RealTime Acuras to Challenge GTS
Date: March 24, 2010 14:09
RealTime Racing PR
Saukville WI — March 24, 2010
World Challenge stalwart RealTime Racing will return to the series with a pair of new-generation Acura TSXs; not to defend its 2009 Touring Car Championship, but to move up to the new GTS class.
Eight-time SCCA Pro Racing champion Peter Cunningham will lead the Acura Motorsports charge as the Wisconsin-based squad welcomes back former RTR pilot, Nick Esayian. The reunited band mates look forward to the competition in the first-year category.
“Coming into the new year we had a decision to make: Remove a number of go-fast bits and run in Touring Car, or tune up our TSXs to try and be competitive in GTS,” explained ’08 Touring Car champion Cunningham. “It’s a faster group of cars—anything from other Acuras and Lotus, all the way to big iron like Corvette and Viper.
“I can guarantee you we’re not going to outrun anyone down the straightaway, but we should have their number in the turns,” Esayian added. “We had the opportunity to test a couple of weeks ago in Texas and I can tell you it was a ball to drive one of these unleashed front-drive rockets!”
Nick spent the first four years of his World Challenge career driving for RealTime, before joining the Bimmerworld BMW effort in 2007. Now, after two years in a rear-wheel-drive Touring Car, Nick returns as a faster and more experienced driver ready to take on his teammate and all the rest.
Notably missing from the 2010 lineup is defending and five-time Touring Car Champion, Pierre Kleinubing. The challenging economy forced the team to cut back on the number of entries it will run this season—hopefully a temporary situation for the 13-year RealTime Acura veteran. The good news is he landed on his feet with a leading role on Glenn Bocchino’s i-Moto Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge effort.
The 21st season of the SCCA World Challenge Series commences this weekend, March 26-28, for a doubleheader at the Acura Sports Car Challenge of St. Petersburg. The production-based WC sports cars will share the Florida streets (but not at the same time) with the IZOD IndyCar Series.
Beyond the addition of the new category, there is other exciting news to report: Fans of the series that can’t make it to the races in person will enjoy expanded television coverage—on the Versus network.
After 11 years of great coverage on the SPEED Channel, the series now makes the move to Versus*. Fans will be able to tune in to WC coverage on weekend afternoons—often times before or after LIVE Emmy Award-winning IndyCar programming.
Versus is making quite a name for itself as an action sports leader, as the television home of the Dakar endurance rally, Tour de France bicycle classic and NHL Hockey, and is now the home of World Challenge competition. The WC races will be produced in 2010 by IMS Productions, the same people who provide the lauded coverage of the Indy racers.
Another development new this year is the increase in the number of races and the decrease in the teams’ travel schedule. How is this possible? Now, half of the eight World Challenge weekends will have one race on Saturday and a second on Sunday. Points will accumulate in each of the 12 races to determine the champions in GT, the new GTS class (GO ACURA!) and Touring Car.
The RealTime Acura team is sponsored by Acura Motorsports, Acura Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles, Red Line Oil, Eibach Springs, Sparco, Hawk Performance, Brembo, A-SPEC, BOSCH, Total Auto Body, and PACT.
*Editors note: For DirecTV customers, you may be aware that Versus suddenly disappeared from the lineup back in August of 2009, but it has recently returned and can again be found on channel 603.
UPDATE: 3/29/10 Peter Cunningham phoned me today and wanted to clarify a few things that seemed to confuse some folks.
Somebody posted in the comments something about Peter campaigning his car in Touring this season. This is incorrect. Peter is campaigning his TSX in GTS. Next, a commenter was wondering why Pierre Kleinubing had been "fired". PK was not "fired". His departure from the team was strictly business related. In the current economic environment, many of RealTime's sponsors continue to support the team, but the level of support has been scaled back across the board, and for this season the business simply could not support PK. And there was a claim by someone that the GTS class TSXs were running turbocharged engines. This is not the case. The engines are essentially identical to the normally aspirated K24s that RealTime was running in Touring last season, but in GTS they are no longer required to run with intake restrictors. Also, they are permitted to run 50lbs lighter this year (at 2750 lb with driver).
Peter was still working on the press release from this weekend at St. Pete. I don't want to spoil things too much but their first weekend went pretty well.
Last edited by JeffX on
March 29, 2010 17:20