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 final round of the 2008 World Challenge season was held at Road Atlanta. Drivers would compete on the twelve-turn 2.58-miles road course for twenty-eight laps or fifty minutes – whichever came first.

Twenty-six World Challenge Grand Touring competitors charge into Road Atlanta’s first corner for the season’s final event. Leading the field is the second fastest qualifier, Brandon Davis in the No. 10 Ford Mustang Cobra. A poor launch by the pole-sitter, Tommy Milner almost allowed third and fifth fastest starters, Andy Pilgrim and Randy Pobst to pass him before turn one.
Brandon Davis started on the outside of the front row with pole-sitter, Tommy Milner. When Milner got a bad launch, Davis was able to put the ACS/Sun Microsystems Ford Mustang Cobra into the lead. He never looked back and led all twenty-eight laps – flag-to-flag - and won by a margin of 4.093-seconds. This was Davis’ second victory of the season – his first coming earlier in the year at Long Beach.
The No. 21 Aston Martin DB9 was driven by Tommy Milner. Milner entered the series mid-season and made his presence known immediately with a fourth place finish at Mid-Ohio. In the finale at Road Atlanta, he put the Aston Martin on the pole. At the start, Milner lost his advantage when he spun the tires. He followed eventual winner Brandon Davis to the checkered flag. The runner-up spot was his best result of the year.
Michael McCann entered two Remington Shaving sponsored Cadillac CTS-Vs. One was raced by McCann and the second Cadillac, No. 8 was driven by the 2005 World Challenge Grand Touring champion, Andy Pilgrim. Pilgrim started in the third grid position and had a race long battle with the Chevrolet Corvette of Eric Curran. He was able to hold off Curran and grab the final spot on the podium.
It wasn’t a particularly noteworthy race for Randy Pobst but he did what was required to win the 2008 World Challenge GT Drivers’ Championship. Pobst needed to finish twenty-sixth or better to secure his second straight GT title. In qualifying, he recorded the fifth quickest time driving the No. 1 K-PAX Racing Porsche 911 GT3. Pobst ran a steady ran a steady race - kept out of trouble and was in fifth place at the checkered flag.
Foster Motorsports entered two cars at Road Atlanta. A Dodge Viper for Jason Foster and the No. 17 Chevrolet Corvette was driven by Rob Foster. Rob Foster qualified the Corvette twentieth in the twenty-seven car field. During the contest, he made great progress and moved up the race order to finish in twelfth place. Foster’s performance earned him the ‘Sunoco Hard Charger Award’ for advancing eight positions.
Jeff Courtney driving the No. 99 Dodge Viper had his best result of the season in the penultimate round at New Jersey Motorsports Park – qualified seventh and finished sixth. At Road Atlanta, Courtney started from the seventeenth position on the grid. Unfortunately for him, his race only lasted eight laps when he was involved in an accident. However, Courtney captured the ‘Racing Electronics Holeshot Award’ for advancing three positions on the opening lap.
By simply starting the series finale, Gunter Schaldach took the 2008 Rookie of the Year title. Schaldach’s big advantage during the year was that he entered all but two of the season’s ten races. At Road Atlanta, he started sixteenth in the Lala Motorsports Dodge Viper and lost a position to finish seventeenth. In the final points tally, he had fifty-seven more points than Rookie contender, Stu Frederick.
During practice, Tim Mackenzie had a moment in corner three. The car did not suffer any serious damage and was ready for qualifying and the race. Mackenzie qualified the No. 66 TR Racing Porsche 911 GT3 ninth and was eighth at the checkered flag. In seven events during the 2008 season, these were his best results.
The 2008 season’s final World Challenge Grand Touring podium. In the center is ACS/Sun Microsystems’ Brandon Davis who earned his second victory of the year. To Davis’ right is Tommy Milner who captured the runner-up spot – his best results to date. Completing the podium is the driver of the No. 8 Remington Shaving Cadillac CTS-V, Andy Pilgrim.

12Brandon DavisFord Mustang CobraACS/Sun Microsystems28
21Tommy MilnerAston Martin DB9Rahal Letterman Racing28
33Andy PilgrimCadillac CTS-VRemington Shaving28
46Eric CurranChevrolet CorvetteWhelen Motorsports28
55Randy PobstPorsche 911 GT3K-PAX Racing28
68Jason DaskalosDodge ViperCoastal Pet Products28
711James SofronasPorsche 911 GT3Global Motorsports Group28
89Tim McKenziePorsche 911 GT3TR Racing28
914Cindi LuxDodge ViperMopar/Corsa/Forgeline/Momo27
1015Tomi DrissiChevrolet CorvetteThe Day The Earth Stood Still28
1127Rich MarzialeDodge ViperAll-Cut Concrete Cutting28
1220Rob FosterChevrolet CorvetteLTI Contracting/Foster Motorsports28
1318Tony GaplesChevrolet CorvetteKleinschmidt Inc./Blackdog Racing28
1410Michael GalatiPorsche 911 GT3K-PAX Racing28
154Dino CrescentiniPorsche 911 GT3Centric Parts/Stoptech28
1621Jeff AltenburgLexus ISDRC Motorsports28
1716Gunter SchaldachDodge ViperLala Motorsports28
1819Mike DavisFord Mustang CobraACS/Sun Microsystems28
1925Joey ScaralloPontiac GTOGroup A Wheels28
2023Scott TuckerPorsche 911 GT3Scott Tucker28
2122Vesko KozarovMitsubishi Lancer Evo IXCompAssoc27
227Michael McCannCadillac CTS-VRemington Shaving27
2312Sonny WhelenChevrolet CorvetteWhelen Motorsports23
2417Jeff CourtneyDodge ViperKENDA Tire8
2513Jason FosterDodge ViperLTI Contracting/Foster Motorsports8
2626Nick EsayianSaleen SRACS/Sun Microsystems5
2724Claudio BurtinPorsche 911 GT3Foametix/Woodhouse Performance0

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