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SPEED World Challenge GT - Corvettes On Speed

The SCCA Speed World Challenge Series, That Is

Walt Thurn Apr 1, 2004
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Phil McClure (No. 73) qualified fourth and David Farmer (No. 35) qualified fifth for the Road Atlanta Speed GT race.

Have you ever observed a couple of super cars blasting down the highway and wondered which one is the fastest? Well thanks to the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) you can find out by watching similar cars duke it out on the racetrack. The SCCA provides exciting support races to the American Le Mans Series called SPEED World Challenge GT. It is a 10-race series that was designed to fit into one-hour time slots on the SPEED TV channel. The races have proven to be popular with viewers and car manufacturers. Essentially, this is a modified-showroom stock series for high-performance sedans and sports cars. Six makes of cars are represented in Speed GT: Audi, BMW, Corvette, Mustang, Porsche, and Viper. The SCCA tries to regulate each makes' performance by changing weight and tire sizes to keep competition equal.

Three makes, Audi, BMW, and Porsche pour thousands of dollars into this series because a win on Sunday sells cars on Monday. It's not surprising to find one these three makes in the winner circle.

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Phil McClure (left) stands beside GM engineer Gib Hufsteader on the grid at Atlanta. Gib has an excellent working relationship with the Speed Corvette teams.

The exception is Phil McClure and his very quick Corvette. Phil has won two races in 2003 and has five top-five finishes to his credit. Phil's performance earned him third place in the 2003 Speed Driver's Championship. This was in spite of Phil experiencing a dreadful crash at Road America, which destroyed his car and gave him a concussion. His team built him a brand-new car for Atlanta, and this was his first race since being cleared by his doctors to return racing. Round nine was held at Road Atlanta and six Corvettes were among the 27 starters. McClure qualified fourth fastest behind a Porsche, an Audi, and a BMW. David Farmer set the fifth fastest time in his '01 ZO6. David has seven top-ten finishes and is seventh in the 2003 Driver's Championship.

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David Farmer is strapped in and ready to race. David bought this 2001 Z06 new, and he removed the passenger seat and carpet, installed a roll cage, and went racing. He finished tenth at his first race in Sebring! The steering wheel and shifter are remnants of the stock Z06 interior.

Corvette does not have a factory Speed Corvette team, but they do provide engineering support to private Corvette racers. Retired GM engineer Gib Hufsteader has been hired by Corvette to provide this assistance. Gib is a legend in the racing community. He is a member of the National Corvette Museum Hall of Fame and worked with Zora Duntov. He has provided engineering expertise to Corvette race teams throughout his long career. Gib also drove L-88s in competition and still vintage races his L-88-powered '66 roadster. This experience makes him an excellent consultant for the SPEED Corvette race teams. Team VETTE saw Gib hard at work in the Atlanta. It is always good to see this Corvette legend still involved with our favorite cars.

Race day dawned cool and cloudy. A light rain fell before the race, which made the track damp. Audi jumped into the lead at the green flag and kept that position to the checkered flag. Phil McClure ran upfront throughout the race and held on to finish fourth. David Farmer also ran up front and finished a fine sixth overall. Two Corvettes finished in the top 20 and two did not finish the race. This is a very competitive series,and it is good to see privateers run up front against the big money teams. We look forward to seeing Corvettes take up the battle next year. If you get a chance go watch a Speed GT race live, we highly recommend you to go for it.



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