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.

The Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course hosted round five of the 2008 SCCA Pro Racing Speed World Challenge Grand Touring championship. Competitors would race for fifty-minutes around the thirteen-turn 2.258-mile road course in an event presented by Remington.

A field of twenty-nine SCCA Pro Racing Speed World Challenge Grand Touring competitors is gridded on Mid-Ohio’s front straight for round five of the championship. On the pole is the Woodhouse Performance Dodge Viper of the 2004 series champion, Tommy Archer. Starting alongside Archer is Brandon Davis piloting the Sun Microsystems Ford Mustang Cobra. The second row is occupied by Jeff Courtney and Tommy Milner.
The 2004 SCCA Pro Racing Speed World Challenge Grand Touring champion, Tommy Archer, was running a limited schedule this year. His season got off to a slow start and he skipped round three at Long Beach. At Miller Motorsports Park, Archer started on the pole and won the event. Driving the Woodhouse Performance Dodge Viper, he repeated this feat at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
Former Touring Car competitor, Brandon Davis, tested the Grand Touring waters in last year’s season finale. In 2008, he left the RealTime Racing team to drive a Sun Microsystems sponsored Ford Mustang Cobra. After just four rounds, Davis had two podium finishes, one of which was a victory at Long Beach. At the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Davis qualified second and chased the eventual winner to a runner-up finish.
Andy Pilgrim kept his string of podium appearances alive at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. In the first four races of the season, the 2005 SCCA Pro Racing World Challenge Grand Touring Champion had a pair of runner-up finishes and two third places. Driving the No. 8 Cadillac CTS-V, Pilgrim qualified eighth. During the race, he battled with Jeff Courtney and Tommy Milner before grabbing the final spot on the podium.
Tommy Milner debuted the No. 21 Rahal Letterman Racing Aston Martin DB9 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Milner was fourth fastest in the qualifying session. During the contest, he set the fastest race lap while chasing the race leaders. A spin at the ‘Carousel’ on the twenty-second circuit took him out of contention. Milner battled back and passed Michael McCann and Michael Galati to finish fourth.
After four rounds, the defending SCCA Pro Racing World Challenge Grand Touring Champion, Randy Pobst, topped the driver standings. Pobst had already racked up victories at Sebring International Raceway and Watkins Glen International. At the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, he qualified seventh driving the K-PAX Racing Porsche 911 GT3 and finished sixth. Pobst gave away sixteen-points to Andy Pilgrim in the title chase.
A water pump failure on the No. 14 Global Motorsport Group Porsche 911 GT3 prevented James Sofronas from participating in the qualifying session. Without a time, Sofronas started in the twenty-ninth position. On lap-1 of the race, he passed twelve cars to win the Racing Electronics Holeshot award. During the race, Sofronas advanced twenty-one positions to finish eighth and earn the Sunoco Hard Charger honour.
The driver of the No. 99 Kendra Tires / Badger Components sponsored Dodge Viper, Jeff Courtney, had an excellent qualifying session. Courtney’s time placed him third on the grid for the start of the fifty-minute contest. He followed the leaders in third place until a lap-6 spin took him out of contention. Courtney fought back and at the checkered flag, he was in the fifteenth position.
The 2007 Pro Racing Speed World Challenge Touring Car Champion, Jeff Altenburg, started his Grand Touring campaign driving a Dodge Viper in the first two events followed by a Porsche. At the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, he debuted the much anticipate Lexus IS350. The IS350 is powered by a normally aspirated 4.7-liter V8 engine. Altenburg was the slowest qualifier but managed to finish in twenty-fourth place.

11Tommy ArcherDodge Viper29-
22Brandon DavisFord Mustang Cobra29-
38Andy PilgrimCadillac CTS-V29-
44Tommy MilnerAston Martin DB929-
56Michael GalatiPorsche 911 GT329-
67Randy PobstPorsche 911 GT329-
714Dino CrescentiniPorsche 911 GT329-
829James SofronasPorsche 911 GT329-
95Michael McCannCadillac CTS-V29-
1019Tony GaplesChevrolet Corvette29-
1111Tim McKenziePorsche 911 GT329-
1220Joey ScaralloPontiac GTO29-
1312Mike DavisFord Mustang Cobra29-
1424Fred RobertsDodge Viper29-
153Jeff CourtneyDodge Viper29-
1617Rob FosterChevrolet Corvette29-
1726John BourassaPorsche 911 Turbo29-
1810Ritch MarzialeDodge Viper29-
1925Phillip MartienPorsche 911 GT329-
2028Russ OasisDodge Viper28-
2127Sean AllenPorsche 911 GT328-
2218Sonny WhelenChevrolet Corvette28-
2323Eric OlberzPorsche 911 GT328-
2430Jeff AltenburgLexus IS35028-
2521Gunter SchaldachDodge Viper28-
2613Jason DaskalosDodge Viper26-
2715Stu FrederickDodge Viper26-
2816Cindi LuxDodge Viper16Accident
299Eric CurranChevrolet Corvette1Accident
3022Kyle FosterDodge Viper0Did Not Start

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