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.

The tenth and eleventh rounds of the 2012 World Challenge Championship was held at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. This weekend did not include a race for Touring Car B class. As a result, GT, GTS and TC competed together. A total of fifty-six cars (14-GT entries, 26-GTS entries and 16-TC entries) would race for 50-minutes around the 2.258-mile thirteen-turn road course in the Pirelli World Challenge Cadillac Mid-Ohio Grand Prix presented by StopTech.

The start of round eleven was delayed forty-five-minutes due to visibility problems and significant rains earlier in the morning.

The Grand Touring Sport podium for the penultimate round at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. In the center is the winner, Kevin Gleason. This was only the third Pirelli World Challenge start for the driver of the Napleton Porsche Cayman S. On the right side of the rostrum is the runner-up, Al Carter. Completing the podium is the RealTime Racing team principal and class point’s leader, Peter Cunningham.
In round ten, Randy Pobst led flag-to-flag scoring his second win of the season. This victory was far from easy as he came under pressure from the three Cadillac entries after his teammate, Alex Figge retired. Under different conditions on Sunday (a wet race track), Pobst again started from the pole and led every lap in the No. 6 K-PAX Racing Volvo S60 on the way to his second victory of the weekend.
In the weekend’s first race, Michael Cooper racing the Mazdaspeed Motorsports Mazda 3 qualified on the Touring Car pole. Cooper led the contest until lap-12 when he was passed by Christian Herbert. Herbert’s Volkswagen failed post-race tech and Cooper was given the win. The following day, he was gridded first, but the Mazda developed a mechanical problem after only ten-laps and Cooper was forced to retire.
Tristan Herbert drove the HPA / RennGruppe / Brimtek / SG Racing sponsored Volkswagen GLI. Herbert was the second quickest during the Touring Car qualifying session. In round ten, he chased the point’s leader and pole-sitter, Michael Cooper before moving into first place on lap-12. Herbert’s victory was short-lived as the car’s boost exceeded specifications and was disqualified. He did not start Sunday’s race.
In only his third World Challenge start, Kevin Gleason driving the Napleton Porsche Cayman S scored his first Grand Touring Sport win. On Sunday, Gleason was gridded third in class but passed the race leader, Peter Cunningham at ‘The Keyhole’ on lap-11 for the victory. For his performance, he was awarded the ‘Cadillac CTS-V Move of the Race.’ The previous day, Gleason started and finished third.
Grand-Am series competitor, Jordan Taylor made his first Pirelli World Challenge start at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Taylor drove one of the three Cadillac CTS-V.R entered by Cadillac Racing. On Saturday, he started fourth but quickly moved to third and inherited a runner-up finish when Alex Figge retired. Round eleven was contested in wet conditions and Taylor was gridded third and finished fifth.
The defending TC champion, Lawson Aschenbach returned to the GT ranks in a Porsche 911 GT3. Aschenbach started the weekend’s first race in seventh and inherited a sixth-place finish when Alex Figge retired. On Sunday, he spun on the pace lap. Aschenbach passed several cars to regain his starting position but was fined $1,000 and 20-points for his actions, however, he captured the final spot on the podium.
Peter Cunningham started from the Grand Touring Sport pole on Saturday and led flag-to-flag to take the points lead and scored his forty-third World Challenge victory. The following day was more challenging for the driver of the No. 42 RealTime Racing Acura TSX. Cunningham started first in class but was passed by the Porsche of Kevin Gleason and then Al Carter in a BMW. He grabbed the last spot on the podium.
Touring Car competitor, Todd Lamb entered the Mid-Ohio rounds second in standings – trailing the point’s leader, Michael Cooper. Lamb was gridded fifth in class for Saturday’s contest but inherited a third-place finish when two Volkswagen competitors were disqualified. In race two, Lamb made a great start and jumped into a lead which he would not relinquish. The victory closed the points gap on Cooper.
Travis Wolcott finished fourth in the Touring Car category on Saturday but inherited the runner-up spot when the Volkswagens of Tristan Herbert and Ian Baas were disqualified. The following day, Wolcott driving the Emich Volkswagen / StopTech Brakes / 3Zero3 Motorsports sponsored Volkswagen GLI started second but dropped down the race order in the damp conditions and finished ten in class.
The most popular make in the GTS category was the Ford Mustang. The entrants of these cars were lobbying SCCA Officials for adjustments to the 5.0-liter engine – not only was the Mustang uncompetitive but the motors were overheating. In a show of solidarity, seven Mustang drivers started round-eleven but pitted on the first lap and retired. The best result for a Mustang this weekend was Aaron Povoledo’s tenth.
In the weekend’s first event, two of the quickest Touring Cars failed post-race technical inspections. The No. 49 Volkswagen GTI, driven Ian Baas, finished third on the track but was disqualified when the car exceeded boost limits set by the series rules. On Sunday, Baas started last overall (fifty-sixth) and in class. He excelled in the damp conditions and captured the last spot on the podium – forty-third overall.
Former open-wheel racer, Alex Figge joined K-PAX Racing for the 2011 Pirelli World Challenge season and scored his first victory at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Winless in 2012, Figge’s best finish was a second at Laguna Seca. On Saturday, it appeared that he would match this result but Figge retired on lap-23. The following day, he captured the runner-up position finishing 0.736-seconds behind Randy Pobst.
Grand Touring point’s leader, Johnny O’Connell was gridded fifth for the start of the weekend’s first race. O’Connell chased his teammate, Jordan Taylor and grabbed the final spot on the class podium. On Sunday, he started fourth in the wet conditions but slipped down the race order for a seventh-place finish. However, O’Connell’s Mid-Ohio results earned him the 2012 Pirelli World Challenge Grand Touring title.
Nick Esayian, racing the No. 34 Acura/HPD ReatTime Racing Acura TSX qualified second in Grand Touring Sport for round ten - behind his teammate, Peter Cunningham. Esayian maintained his position during contest and captured the runner-up position. In tougher conditions on Sunday, he lost a number of positions after battling with Gleason, Carter, Baldwin, Galatti, Wilkins, Lee and Boden - Esayian finished ninth.
At the Mid-Ohio rounds, Grand-Am Cup competitor, Al Carter made a rare appearance. Driving a Fall-Line Motorsports prepared BMW M3, Carter qualified and finished fourth in the twenty-six car Grand Touring Sport field in Saturday’s contest. He was gridded fourth for the start of round nine but passed RealTime Racing teammates, Peter Cunningham and Nick Esayian to capture the runner-up spot.
The Compass360 Racing team brought two very quick Honda Civic Si to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. The No. 72 entry was raced by Ryan Winchester with sponsorship from Ligon Industries and HPD. In round ten, Winchester benefited from the disqualification of the two Volkswagens and was fifth at the checkered flag. On Sunday, he and his teammate, Todd Lamb led the Touring Car field in a one-two finish.
The 2012 season’s penultimate Pirelli World Challenge Grand Touring podium. In the center is K-PAX Racing’s, Randy Pobst who earned his second victory of the weekend and third of the year. To Pobst’s right is his teammate, Alex Figge who captured the runner-up spot and matched his best result to date. Completing the podium is the driver of the No. 1 TruSpeed Porsche 911 GT3, Lawson Aschenbach.

