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The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
 |  Jun 25 2012, 7:31 AM

This past Saturday Kia had reason to celebrate as it captured its first victory in the SCCA World Challenge GTS class. But the team had no reason to be complacent, and went on to sweep the weekend, capturing its second win in a row.

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 |  Apr 15 2011, 10:06 AM

The Dodge Viper ACR does it again. On Monday, April 11, Kuno Wittmer drove a production spec ACR to a new lap record at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah; in the process breaking the 2-minute mark for the very first time.

Running on Miller’s 3.048 mile outer course; Wittmer crossed the finish line in just 1 minute 59.995 seconds; pulverizing the previous lap record set by Jan Magnussen in a Corvette ZR1 (Magnussen’s best was 2.03.86 – almost a full four seconds slower!).

Although having already spent much time driving Viper ACRs; Montreal native Wittmer continues to be impressed by the car’s capability. After his record-setting escapade, he remarked, “the [Viper ACR] is such a blast to drive at the limit and I can honestly say I didn’t leave an inch out there on the track and was barely braking in the corners!”

Wittmer’s latest record, joins a growing list of accomplishments for the Viper ACR, which so far include track records at Laguna Seca and the infamous Nurburgring Nordschleife (since surpassed), where Dutch driver Tom Coronel piloted one to a lap time of just 7 minutes 22 seconds!

 |  Jan 31 2011, 3:39 PM


After bringing you pictures of the Cadillac CTS-V Race Car tearing up Sebring Raceway in Florida, we finally have some video to show you. The images are cool, but what you’re really after is the noise from the LSA V8 engine at full blast, sans catalytic converters or mufflers.

In case the 60 second video isn’t enough small-block V8 for you, the car makes its race debut at the World Challenge GT opener on March 25th. We’ll be watching.

Hit the jump to see the video

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 |  Sep 13 2010, 2:48 PM


Earlier this year, we heard word that RealTime Racing would be making the jump to the World Challenge GTS class. And just like that, in what was supposed to be a much more competitive class with even faster cars, RealTime driver and company owner Peter Cunningham has maneuvered his No. 43 RTR Acura TSX all the way to the top yet again. This is Cunningham’s sixth drivers’ championship making him the most decorated driver in World Challenge.

And yes, there is still one event left in the World Challenge Series for the year, but Cunningham and RealTime Racing have been so successful in the GTS class that they can now simply just have some fun in the finale and not have to worry about losing the championship. Cunningham also managed to turn in the fastest GTS lap of the day with a time of 2:09.907 and now has 40 career wins.

So what lies ahead for Cunningham and his RealTime Racing team? We’re not sure, but we’re hoping they find a way to make it even more challenging for the competition and showing off just how refined their racing program truly is.

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 |  Aug 10 2009, 11:04 AM


After a consistent season with five trips to the podium in six races, Huntington Beach, California native Brandon Davis finally took the checked flag this past weekend at Mid-Ohio in his Applied Computer Solutions/Sun Microsystems Ford Mustang Cobra.

Davis started from pole and had excellent competition from the K-PAX Racing Volvo S60 driven by Andy Pilgrim, until lap 17 when Pilgrim’s car suffered mechanical issues.

“I think Andy [Pilgrim] would have been tough, had he stayed around,” said Davis. “Getting out front, I was able to breathe a little bit and just run laps. When I saw that Andy dropped out, I was able to conserve tires a little bit.”

“After being so close for so long, it feels great to finally win this year. We’ve been on the pole but in the races, we just didn’t have the pace to win. So it feels pretty good.”

Rounding out the podium was Tony Rivera, of Missouri City, Texas, and James Sofronas, of Newport Beach, Calif, both driving Porsche 911 GT3s.

The win for Davis further solidifies his lead in the Drivers’ Championship with 733 points, leading Safronas with 656.

Full race results after the jump:

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 |  Jun 23 2009, 1:29 PM


The Corvettes, Porsches and Vipers that compete in the SPEED World Challenge GT series are about to get some serious competition from a serious car – the Mercedes McLaren SLR 722 GT. The car was homolgated to World Challenge specs by The Racers Group (TRG) and our sources at the series tell us it will first see competition at the Autobahn County Club outside Chicago on July 24-26th.

Designed specifically to run it a spec series in Europe, the 722 GT is powered by a modified version of the supercharged 5.5-liter V8 and makes 680hp and 612 ft-lbs of torque. It also only weighs 3,200 lbs, meaning it can accelerate to 60 mph in just 3.3 seconds. Thanks to some serious aerodynamics and a significantly lowered ride height, the 722 GT is also capable of hitting 2 Gs in the corners.

No doubt the SCCA (the governing body for World Challenge) will level the playing field, forcing the SLR to either add weight or reduce horsepower… or probably both.

TRG Motorsports should still put on quite a show with the SLR as the team has plenty of racing experience, running cars in the Grand-Am Koni Challenge as well as in the Grand-Am Rolex Series. In 2005 and 2006 TRG competed with a Pontiac GTO.R team in the Grand-Am Rolex Series GT class, and has since been involved with a two-car Porsche effort in the GT Class.

