BFGoodrich Tires claimed two championships and 10 podium finishes at the 50th anniversary 2013 Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) National Championship Runoffs at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisc. Chad Gilsinger (Marysville, Ohio) and Charlie James (Joplin, Mo.) earned championship titles and the chance to join BFGoodrich Tires in Baja, Mexico later this fall to compete in the Team BFGoodrich Baja Challenge car at the iconic SCORE Baja 1000.
Gilsinger sat on the pole in the Touring 3 (T3) class and drove out to a nearly eight second lead and was never threatened after the mid-point of the race. He drove his No. 07 BFGoodrich Tires/Honda Performance/H&R/BRM/Carbotech Brakes Acura TL SH-AWD to victory for his second career Runoffs title and his second title on BFGoodrich tires.
Scotty B. White (Auburn, Wash.) took his No. 3 BFGoodrich Tires/Knight Transport Ford Mustang to a strong third place finish in the T3 to give the tire manufacturer two podium spots in the class.
“BFGoodrich makes a great tire. This car is 3,500 pounds and the tires never let up. I could basically do whatever I wanted out there knowing they’d be there for me,” said Gilsinger about driving the BFGoodrich g-force™ R1™-S tires.
Gilsinger also finished on the podium with a second place finish in the Super Touring Lite (STL) class in his No. 64 Honda Civic Si.
Charlie James won his first SCCA National Championship after starting third in his No. 02 SafeRacer/BFGoodrich/Sparco/FedEx/Joe Gibbs Mini Cooper. He took the lead quickly on lap one when others in front experienced problems and he went on to win by more than two seconds.
“It feels great to be a Champion,” said James. “As a longtime SCCA member, this just feels awesome. It feels good to be here and especially for the first B-Spec podium. We were happy just to be here and support the new class.”
Joel Lipperini (Pittston, Pa.), a three-time SCCA National Champion, started fourth in his No. 81 BFGoodrich Tires/Honda/Racelabz/Hawk/RedLine Honda Fit and moved to second on the opening lap and remained there for a second place finish. The third step of the podium was filled by past Formula F national champion Tony Kester (Joliet, Ill.), also on BFGoodrich tires, driving a Mazda 2 under the Continental Mazda banner, in a car extensively repaired after a qualifying crash.
BFGoodrich Tires also filled two of the three podium positions in both Super Touring U (STU) and Touring 4 (T4). In STU, past national champion Joel Weinberger (Hinsdale, Ill.) overcame brake issues on his ex-World Challenge Audi A4 Quattro earlier in the week to climb to the second step of the podium in a race filled with changing weather conditions on the new BFGoodrich KDW™-R wet tire. Eric Heinrich (Milton, Mass.) followed across the line in third position.
T4 was no less exciting as the battle for the final two steps on the podium raged throughout the race. In the end, Lance Stewart (Miami, Fla.) edged Runoffs rookie Greg Vandersluis (New Olmsted, Ohio) for second position, both driving V6 Ford Mustangs on BFGoodrich g-force™ R1™-S tires.
“BFGoodrich is extremely proud to bring home at least one Runoffs gold medal for the sixth consecutive year. We brought a strong performing DOT R-compound tire in the g-Force™ R1™, along with engineering expertise to give our teams and drivers the best opportunity to win,” said Peter Calhoun, motorsports manager, BFGoodrich Tires. “The 2013 SCCA season saw many strong race results and the Runoffs validated the performance and durability of our tires under changing weather conditions. We were continually told that the tires were performing consistently over the full race distance, giving the drivers just as much on the final lap as the first lap. We are thrilled for our champions and podium finishers along with the solid team relationships we have forged.”
With these wins, Gilsinger and James are eligible for one of the most unique contingency programs in motorsports. As SCCA champions, they have the opportunity to compete in the toughest off-road race in North America – the SCORE Baja 1000.
The coveted seats will be in a BFGoodrich tires-equipped Wide Open Excursions Baja Challenge race car, joining Team BFGoodrich ambassadors, to defend its Baja class championship in November.
Wide Open Excursions provides "arrive and drive" seats for the SCORE Baja 1000, SCORE Baja 500 and for adventure tours. BFGoodrich tires have logged more than 4.5 million miles in Baja with Wide Open Excursions and the BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A®KO tire and BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain T/A®KM2 tire are exclusive tires for the Baja Challenge race cars. More information on the Wide Open Excursions is available at www.wideopenbaja.com.
The 2013 Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 starts on Nov. 14 in Ensenada, Mexico. BFGoodrich Tires has won the overall four-wheel title of the SCORE Baja 1000 25 of the past 27 years.
BFGoodrich Tires Podium Finishers
2. Joel Weinberger, Hinsdale, Ill., Audi A4 Quattro
3. Eric Heinrich, Milton, Mass., BMW e30 M3
2. Chad Gilsinger, Marysville, Ohio, Honda Civic Si
1. Chad Gilsinger, Marysville, Ohio, Acura TL SH-AWD
3. Scotty B White, Auburn, Wash., Ford Mustang
1. Charlie James, Joplin, Mo., Mini Cooper
2. Joel Lipperini, Pittston, Penn., Honda Fit
3. Tony Kester, Joliet, Ill., Mazda2
2. Lance Stewart, Miami, Fla., Ford Mustang V6
3. Greg Vandersluis, North Olmsted, Ohio, Ford Mustang V6