In 2012, the Pirelli World Challenge Championship kicked off its twenty-third consecutive season at St. Petersburg, Florida, as a support event for the IndyCar series. The season ended in late-August at Sonoma Raceway. In between these two weekends, there were races held at Long Beach, Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, Miller Motorsports Park, Detroit, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

The series biggest news was the introduction of a fourth category called ‘Touring Car B-Spec.’ This was not a renaming or realignment of an existing class but a new group with new cars. The four 2012 Pirelli World Challenge series divisions are:

  • Grand Touring (GT) – This group includes the series quickest cars: Porsche 911 GT3, Chevrolet Corvette, Dodge Viper, Cadillac CTS-V.R, Nissan GT-R and Volvo S60. The preparation rules remain unchanged from the previous year. These vehicles produce more than 450-horsepower.
  • Grand Touring Sport (GTS) – The cars in this division are not permitted the same level of preparation as the GT category. The class is a mix of vehicles that could be best described as sports cars or sports sedans. Vehicles eligible to compete in GTS include the SCCA Club Racing Touring 2 cars and some FIA GT4 models. Makes competing in this group include the Ford Mustang, Porsche Cayman, Nissan 370Z, Chevrolet Camaro, Kia Optima and Acura TSX.
  • Touring Car (TC) – The preparation of the Touring Cars is closely aligned with the Grand-Am Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Street Tuner category and the Sports Car Club of America’s Improved Touring classes. The wide range of vehicles homologated for this class means that power output ranges from 180 to 260-horsepower. There is also a significant variation in drivetrain configurations – front-wheel, rear-wheel and all-wheel-drive. Makes competing in the category include the Volvo C30, Mazda RX-8, Honda Civic Si, Mazda Speed 3, Volkswagen Jetta and Golf.
  • Touring Car B (TCB) – World Challenge’s newest class was implemented to allow competitors to compete at the professional level in cost-efficient cars. To keep expenses down, modifications are limited to performance spring and shock packages offered by the manufacturers. Makes competing in TCB are the Kia Rio, Honda Fit, Mazda 2, Fiat 500 and Mini Cooper.

GT and GTS classes are combined to race in 50-minute timed events. The TCB cars run two 25-minute races with a 15-minute break in between to allow crews to make minor adjustments. The following day there is a longer 40-minute race.

Rounds eight and nine of the Pirelli World Challenge Grand Touring and Grand Touring Sport classes took place at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. This was a double-header event with races taking place on Saturday and Sunday. A combined entry of thirty Grand Touring and Grand Touring Sport categories competed on the ten-turn 2.459-mile road course.

The start of round eight for the Grand Touring and Grand Touring Sport competitors at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. As expected, the second fastest-qualifier, Randy Pobst, in the all-wheel-drive Volvo S60, leads the field into corner one. His race and weekend would end on lap-9 when the Volvo caught fire. Behind Pobst is the pole-sitter, Mike Skeen driving the No. 02 Hawk Performance sponsored Chevrolet Corvette Z06.
Last year at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, Mike Skeen swept the weekend – earning his first two victories of the season. He repeated this performance in 2012. Skeen started Saturday’s race on the pole but lost the lead, he regained the top spot on lap-3 and never looked back. Skeen was the fastest qualifier for round nine, but this time the No. 02 Hawk Performance Chevrolet Corvette Z06 led flag-to-flag.
The Grand Touring points leader entering round eight was Johnny O’Connell, the driver of the No. 3 Cadillac Racing Cadillac CTS-V.R. O’Connell qualified fourth fastest for the weekend’s first contest. He inherited a second place when Randy Pobst retired and his teammate, Andy Pilgrim, suffered a flat tire. On Sunday, O’Connell started on the outside of the front row, but it was his turn for a flat tire and he finished tenth.
The five-time World Challenge Drivers’ Champion, Michael Galati, joined the Kia Motors America team in 2012, driving a Kia Optima. His best result to date was a third-place at Miller Motorsports Park. Galati qualified on the class pole for round eight but lost two positions at the start. Before the end of the race, he was in first place and gave Kia their first series victory. On Sunday, a starting line incident resulted in a fifth place.
Canadian Mark Wilkins also joined the newly formed Kia Motors America team driving the No. 38 Kia Optima in the Grand Touring Sport category. In the first event of the weekend at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, he chased his teammate, Michael Galati, to a second-place finish. The following day, Wilkins started on the class pole and avoided the incident at the start to score his first series win.
The 2011 Pirelli World Challenge Grand Touring Sport Driving’s Champion, Paul Brown, returned for just two races - rounds eight and nine at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. The No. 50 eBay Motors Ford Mustang Boss 302S was driven in the other events by Justin Bell. Brown represented himself well in his only outings. On Saturday, he started eight in class but finished third. In round eight, he finished in ninth place.
Saturday’s round eight podium for the Grand Touring and Grand Touring Sport competitors at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. In the center are the winners of the two classes, Mike Skeen and Michael Galati. Standing to Skeen and Galati’s right are the runner-ups, Johnny O’Connell and Galati’s teammate, Mark Wilkins. Completing the rostrum are the third-place finishers, Steve Ott and Paul Brown.
Another competitor to benefit, on Saturday, from the misfortunes of Alex Figge, Randy Pobst and Andy Pilgrim was Steve Ott. Ott, driving the No. 85 Racing For Our Heroes Porsche 911 GT3, qualified eighth fastest. An aggressive drive earned Ott the final spot on the Grand Touring podium. The following day, he started in the sixth position and was in fourth place at the checkered flag.
Last season’s Touring Car Champion, Lawson Aschenbach returned to the Grand Touring category in 2012, driving the No. 1 TruSpeed Porsche 911 GT3. Aschenbach was sixth fastest in the qualifying session for race one at Mosport International Speedway. At the finish, he was in fourth place. The next day was much better, Aschenbach started fifth and passes on Alex Figge and Andy Pilgrim resulted in a second-place finish.
The 1992 Trans-Am, Jack Baldwin, joined the Pirelli World Challenge Championship the season. Baldwin was racing the No. 68 Porsche Cayman S with backing from his former sponsor Mattel’s Hot Wheels. Baldwin was immediately on form, winning at Long Beach and capturing runner-up finishes at Miller Motorsports Park and Detroit. At Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, Baldwin’s results were a sixth and second place.
The round nine Pirelli World Challenge Championship podium for the Grand Touring Sport class. In the center from the Kia America Motors race team is Mark Wilkins. This was Wilkins’ first series victory. On the left side of the rostrum is the runner-up, Jack Baldwin. Completing the podium is the third-place finisher Alec Udel. This was Udel’s first Pirelli World Challenge series top-three result.
Alec Udell was in his second season of the Pirelli World Challenge series and looking to redeem himself after his disastrous outing last year at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. During race one, he rolled his Chevrolet Camaro in turn four. Udell returned in 2012 with the No. 16 Ford Mustang Boss 302R. He qualified and finished fifth in the weekends first contest. In round nine, a last lap pass on Andy Lee gave Udell a third-place finish.
On Saturday, K-PAX Racing’s Alex Figge’s race ended on the first lap in corner one. At the start, Figge ran through the gravel-trap and backed the No. 9 Volvo S60 into the tire-barrier. The following day, he fared much better. Figge was gridded in the third spot for round nine. During the race, he lost a position to Lawson Aschenbach, but when Johnny O’Connell pitted with a flat tire, Figge was able to capture a third-place finish.
The round nine Grand Touring podium for the 2012 Pirelli World Challenge Championship at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. In the center and capturing his second victory of the weekend is Mike Skeen. On the left side of the rostrum is the 2006 series class champion and runner-up, Lawson Aschenbach. Completing the podium is the third-place finisher from K-PAX Racing’s, Alex Figge.