See the Speed World Challenge series website for more info:

Follow the jump for all the specs on the McLaren SLR 722 GT

[Source: TheRacersGroup]

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Mazda Tops Podium in New Jersey

Jason Saini races his Mazda6 to victory at New Jersey Motorsports Park's Thunderbolt Raceway

 |  May 04 2009, 2:02 PM


Jason Saini raced to the top of the podium in his Mazda6 this weekend, during the SCCA’s SPEED World Challenge Touring Car series event at New Jersey Motorsports Park’s Thunderbolt Raceway. Saini placed third in qualifying but quickly made it to second place off the standing start, and spent much of the rest of the race fender to fender with defending series champion Peter Cunningham in his RealTime Racing TSX.

Saini passed Cunningham on the third lap but only secured some distance when Cunningham got tied up defending his position from Andrew Aquilante in the Phoenix Performance Inc. Subaru WRX.

When the checkered flag flew, however, Saini had secured an almost three second advantage after Cunningham, giving him not only the race victory but also the lead in the points race.

“I raced with Peter a couple of times last year. We had some side-by-side battles. He came out on top last year. This time, I came out on top. It is a dream come true to race with a guy like Peter,” said Saini. “I looked at where his strengths and weaknesses were and tried to push him. I tried to stick the nose in every once and a while to see. I just had a bit of a stronger car at that point and I was able to get down on the inside. I tried one time. I didn’t make it stick. I tried again and it did.”

As for the third-place Aquilante, he managed the last podium spot in just his third World Challenge race. Initially much of the credit can be handed to Subaru’s all-wheel drive system, which allowed Aquilante to race from a standing-start grid position of 8th to 3rd overall in just one lap.

“The start was good,” Aquilante said. “It was kind of wild the first couple of laps, with Jason and P.D. going back and forth. Jason got around him and things settled in single file. Then, about halfway through the race, I started to try to pick it up and the tires started to go away.”

“I finally caught up to them. I had a few runs at Peter down the front straightaway. We went side-by-side. He knew what I was going to do, so he protected the inside well. There were a couple of times he let me on the inside, but I couldn’t quite make it stick. I tried not to run him off the road. It was a good race.”

Finishing out the top five were Cunningham’s teammates Kuno Wittmer in 4th and Pierre Kleinubing in 5th.

As for the points race, as mentioned, with the win Saini takes the lead, with Kleinubing in 2nd and Seth Thomas in 3rd with his BMW 328i.

The race will be broadcast on SPEED Chanel Friday, May 22 at 2 p.m.. The next race is scheduled for Mosport International Raceway on May 16th and 17th

[Photo Credit: Mark Weber/SCCA]

Complete race results after the jump:

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 |  Apr 03 2009, 9:44 AM


[Credit: Mark Weber, World-Challenge]

DP7 Racing, the team behind the lone Lamborghini Gallardo in the SPEED World Challenge GT series has just hired on World Challenge veteran Chip Herr to pilot the exotic racer for the remainder of the season.

Former NFL quarterback Dan Pastorini, who was scheduled to pilot the car for the season, will stay on as a part of the DP7 Racing team. The DP7 Gallardo did not compete in the first race of the season at Sebring, however, the team had intended to run the car but after a dismal showing during the practice sessions (with the slowest tie in the field) the Lambo never even made it to qualifying.

“After Sebring, I felt we needed someone with experience that can give the necessary information to the crew in order to maximize the performance of the DP7 Gallardo GTR,” said Pastorini. “I had a chance to visit with many drivers, but Chip is a special individual with all the ingredients to accomplish what team owner Betty Johnston and I wanted and that’s to make this program successful.”

Herr, being a big football fan was eager to accept. “NFL Football has been a huge part of my life,” Herr said. “But I weigh 135 pounds and I’m 5’5″. I was going to have to find another sport to try and become a professional.”

“To be asked to work with Dan Pastorini and the DP7 crew is a dream come true for me. Yes, DP7 is an excellent organization and the Lamborghini is a great car, but holy smoke, Dan Pastorini wants ME to drive HIS car!”

Last year Herr was featured as “One of the Dynamic Dozen in North America, by Grass Roots Motorsports magazine, which said he was a driver to watch in the coming years. He has 11 years of racing experience with a great deal of time in the World Challenge Touring Car series, having earned six poles and topping the podium six times.

Herr is also signed on this year to race in the Touring Car series in the Mazda6 of Tindol Motorsports.

The DP7 Racing team is hoping that with a marketable young driver with “rockstar good looks” the team can secure sponsorship. The car is already a great marketing platform as, “Nothing looks better on the track or generates more interest and excitement than our Gallardo GTR,” says Pastorini.

“There is one driving force behind any race team and that’s sponsorship, without it you simply cannot succeed,” said Pastorini. “The addition of Chip will allow me more time to focus on securing the necessary sponsorship for our program. We have all the ingredients of a winning team and the addition of Chip will only make our presence stronger when we come to Long Beach.

