minute race the Touring Cars would complete 13-laps around Miller Motorsports Park’s twenty-five turn 4.5-mile long road course.
At the start, Altenburg jumped into the lead followed closely by his teammate Randy Pobst. On lap-6, his car shut-off which allowed Pobst to pass and Acura drivers – Kuno Wittmer and Pierre Kleinubing to close the gap. The car corrected itself and Altenburg found himself battling with Pobst. On the last lap the two ran side-by-side for three corners before Altenburg made a pass for the win.
Qualifying second in another Mazdaspeed Motorsports Development Mazda 6 was Randy Pobst. When his teammate, Jeff Altenburg, suffered a mechanical issue it appeared that Pobst would score his first win of the season. He led laps six through twelve - but Altenburg’s issue was temporary. Altenburg passed Pobst on the last lap leaving him just 0.295-seconds behind at the checkered flag.
Pierre Kleinubing, started fourth in the RealTime Acura TSX. At the start, Kleinubing was passed by his teammate Kuno Wittmer but he eventually got by him and third fastest qualifier Seth Thomas. When Altenburg’s car shut-off he and Wittmer closed on the leading Mazdas. The battle between Pobst and Altenburg put Kleinubing in a position to capitalize on any errors. But there were none and he finished third.
Canadian, Kuno Wittmer joined the RealTime team in 2007. A switch from the previous season’s Mercedes-Benz allowed Wittmer to showcase his talent in the more reliable and quicker Acura. At Miller Motorsports Park, he qualified fifth and ran as high as third before finishing fourth behind his teammate Pierre Kleinubing. To date, this was his best World Challenge result.
Local resident, Byron Smith qualified an impressive eighth which put him in the company of the better financed Acura and Audi teams. Unfortunately, the driver of the No. 52 Dodge SRT-4 retired after just four-laps with mechanical issues.
BimmerWorld opened the 2007 season with improved performances. Seth Thomas qualified the No. 38 BMW 325i fourth at the season opener in Sebring and third at Miller Motorsports Park. At Miller, Thomas diced with the two quickest RealTime Acuras of Pierre Kleinubing and Kuno Wittmer. He would have to settle for a fifth place at the checkered flag.
World Challenge veteran, James Sofronas, qualified the Global Motorsports Group BMW 325Ci eleventh. He finished sixth which earned him the Toyo Cup Award. This award recognizes the highest placed competitor not making their living driving race cars. His brother, Brad Sofronas, won the B&M Holeshot Award after advancing seven positions on the first lap.
Chip Herr opened the season with a fourth at Sebring. The driver of the No. 17 STaTIS Audi A4 looked set to produce similar results after qualifying seventh. Unfortunately, he finished eighteenth – a lap down to the leaders.

11Jeff AltenburgMazda 613-
22Randy PobstMazda 613-
34Pierre KleinubingAcura TSX13-
45Kuno WittmerAcura RSX13-
53Seth ThomasBMW 325i13-
611James SofronasBMW 325Ci13-
76Peter CunninghamAcura TSX13-
815Charles EspenlaubMazda 613-
910James ClayBMW 325i13-
109Brandon DavisAcura TSX13-
1112Nick EsayianAcura TSX13-
1217Roberto SantosMazda 613-
1316Jason MartinelliBMW 325Ci13-
1419Hal BrownDodge SRT-413-
1514Adam PecorariAudi A413-
1623Brad SofronasBMW 325Ci13-
1724Branden PetersonAcura TSX12-
187Chip HerrAudi A412-
1920Charlie PutmanMazda 612-
2018Stan WilsonDodge SRT-411-
2113Ian BaasAudi A411-
228Byron SmithDodge SRT-44Mechanical
2321Joe VardeHonda Civic1Mechanical
2422Nigel BurnsMazda 60Mechanical

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