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.
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 seven of the 2008 SCCA Pro Racing Speed World Challenge Grand Touring championship was held at Mosport International Raceway as part of the Mobil 1 presents the Grand Prix of Ontario weekend. This was the thirteenth time the series had visited this track. Competitors would race around the ten-turn 2.459-mile road course for fifty-minutes.
|The start of the SCCA Pro Racing Speed World Challenge Grand Touring race at Mosport International Raceway. Getting a significant jump on the other twenty-two competitors is the second-fastest qualifier, Randy Pobst, driving the K-PAX Racing Porsche 911 GT3. Trailing Pobst is the No. 5 Dodge Viper of Jason Daskalos, who started in the fifth position. Immediately behind, Daskalos is the pole-sitter, Eric Curran.|
|Eric Curran’s season got off to a slow start; his first podium was in the previous round at Road America, where he finished second. Driving the Whelen Motorsports Chevrolet Corvette, he qualified on the pole at Mosport International Raceway. At the beginning of the race, Curran was slow to get off the line when the lights went out. On lap-20, he caught and passed the leader, Randy Pobst. Curran held the position for his first win of 2008.|
|When the lights turned off at Mosport International Raceway for the start of round seven, it was Randy Pobst who made a great getaway. Pobst driving the No. 1 K-PAX Racing Porsche 911 GT3 started on the outside of the front row but shot into the lead before turn one. He led the race until lap-21 when he was passed by the eventual winner, Eric Curran. Pobst finished in the runner-up spot and still maintained the points lead.|
|Five-time SCCA Pro Racing Speed World Challenge Champion, Michael Galati, drove the No. 23 K-PAX Racing Porsche 911 GT3. Galati entered round-seven third in the title chase. To date, he had two podium finishes but no victories. At Mosport International Raceway, Galati qualified seventh quickest. He made an excellent start and was in fourth place by the end of the first lap. Galati would capture the final spot on the podium.|
|SCCA Pro Racing Speed World Challenge veteran, Tony Gaples, won the Sunoco Hard Charger award at Mosport International Raceway – his second of 2008. The honour is given to the competitor who advances the most positions during the race. Gaples qualified seventeenth fastest in the No. 34 Blackdog Racing prepared Chevrolet Corvette. He moved up the race order and was in eighth place at the checkered flag.|
|Until the previous round, the 2005 SCCA Pro Racing Speed World Challenge Grand Touring Champion, Andy Pilgrim, had finished on the podium in every 2008 event. At Road America, he lost an engine and was classified in twenty-second place. The driver of the No. 8 Remington Shaving Cadillac CTS-V qualified eighth at Mosport International Raceway and finished seventh. More importantly, Pilgrim was still second in the point standings.|
|During the 2008 season, there were some pleasant surprises on the timesheets at the end of qualifying. At Miller Motorsports Park, Ritch Marziale, who qualified on the front row and Jeff Courtney, started third at Mid-Ohio. At Mosport International Raceway, Jason Daskalos delivered his best qualifying performance of the year. Daskalos was gridded third for the start. Unfortunately, the No. 5 Dodge Viper rolled to a stop on lap-20.|
|The second full-course caution of the race came out on lap-27 when the Corvette of Brian Kubinski dropped oil in turn nine. The first cars on the scene first were the No. 14 Global Motorsports Group Porsche 911 GT3 of James Sofronas and Tommy Milner driving the Rahal Letterman Racing Aston Martin DB9. Also caught out by the oil were Fred Roberts and Sonny Whelen. The contest would end under yellow flags.|
|The round seven podium for the 2008 SCCA Pro Racing Speed World Challenge Grand Touring division at Mosport International Raceway. Standing on the top step for the first time this season is Whelen Engineering’s, Eric Curran. On the left side of the rostrum is the current points leader, Randy Pobst, who finished in the runner-up position. Occupying the final spot on the podium is Pobst’s teammate, Michael Galati.|
|1||1||Eric Curran||Chevrolet Corvette||30||-|
|2||2||Randy Pobst||Porsche 911 GT3||30||-|
|3||7||Michael Galati||Porsche 911 GT3||30||-|
|4||6||Tommy Archer||Dodge Viper||30||-|
|5||5||Michael McCann||Cadillac CTS-V||30||-|
|6||8||Andy Pilgrim||Cadillac CTS-V||30||-|
|7||11||Jeff Courtney||Dodge Viper||30||-|
|8||17||Tony Gaples||Chevrolet Corvette||30||-|
|9||15||Mike Davis||Ford Mustang Cobra||30||-|
|10||16||Dino Crescentini||Porsche 911 GT3||30||-|
|11||12||Sonny Whelen||Chevrolet Corvette||30||-|
|12||19||Fred Roberts||Dodge Viper||30||-|
|13||20||Eric Olberz||Porsche 911 GT3||30||-|
|14||10||Brian Kubinski||Chevrolet Corvette||27||Mechanical|
|15||13||James Sofronas||Porsche 911 GT3||27||Accident|
|16||9||Tommy Milner||Aston Martin DB9||27||Accident|
|17||3||Jason Daskalos||Dodge Viper||20||Mechanical|
|18||15||Cindi Lux||Dodge Viper||16||Mechanical|
|19||18||John Bourassa||Porsche 911 Turbo||7||Accident|
|20||21||Sean Allen||Porsche 911 GT3||7||Accident|
|21||22||Jeff Altenburg||Lexus IS350||6||Mechanical|
|22||23||Joey Scarallo||Pontiac GTO||4||Mechanical|
|23||4||Brandon Davis||Ford Mustang Cobra||0||Mechanical|
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