In 2008, the Sports Car Club of America’s (SCCA) popular World Challenge series for Touring and Grand Touring cars entered its 19th-season. With continued sponsorship from SPEED TV, the championship attracted a loyal following of race fans. Unfortunately, the series was not immune to the 2008 recession and the grid sizes dropped in both divisions.

Race weekends included two standing start 50-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 ranged from a 2.5-liter turbocharged to an 8.3-liter V10 motor. While rear-wheel-drive cars are the most popular cars, the series also permits all-wheel-drive machines. 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. 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 ten-race weekends during the 2008 season. The series dropped Lowe’s Motor Speedway, Toronto and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca from the calendar. Added were four new venues, Virginia International Raceway, Detroit, Road America and Thunderbolt Raceway. The Touring cars did not compete at Long Beach, but there was a standalone event for them at Virginia International Raceway and a doubleheader at Lime Rock Park. As in 2007, the opening round was in March at Sebring, Florida, but the season ended in early October at Road Atlanta.

Round eight of the 2008 SCCA Pro Racing Speed World Challenge Grand Touring season was held at the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix. Twenty drivers would compete for fifty-minutes around the thirteen-turn 2.070-mile temporary street circuit.

The starting grid for round eight of the SCCA Pro Racing Speed World Challenge Grand Touring series at Detroit’s Belle Isle. On the pole, for the second time, this season is the point’s leader, Randy Pobst in the No. 1 K-Pax Racing Porsche 911 GT3. Beside Pobst is the driver that is second in the title chase, Andy Pilgrim, piloting the Remington Shaving Cadillac CTS-V.
Leading nineteen SCCA Pro Racing Speed World Challenge Grand Touring competitors into corner one at Detroit’s Belle Isle is the pole-winning K-PAX Racing Porsche 911 GT3 of the reigning class champion, Randy Pobst. Trailing the No. 1 Porsche is the Cadillac CTS-V, Andy Pilgrim, who started on the outside of the front row. Behind Pilgrim are the third and fourth fastest qualifiers, Michael McCann and Dino Crescentini.
At the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix, the 2007 SCCA Pro Racing Speed World Challenge Grand Touring Champion, Randy Pobst, increased his points lead over the Cadillac driver, Andy Pilgrim. Pobst earned bonus points when he put the No. 1 K-PAX Racing Porsche 911 GT3 on the pole. He would lead the twenty-six-lap contest flag-to-flag but only win by a margin of 0.505-seconds. Pobst was now 116-markers ahead of Pilgrim.
Andy Pilgrim had a string of podium finishes until round six at Road America, where he lost an engine. Pilgrim faired better at Mosport International Raceway; he did not earn a podium but managed to score sixth-place points. At Detroit, the 2005 SCCA Pro Racing Speed World Challenge Grand Touring Champion was back on form. Pilgrim started on the outside of the front row and finished in second place.
Qualifying in the fifth place for round eight at the Detroit Belle Isle Grand was Brandon Davis. Davis’ first full season in the SCCA Pro Racing Speed World Challenge Grand Touring division would be best described as ‘character building.’ He had three podium finishes, including a win at Long Beach. But, 2008 also included three DNFs. During the race, he moved up the order and finished in third place.
To date, Cindi Lux’s best performance was at her home track, Miller Motorsports Park, where she started third and finished fifth. The driver of No. 2 MOPAR sponsored Dodge Viper was twelfth fastest in the qualifying session at the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix. Lux had a spectacular race, passing four cars on the first lap, which earned her the Racing Electronics Holeshot and Sunoco Hard Charger awards.
Third in the standings, entering round eight was five-time SCCA Pro Racing World Challenge Champion, Michael Galati. Galati’s year included three podium finishes. For the start of the race, he was gridded seventh, driving the No. 23 K-PAX Racing Porsche 911 GT3. During the contest, Galati moved up to fifth place but could not challenge the leaders. His result allowed him to maintain third in the title chase.
The SCCA Pro Racing Speed World Challenge Grand Touring podium for round eight at the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix. Standing in the center for the third time in 2008 is the defending series champion and points leader, Randy Pobst. On the right side of the rostrum is the runner-up, Andy Pilgrim, who was second in the championship hunt. Completing the podium is the driver of the ACS Ford Mustang Cobra, Brandon Davis.

11Randy PobstPorsche 911 GT326-
22Andy PilgrimCadillac CTS-V26-
35Brandon DavisFord Mustang Cobra26-
43Michael McCannCadillac CTS-V26-
57Michael GalatiPorsche 911 GT326-
69James SofronasPorsche 911 GT326-
710Jason DaskalosDodge Viper26-
812Cindi LuxDodge Viper26-
94Dino CrescentiniPorsche 911 GT326-
1011Brian SimoDodge Viper26-
1114Jeff CourtneyDodge Viper26-
1220Mike DavisFord Mustang Cobra26-
1315Sonny WhelenChevrolet Corvette26-
1418Sean AllenPorsche 911 GT326-
156Brian KubinskiChevrolet Corvette24-
1617Fred RobertsDodge Viper21Mechanical
1713Tony GaplesChevrolet Corvette21Axle
188Joey ScaralloPontiac GTO16Accident
1919Eric CurranChevrolet Corvette10Mechanical
2016Eric OlberzPorsche 911 GT30Mechanical

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