1GTRandy PobstVolvo S6030-
2GTJordan TaylorCadillac CTS-V.R30-
3GTJohnny O'ConnellCadillac CTS-V.R30-
4GTAndy PilgrimCadillac CTS-V.R30-
5GTJames SofronasAudi R830-
6GTLawson AschenbachPorsche 911 GT330-
7GTSteve OttPorsche 911 GT330Mechanical
8GTTony GaplesChevrolet Corvette30-
9GTFred RobertsDodge Viper30Mechanical
10GTBrett SandbergPorsche 911 GT330-
11GTMike SkeenNissan GTR28Mechanical
12GTAlex FiggeVolvo S6023Mechanical
13GTPatrick LindseyChevrolet Corvette21Accident
14GTJeff CourtneyPorsche GT3 Cup3Mechanical
15GTSPeter CunninghamAcura TSX29-
16GTSNick EsayianAcura TSX29-
17GTSKevin GleasonPorsche Cayman S29-
18GTSAl CarterBMW E9229-
19GTSMichael GalatiKia Optima29-
20GTSJack BaldwinPorsche Cayman S29-
21GTSMark WilkinsKia Optima29-
22GTSCharlie PutmanBMW E9229-
23GTSMark BodenBMW E9229-
24GTSAaron PovoledoFord Mustang Boss 302S29-
25GTSAndy LeeChevrolet Camaro29-
26GTSJason von KlugeFord Mustang Boss 302S29-
27GTSAlec UdellFord Mustang Boss 302R29-
28GTSKarl PoeltlPorsche 99629-
29GTSBrad AdamsFord Mustang FR500 C29-
30GTSTodd NapieralskiChevrolet Camaro29-
31GTSRoger MillerFord Mustang Boss 302S29-
32GTSMark KleninBMW E9229-
33GTSBrian KleemanNissan 370Z28-
34GTSDon IstookAudi TT RS28-
35GTSDane MoxlowFord Mustang Boss 302S28-
36GTSRichard GolinelloFord Mustang FR500S26Mechanical
37GTSRic BusheyNissan 370Z26-
38GTSHarry CurtinChevrolet Camaro11Mechanical
39GTSBill ZieglerPontiac Solstice4Mechanical
40GTSJustin BellFord Mustang Boss 302S3Mechanical
41TCMichael CooperMazda 328-
42TCTravis WolcottVolkswagen GLI28-
43TCTodd LambHonda Civic Si28-
44TCAlex PopowVolkswagen GTI28-
45TCRyan WinchesterHonda Civic Si28-
46TCShea HolbrookHonda Civic Si28-
47TCFred EmichVolkswagen GLI28-
48TCRay MasonHonda Civic Si28-
49TCTom MartinVolkswagen GTI28-
50TCPeter SchwartzottHonda Civic Si28-
51TCBob RothHonda Civic27-
52TCDavid TuatyHonda Civic Si25Hub
53TCCarl RydquistMazda RX-88Mechanical
54TCPatrick SeguinVolkswagen GTI6Mechanical
55TCTristan HerbertVolkswagen GLI28Disqualified
56TCIan BaasVolkswagen GTI28Disqualified

