MONTEREY, Calif. (Oct. 14, 2004) – Michael Galati leads Tommy Archer by just four points entering the final round of the 2004 SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge GT Championship, making it the tightest points battle since the last time the series concluded at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, in 1999.
That battle also involved an Archer in a Dodge Viper that was second heading into the finale. In October 1999, Tommy Archer’s brother Bobby was just one point behind leader Peter Kitchak, and managed to leapfrog the Porsche driver to win the title by just one point—the closest title fight in series history.
While that kind of history may not have any bearing on this year’s Championship, one can be assured that the title will go down to the wire. Additionally, should Galati’s No. 2 Certified Champion Audi RS 6 and Archer’s No. 22 c3controls/3R-Racing Dodge Viper Comp Coupe falter, Team Cadillac CTS-V drivers Andy Pilgrim and Max Angelelli both have an outside shot to bring the Drivers’ title home to General Motors.
While 1999 may teach us that luck could be on Archer’s side, statistics show that Champion Racing’s Audi team is due for a win at the 2.238-mile circuit. Since joining the series in 2000, an Audi has never won at Mazda Raceway. It is the only venue at which Audi has been shut out four-straight years. Last year, Galati and teammate Randy Pobst swept the front row, so the speed potential exists.
Rules have been the big topic all year. Cadillac came in and walloped the field at Sebring, receiving serious competition adjustments prior to Round Two at Lime Rock. Audi received negative adjustments after Rounds Two, Three and Five, which proved to be seemingly ineffective, as they recorded one-two finishes in Rounds Six and Eight. Substantial air restriction was placed on the twin-turbo cars prior to Round Nine, where they ran just outside of the top 10 all week.
Leading into this weekend’s finale, SCCA Pro Racing restored a portion of the power that was lost in the Round Nine adjustment, in hopes of finally finding competitive parity at the front.
“I think we'll be more competitive at Laguna Seca than we were at Road Atlanta,” Galati said of his run for a record-extending sixth Drivers’ Championship. “I hope for this fight we have a gun like everybody else, instead of a knife like we had at Road Atlanta. Time will tell.”
“Tim Wiens [3R-Racing Team Owner and driver] and [Team Manager] Bob Raub are true competitors; they do whatever it takes to make the cars competitive,” Archer said of his run up to the final race. “We are running against two factories, and to be fighting for the championship against the likes of Audi and Cadillac, with big factory budgets, is a testament to the 3R-Racing professionalism and drive."
In addition to the close Drivers’ Championship, an even closer battle rages for the Manufacturers’ Championship Presented by Racer Magazine. Both Audi and Cadillac have 48 points entering the finale, meaning whichever manufacturer scores more points in the finale, will be the champion. Should neither finish in the top six points-paying positions, Audi would clinch based on four wins to three.
Catch all the weekend’s SCCA SPEED World Challenge GT Championship finale action from the Audi Sports Car Championships, including Live Timing & Scoring Presented by Cadillacn on www.world-challenge.com. The race will be broadcast live on SPEED Channel Sunday Oct. 17 at 4:00 p.m. (Eastern), 1:00 p.m. (Pacific).
Link to story: http://www.scca.com/News/News.asp?Ref=184