In 2013, the World Challenge Championship kicked off its twenty-fourth consecutive season at St. Petersburg, Florida in March as a support event for the IndyCar series. The season ended the first weekend in October at the Grand Prix of Houston. In between these two events, there were races held at Long Beach, Circuit of the Americas, Detroit, Lime Rock, Toronto, Mid-Ohio and Sonoma Raceway.

The series launched the ‘Touring Car B-Spec’ in 2012 and it was proving popular as entries were showing strong growth. There were four classes:

  • Grand Touring (GT) – This group includes the series quickest cars: Porsche 911 GT3, Chevrolet Corvette, Dodge Viper, Cadillac CTS-V.R, Nissan GTR, Audi R8 LMS 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 class are not permitted the same level of preparation as the GT category. The class is a mix of cars that could be best described as sports cars or sports sedans. Vehicles eligible to compete in GTS include SCCA Club Racing Touring 2 cars and some FIA GT4 cars. Makes competing in this category include the Ford Mustang, Porsche Cayman S, Chevrolet Camaro, Kia Optima and Acura TSX.
  • Touring Car (TC) – The preparation of the Touring Cars is closely aligned with Grand Am Cup and the Sports Car Club of America’s Improved Touring classes. The wide range of vehicles homologated for this category mean that power output ranges from 180 to 260-horsepower. Also, there is significant variation in drivetrain configurations – front-wheel, rear-wheel and all-wheel drive. Makes competing in the category include the Honda Civic Si, MAZDASPEED3, 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.

Rounds eleven and twelve of the 2013 Pirelli World Challenge took place at Mid-Ohio. Forty Grand Touring and Grand Touring Sport drivers competed in two fifty-minute races around the thirteen-turn 2.258-mile road course.

Twenty-seven Grand Touring Sport competitors sit on the grid before the start of round eleven. On the pole is Nic Jonsson driver of the No. 36 Kia Optima Turbo. On the outside of the front row is Jonsson’s teammate, Mark Wilkins also competing in a Kia. The duo would repeat their qualifying performance for Sunday’s contest.
Mark Wilkins started second in the weekend’s first race – sharing the front row with his teammate, Nic Jonsson. Jonsson led the first twenty-three-laps but a problem with his car allowed Wilkins to inherit the lead and take his second victory of the season. On Sunday, Wilkins started on the outside of the front row but was unable to match the pace of Lawson Aschenbach, Peter Cunningham or Jack Baldwin and finished fourth.
The 2013 round eleven Pirelli World Challenge Grand Touring Sport podium. In the center, is the victor, Mark Wilkins. This was Wilkins second win of the season – his first came at Detroit. To his left, is fourth place starter and the runner-up, Peter Cunningham. Completing the rostrum is Lawson Aschenbach who recorded his fourth consecutive podium finish.
The first lap of round eleven and the pole-sitter, Alex Figge leads the field through the ‘Carousel’ turn. Behind Figge, is his teammate, Randy Pobst who started second in the No. 6 K-PAX Racing Volvo S60. In third is Grand Am competitor and Cadillac guest driver, Jordan Taylor. The last car in the frame is the Audi R8 LMS of the fourth fastest qualifier, James Sofronas.
Peter Cunningham opened the season with some strong finishes but a twenty-second place at Detroit and a failure to start the Toronto race eliminated any hope of winning a title in 2013. At Mid-Ohio, Cunningham appeared to ‘get back on track.’ He began the weekend by qualifying fourth and finishing second. The following day he was gridded fifth. A pass on Jack Baldwin earned Cunningham the ‘Cadillac Move of the Race’ award and second place.
Alex Figge was victorious in the season opener at Saint Petersburg but he would not return to the podium until round eleven at Mid-Ohio. Figge had some decent qualifying efforts but they never translated into good results. In Saturday’s race a Mid-Ohio, he started on the pole set the fastest lap and claimed the victory. The following day, Figge repeated his performance – fastest qualifier, quickest race lap and his third win of the season.
Sunday’s Pirelli World Challenge Grand Touring podium. For the second time this weekend, Volvo driver, Alex Figge stood on the top step. On the right, driving the second K-PAX Racing prepared entry is runner-up, Randy Pobst. To the left, and earning the final position on the rostrum is the Global Motorsports Group Audi driver, James Sofronas.
The No. 10 Chevrolet Camaro was driven by Lawson Aschenbach. Aschenbach missed the weekend’s first two sessions but was able to qualify and finish third in round eleven. Changes were made to the Camaro before Sunday’s contest which appeared to work. He started third but got an excellent launch and led flag-to-flag earning the ‘Invisible Glass Clean Pass of the Race’ award. This was Aschenbach’s fifth win of the season.
Johnny O’Connell qualified fifth for Saturday’s race but made a great start and jumped to third. By the conclusion of the event, the driver of the No. 3 Cadillac CTS-V.R was second. On Sunday, the point’s leader was gridded third. Unfortunately for O’Connell, accident damage to his radiator forced him to retire on lap-15 – he was classified eleventh. This result allowed James Sofronas to close within 13-points of O’Connell.
James Sofronas entered Mid-Ohio with three wins and just one finish outside the top five. These results placed him second in the driver’s standings just thirty-six points behind the leader, Johnny O’Connell. In round eleven, Sofronas was gridded fourth but captured the final position on the podium. His efforts earned him the ‘Cadillac CTS-V Move of the Race’ award. The following day, he started and finished third which narrowed the points gap on O’Connell.
The second K-PAX Racing entry was driven by Randy Pobst. To date, the former series champion had six podium finishes which included a win at Detroit. In the weekend’s first race, Pobst was gridded second but during the event, he was passed by Johnny O’Connell and James Sofronas – Pobst was fourth at the checkered flag. On Sunday, he fared much better – starting and finishing second. This gave the K-PAX team their first – one-two finish - of the season.
To collect more manufacturer points, Cadillac entered Jordan Taylor. Taylor was leading the driver standings in the Rolex Sports Cars Series. At Mid-Ohio, he drove the No. 5 Cadillac CTS-V.R and qualified third for round eleven. During the contest, Taylor was passed by James Sofronas and his teammate, Johnny O’Connell. In the second race of the weekend, he was gridded fifth but was the second car to retire from the contest.
GTS championship leader, Jack Baldwin entered Mid-Ohio with a 133-point lead over Kia driver Mark Wilkins. In the weekend’s first event the driver of the No. 73 Motul/StopTech Porsche Cayman S started sixth and finished fourth. The following day, Baldwin was gridded fourth and grabbed the last spot on the podium. He was able to maintain first place in the title chase but lost ground to Wilkins – the pair were now separated by 87-markers.
Sunday’s Grand Touring Sport podium. On the top step is Lawson Aschenbach who recorded his fifth class win of the season. More importantly, Aschenbach reduced the point’s gap on Jack Baldwin and Mark Wilkins. Taking the runner-up spot for the second time during the weekend was RealTime principal, Peter Cunningham. The final position on the rostrum belonged to point’s leader, Jack Baldwin.