1GTMike SkeenChevrolet Corvette Z0628-
2GTJohnny O'ConnellCadillac CTS-V.R28-
3GTSteve OttPorsche 911 GT328-
4GTLawson AschenbachPorsche 911 GT328-
5GTTony GaplesChevrolet Corvette28-
6GTBrett SandbergPorsche 911 GT328-
7GTFred RobertsDodge Viper28-
8GTMadison SnowPorsche 911 GT328-
9GTJason DaskalosNissan GTR28-
10GTAndy PilgrimCadillac CTS-V.R27-
11GTRandy PobstVolvo S609Fire
12GTAlex FiggeVolvo S601Mechanical
1GTSMichael GalatiKia Optima28-
2GTSMark WilkinsKia Optima28-
3GTSPaul BrownFord Mustang Boss 302S28-
4GTSAaron PovoledoFord Mustang Boss 302S28-
5GTSAlec UdellFord Mustang Boss 302R28-
6GTSJack BaldwinPorsche Cayman S28-
7GTSPeter CunninghamAcura TSX28-
8GTSRichard GolinelloFord Mustang FR500S28-
9GTSAndy LeeChevrolet Camaro28-
10GTSKarl PoeltlPorsche 99627-
11GTSBrad AdamsFord Mustang FR500 C27-
12GTSHarry CurtinChevrolet Camaro27-
13GTSRic BusheyNissan 370Z27-
14GTSErnie JakubowskiPorsche Cayman S27-
15GTSGreg ShafferNissan 370Z21Mechanical
16GTSSteven GoldmanChevrolet Camaro7Mechanical
17GTSNick EsayianAcura TSX6Mechanical
18GTSDane MoxlowFord Mustang Boss 302S0Did Not Start

1GTMike SkeenChevrolet Corvette Z0631-
2GTLawson AschenbachPorsche 911 GT331-
3GTAlex FiggeVolvo S6031-
4GTSteve OttPorsche 911 GT331-
5GTAndy PilgrimCadillac CTS-V.R31-
6GTTony GaplesChevrolet Corvette31-
7GTBrett SandbergPorsche 911 GT331-
8GTMadison SnowPorsche 911 GT331-
9GTFred RobertsDodge Viper30Accident
10GTJohnny O'ConnellCadillac CTS-V.R30-
11GTJason DaskalosNissan GTR25Mechanical
1GTSMark WilkinsKia Optima30-
2GTSJack BaldwinPorsche Cayman S30-
3GTSAlec UdellFord Mustang Boss 302R29-
4GTSAndy LeeChevrolet Camaro29-
5GTSMichael GalatiKia Optima29-
6GTSPeter CunninghamAcura TSX29-
7GTSRichard GolinelloFord Mustang FR500S29-
8GTSBrad AdamsFord Mustang FR500 C29-
9GTSPaul BrownFord Mustang Boss 302S29-
10GTSKarl PoeltlPorsche 99629-
11GTSHarry CurtinChevrolet Camaro29-
12GTSNick EsayianAcura TSX29-
13GTSErnie JakubowskiPorsche Cayman S28-
14GTSRic BusheyNissan 370Z18Accident
15GTSAaron PovoledoFord Mustang Boss 302S0Accident
16GTSGreg ShafferNissan 370Z0Did Not Start
17GTSSteven GoldmanChevrolet Camaro0Did Not Start
18GTSDane MoxlowFord Mustang Boss 302S0Did Not Start

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