Home » How To See The Race Cars From One Of America’s Best/Strangest Series

How To See The Race Cars From One Of America’s Best/Strangest Series

Real Time Legend Ts
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We’re all familiar with the racing pedigree behind all the usual sports car suspects. Porsche 911, Chevrolet Corvette, BMW M3, Ford Mustang—these have all been raced regularly for decades, which is part of the reason why we love them so much. But what about the Oldsmobile Achieva, Pontiac Sunfire, Eagle Talon, Mk III Volkswagen Jetta, Mazda Protege, Saturn SC2, and Mercedes-Benz C230 Sport Coupe? These have all seen the checkered flag a few times as well, particularly during one of America’s best chapters of motorsports, ever: SCCA Pro Racing’s World Challenge, also commonly known as SpeedVision World Challenge and Speed World Challenge.

Later this summer, the 42nd running of the Lime Rock Historic Festival will feature a class that encapsulates WC’s best 10-year-run: 1995-2005. Pretty much all of this oddball hardware, and more, will be able to enter into what’s being dubbed Turn of the Century World Challenge.

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I’m incredibly excited, and here’s why you should be, too.

World Challenge Nissan Sentra SE-R
Nissan

Rag-Tag To the Max

If you’re not familiar with this corner of North American motorsports history, allow me to bring you up to speed. World Challenge was such an era of rag-tag touring and GT racing that the list above doesn’t quite do it justice. Not only did the weirder (or, more badass … yeah we’re going with that) stuff above duke it out in WC’s brand of sprint racing, but so many other more iconic platforms did, too: E36/E46 BMW 3 Series, Acura Integra Type R, Nissan Sentra SE-R, and more. Those were all Touring Car class entries, by the way, we can’t forget about the Cadillac CTS-V, Acura NSX, Dodge Viper, and B5 Audi S4 in the GT class.

Scca World Challenge Saturn
Saturn

That’s right, a Caddy and little four-door Audi competed in a class of traditional sports car platforms, too—the latter kicked a lot of ass.

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WC wasn’t just awesome for its variety of cars, but a variety of budgets as well. There are more than a few David and Goliath tales of smaller teams with modest budgets going up against two-to-three-car efforts with a lot of manufacturer support and cleaning up. Case in point: Import tuning shop Skunk2 drove away from an entire paddock of BMWs, Acuras, and more, in its EG Honda Civic with a hot B-Series under the hood at Laguna Seca back in 2001. And on the driver’s birthday, no less:

Some of the Best Door-To-Door Action

Unpopular opinion: We’ve been desensitized to a lack of action in motorsports, at least when it comes to watching F1 these days. Thankfully, we still have IndyCar, IMSA, NASCAR, and many other series to get our fix. What I’m getting at—besides throwing shade at F1—is the door-to-door action never stopped in WC grids. Nor did it when it changed names to Pirelli World Challenge, or even in its current iteration, SRO. Not only that, but it was a great example of front-wheel versus rear-wheel drive, which is always an entertainment modifier; which drivetrain is best suited for which track, or more specifically, each corner of each track? Let James Clay of Bimmerworld show you how gnarly the standing starts often were:

Brilliant. And check out the cars it shared the grid with: Mazda6, Acura TSX, B7 Audi A4—all stuff we enthusiasts look back on with a smile.

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Acura
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Acura

A Chance to Relive It

Lime Rock’s event might not be as wild (hopefully it is), but it’ll be great to see such a wide swath of cars from a great era on-track nonetheless. There’s no word on who’s signed up yet, but keep an eye out into the summer and hopefully the list will be filled with both oddball and world-renowned fare.

2004 Cadillac Cts V.r Race Car
Cadillac

If you’re on the East Coast this summer and inclined to gaze at a grid full of both unique and iconic variety—oddball or not—consider hitting up the 42nd Lime Rock Historic Festival.

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Parsko
Parsko
1 month ago

I will almost certainly be there, and my kid will most likely be collecting recycling cans. This is always an amazing weekend at the end of the season. Still so far away though, plenty of warmth between now and then to enjoy.

Shooting Brake
Shooting Brake
1 month ago

Very cool, wish I was close enough to make a visit practical.

Tom Herman
Tom Herman
1 month ago

When people diss front wheel drive I always think of those Acuras beating up on the BMWs. Was so disappointed when Speed got “bought out” by Nascar.

Nick Brennan
Nick Brennan
1 month ago

I hope at least one car from RealTime Acura will be at Lime Rock.

Last edited 1 month ago by Nick Brennan
Mike F.
Mike F.
1 month ago

Saw that series at Laguna Seca a couple of times, back in the day. Good racing, indeed!

Gene1969
Gene1969
1 month ago

These are fantastic. I also remember the wild and wooly SCCA mini pickup races that ran as an opener for Indy racing back in the 80’s. Great times!

Anthony Magagnoli
Anthony Magagnoli
1 month ago

Hey Peter, it’s nice to see you writing here!

Lincoln Clown CaR
Lincoln Clown CaR
1 month ago

I miss Speedvision!

Gene1969
Gene1969
1 month ago

Me too.

Limerockian
Limerockian
1 month ago

I was already going, so this announcement is just gravy on top.
See you all at the uphill.

JCat
JCat
1 month ago

When I saw LRP post this, I was in awe that I’d never heard of it before, couldn’t find any other info about it, and it definitely solidified my attendance. So happy to see an article about it.

TchmilFan
TchmilFan
1 month ago

For a nice mix, there’s always Australia’s Improved Production class.

(Many will have seen the Jordan Cox video from Bathurst/Mount Panorama, here’s the onboard https://youtu.be/WXPEJVHsi_k?si=ZqJKlCthZS7WF4wo and external https://youtu.be/N81cEqZEDVQ?si=MwHMZItgH-4fOkhP
Makes me grin every time)

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
1 month ago

Sadly, it doesn’t look like WC have any races scheduled at VIR, but that search prompted me to put a Champcar race on my calendar. Turns 3&4 are a great place to watch close action.
Thanks for the weekend content!

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter Nelson

Much appreciated 🙂

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