2006 SPEED Touring Car Champions Pierre Kleinubing (Weber image).
Series announcer Tom Hnatiw
emceed the evening, which recognized exceptional on and off-track performances
in the 2006 season and was highlighted by the presentation of the SCCA SPEED GT
and Touring Car Drivers' and Manufacturers" Championship trophies.
Pierre Kleinubing (No. 42 Acura Certified
Pre-Owned/RealTime Racing Acura TSX) earned his fourth SPEED World Challenge Touring
Car Drivers’ Championship and $94,200 in prize money and contingencies with a total
of 286 points, 19 points ahead of Randy Pobst. Over the course of the 10-race
season, Kleinubing banked seven podiums, including back-to-back wins at
Infineon and Miller
His streak of six-straight podium finishes came to an end at Road America, where
the 4-mile beast restrained him to eighth. Kleinubing finished the season
strong with a third at Mosport and fourth place finishes at Road Atlanta and
Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Winner of four-consecutive poles in 2006 (Mid-Ohio,
Infineon, Miller Motorsports
Park, Denver), Kleinubing surpassed teammate Peter
Cunningham on the fastest-qualifier list with 30 career-poles.
Lawson Aschenbach (No. 66
AXA Financial Porsche 911 GT3) wrote a new chapter in SPEED GT history in 2006,
becoming the first driver to win the Drivers’ Championship in his rookie
season. Aschenbach secured his first title by finishing every round in the top
ten, including a win at St. Petersburg and
runner-up finishes at Mid-Ohio and Road America. Amassing 231 points over the
10-race season, six points ahead of Lou Gigliotti and Andy Pilgrim, Aschenbach
earned himself $68,000 in prize money and contingencies and takes home the
Piloti SPEED GT Rookie of the Year award as well.
| 2006 SPEED GT Champion Lawson Aschenbach and team owner Jon Groom (Weber image).
It was a battle all the way
to the checkered flag at Laguna Seca for the SPEED GT Manufacturers’
Championship presented by Racer. After coming so close in 2005, Porsche
finished 2006 on top, 59-56, ahead of Dodge. In 2006, Porsche captured three
wins and nary a finish outside the top five to claim the Championship.
Following Dodge in the final standings were Cadillac (55) and Chevrolet (39).
The SPEED Touring Car
Manufacturers’ Championship Presented by Racer was settled in Round Nine at
Road Atlanta. Acura clinched its sixth title and remains tied with Porsche for the
most series Manufacturer Championships. The 75 points accrued by Acura, 14 over
Mazda (61), were the result of four wins from drivers Pierre Kleinubing, Eric
Curran and Brandon Davis, and pushed Acura past Chevrolet for manufacturer
class victories (62-61). Audi was third in the final standings with 40 points,
followed by BMW (11) and Dodge (5).
Jeff Courtney (No. 99 MPI
Coin/Karavan Trailer/Kenda Audi A4) was named the Piloti SPEED Touring Car
Rookie of the Year. With four top 10 finishes, including a career-best fourth
at Mid-Ohio, Courtney earned 140 points in 2006 and finished 10th
the final standings.
The Sunoco Hard Charger of
the Year award is given to the driver that advances the most race positions
over the course of the season. In 2006 the award went to Brett Pearson in the
GT class for advancing 47 positions throughout the year, and to Mary Katharine
in the Touring Car class for advancing 70 positions.
| 2006 SPEED World Challenge Crews of the Year: Woodhouse Racing (GT) and 3R-Racing (TC) (Weber image).
When the lights go out, the
drivers and cars take center stage, but the awards banquet was also a time to
honor those individuals in the SPEED World Challenge paddock who are just as
important to the success of the series.
The Jim Cook Award is the
highest non-competition honor in SPEED World Challenge and is presented to the person
or group whose contributions to the series have been imperative to its success.
This year, Dave Spitzer, of Team Cadillac, was chosen to receive the award for
his efforts to unite the team principals and create a focused vision for the
future of the series.
Louis Gigliotti Jr., crew
chief to father Lou Gigliotti, was awarded the Zimmerman Cup for displaying a
commitment to his team and an aptitude for racing beyond his years while still
a student at Purdue.
An award voted on by the
SPEED World Challenge teams, the Crew of the Year awards went to Woodhouse
Racing (GT) and 3R-Racing (TC).
Log on to www.world-challenge.com for news
about the 2007 season.