The second race of the World Challenge season takes place this Sunday, April 5th at Long Beach.


 |  Mar 20 2009, 2:48 PM


Seth Thomas, piloting the No. 38 BimmerWorld/GearWrench BMW 328i, jumped into the lead off the standing start during the first race of the 2009 World Challenge Touring Car series and never looked back.

With a qualifying run that landed him in 2nd, Thomas used the BMW’s rear-drive advantage to get a quick lead on pole-sitter Pierre Kleinubing in the front-drive RealTime Acura TSX and after just three laps had put just over a second between the two cars.

“I didn’t expect that kind of advantage going into Turn One,” Thomas said. “The BMWs have rear-wheel drive and they launch really well off the start. Pierre [Kleinubing] has a lot of experience starting up there and I expected him to be tough and get a little better launch. The way it worked out, I went into the brake zone for Turn One and looked in the mirror and saw the gap. I just thought ‘just maintain that and see what we can do.’”

Kleinubing and RealTime teammate Kuno Wittmer attempted to chase Thomas down, but after Whitmer retired due to mechanical problems, the race belonged to the Bimmerworld team, taking the podium 2.563 seconds ahead of the RealTime Acura.

“I’ve been coming here for many years,” Thomas said. “I always had good success at Sebring in the BMW Club stuff I did. Then we came to World Challenge and things went a little haywire. After last year, it’s definitely redemption here. Last year, we should have started on the pole but a technical infraction got us in trouble and we had to start from the back. I felt like this year was going to be the year.

“I keep telling everybody, there’s no words that can describe winning. It’s the best feeling. We’ve worked so hard to get here and it’s finally happened.”

Kleinubing admitted he pretty much lost the race right at the beginning thanks to an overly eager right foot.

“Halfway through first gear I spun the tires pretty badly on the big painted stripe and lost a little bit there from first to second. [Thomas] pulled a huge gap at that point. Every time I’d get a little closer, he seemed to answer and pull it back out. I just did what I could and finished second.”

Kleinubing states that he was eager to get to the next race where he will pilot a brand new TSX. At Sebring, only RealTime owner/racer and defending series champ Peter Cunningham had one of the new TSXs on the track and finished in 9th place after loosing body work in an incedent.

The final podium spot belonged to Jason Saini in the No. 74 MAZDASPEED/Stoptech/Racinghart Mazda6, who was fastest in round one of qualifying and who posted the 5th fastest qualifying time. Saini moved in to 4th after teammate Charles Espenlaub pulled into the pits with a throttle issue on one of the warm-up laps. He gave up that position to another Mazda6 driven by Chip Herr, and then gained it back when Herr’s engine let go.
“To get on the podium after all it took to get here is just great,” said Saini. “I give all the credit to Mazda and Tri-Point for making this all happen as well as some personal sponsors to make this race possible. Hopefully, we can take these results and move them forward to the rest of the season.”

Round Two of the SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge Touring Car Championship is scheduled for May 1 – 3, at Thunderbolt Raceway in Millville, N.J.

Complete race results after the jump:

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 |  Feb 23 2009, 12:23 PM
Caption/Credit: Larry Miller Leans on a Ford Mustang at the Miller Motorsports Park (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret Morning News)

While Larry H. Miller might be better known as the owner of the Utah Jazz Basketball organization, auto aficionados know him for creating the Miller Motorsports Park. Miller died on Friday due to complications due to diabetes.

Miller was more than just a business owner, however; he was an active member of his community. He donated millions of dollars to build a 20 acre Salt Lake Community College campus, he taught several masters of business administration classes at Brigham Young University, and gave money to establish a police officer training center. Some estimates put his donations at well over $100 million.

Miller was a self-made man, who created the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies from his auto-parts business and one Toyota dealership which he opened in the late 1970s. Miller expanded his auto empire to include more than 40 dealerships. From there he ownered and operated several movie theaters as well as local radio and TV stations and even the Jordan Commons, a retail, entertainment and office complex.

As mentioned, he is best known for owning the Utah Jazz, although he also owned the Salt Lake Bees, a minor league baseball team.

The Miller Motorsport Park, located in Tooele, Utah, is a 23-turn 4.5-mile road course. Originally a $5 million project to be used as a playground by Miller, the project quickly became an enormous undertaking with a cost of $85 million. The track opened in 2005 and now plays host to the American Le  Mans Series, Grand Am Series, SPEED World Challenge Series and the AMA Superbike series. It also hosts certain NASCAR series races and is home to the Ford Racing High Performance Driving School. In 2006 it was named Motorsports Facility of the Year by the Professional Motorsport World Expo in Cologne, Germany.

The Larry H. Miller Group of Companies is one of the 150 largest privately held corporations in the United States with more than 7,000 employees in six states with an annual revenue of $3 billion.

“Larry was not only one of the finest auto dealers in the country, he was also one of the finest humanitarians,” said Iowan John McEleney, chairman of the National Automobile Dealers Association. “In fact, it would be hard to find a finer human being. When it came to helping others, Larry set the standard.”

[Source: Salt Lake Tribute]

See a tour of the Miller Motorsprots Park Museum by our friends at Garage419 after the jump:

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