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.

There were twenty World Challenge Touring Car starters for the 2007 season’s penultimate round at Road Atlanta. On the pole is the Mazda 6 of Michael Galati. Next to Galati on the front row was Seth Thomas in the No. 38 BimmerWorld BMW 325i. Behind Galati is the first RealTime Racing entry of team principal, Peter Cunningham. Beside Cunningham is Thomas’ teammate, James Clay in another BMW 325i.
Qualifying on the pole in the No. 95 Mazda North America / Tindol Motorsports Mazda 6 was Michael Galati. At the start of the race, second fastest starter, Seth Thomas reached turn one first. Galati followed Thomas until lap-15 when he got a good run and passed the BMW before the first corner. Galati led the remainder of the contest and won his first race of the season. His win secured the Touring Car Manufacturers’ title for Mazda.
Adam Pecorari was the star of the race. After qualifying, Pecorari did not appear to be much of a threat as he started nineteenth. During the race, he charged through the field and with four laps remaining in the contest he was on the tail of race leader, Michael Galati. At the finish, Pecorari was second and earned the Sunoco Hard Charger Award for advancing seventeen positions during the event. This result gave him the 2007 Touring Car title.
Starting fourth on the grid was an injured, James Clay. Clay was recovering from a dislocated shoulder but that did not appear to slow him down. The driver of the BimmerWorld BMW 325i settled into sixth place early in the race. An incident involving his teammate Seth Thomas and RealTime drivers Peter Cunningham and Kuno Wittmer elevated him to third which is where Clay finished. This was his best result of the 2007 season.
Rookie, Stan Wilson qualified sixteenth driving the Sort Performance sponsored Dodge SRT-4. Wilson made good progress during the race – advancing ten positions and was sixth at the checkered flag. This was his best result of the 2007 season. Wilson was awarded the Piloti Rookie of the Race.
It was proving to be a difficult season for the defending Touring Car champion, Pierre Kleinubing. Kleinubing set the fastest race lap at the first two events of the season and qualified on the pole at Lime Rock but was yet to win a race in 2007. At Road Atlanta, he was gridded in the fifth starting position. Driving the RealTime Racing prepared Acura TSX he finished fifth.
Seth Thomas qualified second – driving the No 38 Bimmer World BMW 325i. Thomas got a great launch and led the race for the first fifteen laps. The contest’s first full-course caution bunched the field and on the re-start - Michael Galati, Peter Cunningham and Kuno Wittmer passed Thomas. Then on lap-16 he made an error in turn ten and collected Cunningham and Ian Baas. Thomas was forced to retire.
Earlier in the season, at Toronto, Peter Cunningham ended a twenty-five race winless streak. Cunningham started from the third grid position and trailed the race leaders Seth Thomas and Michael Galati for the first ten laps. On the contest’s first restart, he and Kuno Wittmer passed Thomas. Unfortunately, Thomas lost control in corner ten and collected Cunningham and Ian Baas. The damaged Acura was unable to continue.
Chip Herr’s season had been up and down – he had runner-up finishes at Mosport and Mid-Ohio and a victory at Lime Rock but his other results were not as spectacular. Driving the No. 17 STaSIS prepared Audi A4, Herr qualified fifteenth. At the start, he put Audi’s all-wheel-drive to good use and passed six cars before the end of the first lap. This performance earned Herr the B&M Holeshot Award.
The World Challenge Touring Car podium at Road Atlanta. On the left is third place finisher, James Clay and to the right-side is runner-up, Adam Pecorari. Between these two is the race winner, Michael Galati. For each of the drivers on the rostrum, this was their best result of the 2007 season.

11Michael GalatiMazda 625-
219Adam PecorariAudi A425-
34James ClayBMW 325i25-
46Kuno WittmerAcura RSX25-
55Pierre KleinubingAcura TSX25-
616Stan WilsonDodge SRT-425-
714Charlie PutmanMazda 625-
89Nick EsayianAcura TSX25-
98Brandon DavisAcura TSX25-
1013Jeff AltenburgMazda 625-
1111James SofronasBMW 325i25-
1215Chip HerrAudi A425-
1317Phil ParlatoBMW 325i25-
1412Charles EspenlaubMazda 625-
1510Randy PobstMazda 624Off Course
167Ian BaasAudi A416Accident
173Peter CunninghamAcura TSX16Accident
182Seth ThomasBMW 325i15Accident
1918Jim OsbornVolkswagen Jetta TDI13Mechanical
2020Carl HoberAcura TSX0Did Not Finish

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