11GTAlex FiggeVolvo S6030
25GTJohnny O'ConnellCadillac CTS-V.R30
34GTJames SofronasAudi R8 LMS30
42GTRandy PobstVolvo S6030
58GTAndy PilgrimCadillac CTS-V.R30
66GTMike SkeenChevrolet Corvette30
73GTJordan TaylorCadillac CTS-V.R30
811GTAlex WelchAudi R8 LMS30
913GTFred RobertsSRT Dodge Viper Competition Coupe30
1010GTJeff CourtneyAudi R8 LMS29
1112GTBill ZieglerAudi R8 LMS29
127GTDuncan EndeAudi R829
139GTMichael CooperNissan GTRMechanical
115GTSMark WilkinsKia Optima29
217GTSPeter CunninghamAcura TSX29
316GTSLawson AschenbachChevrolet Camaro29
419GTSJack BaldwinPorsche Cayman S28
518GTSAndy LeeChevrolet Camaro28
622GTSAlec UdellFord Mustang Boss 302R28
720GTSNick EsayianAcura TSX28
823GTSLucas CataniaPorsche Cayman S28
921GTSDrew RegitzAston Martin Vantage GT428
1029GTSBrad AdamsFord Mustang Boss 302S28
1128GTSMitch LandryFord Mustang Boss 302S28
1231GTSErik DavisFord Mustang Boss 302S28
1326GTSTony GaplesChevrolet Camaro28
1430GTSRoger RodasFord Mustang Boss 302S28
1514GTSNic JonssonKia Optima27
1632GTSDon IstookAudi TT RS27
1736GTSJoseph CataniaPorsche Cayman S27
1824GTSMark KleninBMW M327
1938GTSSteve DohertyNissan 370Z27
2035GTSArdee ToppeFord Mustang Boss25
2127GTSCraig CapaldiFord Mustang Boss25
2234GTSRic BusheyNissan 370ZMechanical
2333GTSBrian KleemanNissan 370ZMechanical
2440GTSLucas OrdonezNissan 370ZMechanical
2525GTSJim TaggartLotus ExigeMechanical
2637GTSBuz McCallPorsche Cayman SMechanical
2739GTSRobert StoutScion FR-SDid Not Start

11GTAlex FiggeVolvo S6030
22GTRandy PobstVolvo S6030
33GTJames SofronasAudi R8 LMS30
47GTAndy PilgrimCadillac CTS-V.R30
58GTMike SkeenChevrolet Corvette30
66GTDuncan EndeAudi R830
79GTAlex WelchAudi R8 LMS30
810GTJeff CourtneyAudi R8 LMS30
912GTFred RobertsSRT Dodge Viper Competition Coupe29
1011GTBill ZieglerAudi R8 LMS29
114GTJohnny O'ConnellCadillac CTS-V.RAccident
125GTJordan TaylorCadillac CTS-V.RMechanical
1313GTDavid RobertsNissan GTRMechanical
116GTSLawson AschenbachChevrolet Camaro29
218GTSPeter CunninghamAcura TSX28
317GTSJack BaldwinPorsche Cayman S28
415GTSMark WilkinsKia Optima28
519GTSAndy LeeChevrolet Camaro28
620GTSNick EsayianAcura TSX28
721GTSAlec UdellFord Mustang Boss 302R28
823GTSLucas CataniaPorsche Cayman S28
924GTSDrew RegitzAston Martin Vantage GT428
1026GTSBrad AdamsFord Mustang Boss 302S28
1122GTSMark KleninBMW M328
1229GTSTony GaplesChevrolet Camaro28
1325GTSCraig CapaldiFord Mustang Boss28
1431GTSMitch LandryFord Mustang Boss 302S27
1530GTSRoger RodasFord Mustang Boss 302S27
1634GTSJoseph CataniaPorsche Cayman S27
1736GTSSteve DohertyNissan 370Z27
1835GTSBuz McCallPorsche Cayman S27
1927GTSErik DavisFord Mustang Boss 302S27
2028GTSDon IstookAudi TT RSMechanical
2133GTSArdee ToppeFord Mustang Boss18
2232GTSBrian KleemanNissan 370ZMechanical
2340GTSRobert StoutScion FR-SMechanical
2414GTSNic JonssonKia OptimaMechanical
2537GTSLucas OrdonezNissan 370ZMechanical
2638GTSJim TaggartLotus ExigeAccident
2739GTSRic BusheyNissan 370ZDid Not Start

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