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woodym3
03-18-2009, 01:47 PM
The SCCA's Speed World Challenge series kicks off this weekend with races on Friday as preliminaries to the Sebring 12-Hour. Entires for the two classes, GT and Touring, are off substantially from last year despite rules that were to contain costs. These production-bodied cars are allowed many modications. Bimmerworld owner James Clay estimates the cost of building a competitive Touring Class BMW is five times what it was eight or so years ago.

Only 13 Touring class entries have signed up for the Sebring race. This is in stark contrast to fields of 40-50 cars (around 20 BMWs) eight years ago. The Touring cars are limited to engines of not more that 2.8-liters (smaller with forced induction). Each model is given specific rules regarding engine tuning and weight in an attempt to equalize the competition. Bimmerworld's three E90 328i (with European 2.5-liter engines) are the only BMWs. Clay, Seth Thomas, and Nick Esayian are the drivers. There are five Real Time Racing Acura TSXs, three Tri-Point Racing Mazda6s, 1 VW Jetta TDI, and one Subaru WRX.
Hopefully more cars will enter the fray as the season progresses.

The GT Class, with 25 entries, is quite a bit more interesting. The team of 2008 class champion Randy Pobst has switched from Porsche GT3s to Volvo S60s (!). His teammate will be former Cadillac CTS-V driver Andy Pilgrim. Still there will be 8 Porsche GT3s, 6 Vipers, 5 Corvettes, and one each of Lotus Exige, Pontiac GTO, Lamborghini Gallardo, and Mustang GT. Last years Cadillac and the Rahal-entered Aston-Martin are gone for now.

The two classes run separate races, and they are sprint affairs of 50-minutes each. The races will be carried on Speed TV on a delayed basis. Dates for the Sebring races have not been announced yet.

The closest World Challenge races to us will be at NJ Motorports Park (Thunderbolt) on May 1-2 as part of the Grand-Am weekend. If you're going to Oktoberfest, they will be running at Road Atlanta the Friday before O'fest starts.

woodym3
03-19-2009, 04:34 PM
Bimmerworld's Seth Thomas missed the pole position in qualifying for Friday's Touring car race by six-thousandths of a second (0.006)! The BMW 325i was only topped by the Acura of Pierre Kleinubing. The other Bimmerworld cars of Nick Esayian and James Clay were 7th and 8th.

Qualifying for the GT race saw Dino Crescentini take first with a Porsche GT3 Cup, followed by a Corvette and two more Porsches. The Volvo S60 of Randy Pobst did not get a qualifying time and has been withdrawn from the race because of "lack of teething time". The sister Volvo of Andy Pilgrim also failed to get a competitive qualifying lap, but has yet to be withdrawn from the race as of now.