1GTRandy PobstVolvo S6022-
2GTAlex FiggeVolvo S6022-
3GTLawson AschenbachPorsche 911 GT322-
4GTJordan TaylorCadillac CTS-V.R22-
5GTAndy PilgrimCadillac CTS-V.R22-
6GTJames SofronasAudi R822-
7GTJohnny O'ConnellCadillac CTS-V.R22-
8GTMike SkeenNissan GTR22-
9GTTony GaplesChevrolet Corvette22-
10GTJeff CourtneyPorsche GT3 Cup21-
11GTBrett SandbergPorsche 911 GT321-
12GTFred RobertsDodge Viper13Mechanical
13GTSteve OttPorsche 911 GT312Mechanical
14GTPatrick LindseyChevrolet Corvette1Mechanical
15GTSKevin GleasonPorsche Cayman S22-
16GTSAl CarterBMW E9222-
17GTSPeter CunninghamAcura TSX22-
18GTSMark BodenBMW E9222-
19GTSMichael GalatiKia Optima22-
20GTSMark WilkinsKia Optima22-
21GTSAndy LeeChevrolet Camaro22-
22GTSJack BaldwinPorsche Cayman S22-
23GTSNick EsayianAcura TSX21-
24GTSCharlie PutmanBMW E9221-
25GTSBrian KleemanNissan 370Z21-
26GTSRic BusheyNissan 370Z21-
27GTSHarry CurtinChevrolet Camaro21-
28GTSKarl PoeltlPorsche 99621-
29GTSTodd NapieralskiChevrolet Camaro21-
30GTSBrad AdamsFord Mustang FR500 C18Mechanical
31GTSDon IstookAudi TT RS11Mechanical
32GTSBill ZieglerPontiac Solstice10Mechanical
33GTSAaron PovoledoFord Mustang Boss 302S0Retired
34GTSRichard GolinelloFord Mustang FR500S0Retired
35GTSAlec UdellFord Mustang Boss 302R0Retired
36GTSJason von KlugeFord Mustang Boss 302S0Retired
37GTSDane MoxlowFord Mustang Boss 302S0Retired
38GTSRoger MillerFord Mustang Boss 302S0Retired
39GTSJustin BellFord Mustang Boss 302S0Retired
40GTSMark KleninBMW E920Did Not Start
41TCTodd LambHonda Civic Si22-
42TCRyan WinchesterHonda Civic Si22-
43TCIan BaasVolkswagen GTI21-
44TCPeter SchwartzottHonda Civic Si21-
45TCRay MasonHonda Civic Si21-
46TCRob HollandVolkswagen GTI21-
47TCBrandon PetersonHonda Civic21-
48TCTravis WolcottVolkswagen GLI21-
49TCDavid TuatyHonda Civic Si21-
50TCFred EmichVolkswagen GLI21-
51TCShea HolbrookHonda Civic Si21-
52TCPatrick SeguinVolkswagen GTI20-
53TCTom MartinVolkswagen GTI11Mechanical
54TCMichael CooperMazda 310Mechanical
55TCCarl RydquistMazda RX-80Did Not Start
56TCTristan HerbertVolkswagen GLI0Did Not Start

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