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 nine of the 2008 SCCA Pro Racing Speed World Challenge Touring Car Championship was held at Mosport International Raceway during the Grand Prix of Ontario weekend. Competitors would race around the ten-turn 2.459-mile road course for fifty-minutes.

A field of fourteen SCCA Pro Racing Speed World Challenge Touring Car competitors head into Mosport International Raceway’s turn one for round ten of the championship. Leading the way is the pole-sitter, Chip Herr, in the Tindol Motorsports Mazda 6. Behind Herr are the Bimmerworld BMWs of the fourth and sixth fastest qualifiers, James Clay and Seth Thomas. Mosport was the poorest subscribed event on the 2008 Touring Car schedule.
Michael Galati won his second SCCA Pro Racing Speed World Challenge Touring Car event of the season at Mosport International Raceway. Galati qualified on the outside of the front row in a Tindol Motorsports prepared Mazda 6. At the start of the race, he lost a position to the BMW of James Clay. Galati inherited second place when Clay broke a half-shaft. He chased down the leader, Chip Herr, and passed him on lap-10 for the victory.
Rookie, Jason Saini, won his first series event earlier in the season at Miller Motorsports Park. At Mosport, Saini qualified third fastest in the No. 74 Mazdaspeed Mazda 6. As the contest came to a conclusion, he found himself in fourth place, leading a pack of three cars. On the final lap, the first and second place drivers made contact in the last corner. Saini inherited a second-place finish and clinched the Rookie of the Year honours.
RealTime Racing’s team owner, Peter Cunningham, qualified ninth fastest in the fourteen-car field driving the No. 42 Acura TSX. He moved up the race order and the last lap incident between the second and third place competitors gave him a third-place finish. More importantly, Cunningham’s results secured Acura’s seventh SCCA Speed Touring Car Manufacturer’s title and gave him the driver’s points lead with one race remaining.
The final lap and the last corner drama at Mosport International Raceway. Seth Thomas the sixth fastest qualifier in the No. 38 Bimmerworld BMW 325i and the pole-sitter, Chip Herr, driving the No. 97 Tindol Motorsports Mazda 6 staged a war for the runner-up position. An aggressive pass by Thomas resulted in contact between the two. Thomas spun and hit the pitlane wall, he was classified in twelfth place. Herr continued and finished fifth.
SCCA Pro Racing Speed World Challenge Touring Car veteran, Pierre Kleinubing’s campaign to win another championship received a significant setback at Mosport International Raceway. Kleinubing was gridded fifth for the start of the fifty-minute event. Unfortunately, he jumped the start and was given a stop-and-penalty. Kleinubing drove from the rear of the field to finish sixth in the No. 43 RealTime Racing Acura TSX.
The round nine podium for the 2008 SCCA Pro Racing Speed World Challenge Touring Car class at Mosport. Standing on the top step for the second time this year is Tindol Motorsports’, Michael Galati. On the left side of the rostrum is Jason Saini, who clinched the Rookie title with his runner-up finish. Occupying the final position on the podium is Peter Cunningham, who helped Acura win their seventh Manufacturer’s championship.

12Michael GalatiMazda 628-
23Jason SainiMazda 628-
39Peter CunninghamAcura TSX28-
48Kuno WittmerAcura TSX28-
51Chip HerrMazda 628-
65Pierre KleinubingAcura TSX28-
711Dino CrescentiniAcura TSX28-
810Charlie PutmanMazda 628-
913Nick EsayianBMW 325i28-
1014Charles EspenlaubMazda 628-
1112Patrick LindseyMazda 628-
126Seth ThomasBMW 325i27Accident
134James ClayBMW 325i9Mechanical
DSQ7Jim DanielsMazda 628Disqualified

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