A New GT-3 Challenge Champion

A new GT-3 Challenge champion has been crowned, but not a new champion.

After the five regular season events in the 2021 GT-3 Challenge presented by MPI and the SCCA Runoffs National Championships, we have our third GT-3 Challenge champion crowned in three years.

Entering the final event – held at the SCCA National Championship Runoffs at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway – 14 racers were within 40 points. Taz Harvey (Danville, CA) and his Mazda RX-7 was out front, closely followed by the reigning GT-3 Challenge champion Paul Young (Commerce Township, MI) in his Honda Civic, Michael Lewis (Poway, CA) in his Mazda RX-7, Ken Nelson (Novi, MI) in his Nissan 200SX, and Michael Heintzman (San Jose, CA) in his Mazda Miata. 13 points separated the top 5.

Based on how the Challenge points are structured – the SCCA Runoffs carries a 4X points multiplier (100 points for the Runoffs champ; 84 to second; 72 to third, etc.) – any of the 14 racers could have claimed the overall championship and with it, the grand prize of working with Max Papis, 2X winner of the Daytona 24 Hour and IndyCar winner.

While Troy Ermish from Tracy, CA drove a spectacular race to take the Runoffs win, it was 2X Le Mans competitor and 10X Runoffs champion Michael Lewis that took home the GT-3 Challenge championship with his second place Runoffs finish.

Just behind Lewis at Indy, Stacy Wilson (Englewood, TN), son and rising star Blake Wilson (Dacatur, TN), and Bill McGavic (Arcadia, FL) each drove his Mazda RX-7s to a top 5 finish, completing strong seasons within the top 8 of the overall GT-3 Challenge standings.

Among the 25 GT-3 Challenge competitors, 17 piloted a Mazda.

GT-3 Challenge presented by MPI
2022 Final Point Standings
Final Pos. Points Based on Best 4 Challenge Regular Season Races + Runoffs Driver Name Make/Model Hometown
1 158 Michael Lewis Mazda RX-7 Poway, CA
2 131 Ken Nelson Nissan 200SX Novi, MI
3 127 Troy Ermish Nissan 350Z Tracy, CA
4 121 Paul Young Honda Civic Commerce Township, MI
5 118 Taz Harvey Mazda RX-7 Danville, CA
6 105 Stacy Wilson Mazda RX-7 Englewood, TN
7 102 Blake Wilson Mazda RX-7 Decatur, TN
8 96 Bill McGavic Mazda RX-7 Acadia, FL
9 94 John Mills Mazda Miata Fostoria, OH
10 82 Joe Carr Mazda Miata Petaluma, CA
10 81 Dave Dobry Eagle Talon Plymouth, IL
10 69 Michael Heintzman Mazda Miata San Jose, CA
13 66 Wolfgang Maike Toyota Paseo Santa Barbara, CA
14 64 Bryan Floyd Mazda RX-7 Clarion, PA
15 60 Jose Rodriguez Mazda RX-7 San Leandro, CA
16 57 Scott Graham Mazda RX-7 Irvine, CA
17 50 Rob Warcocki Mazda RX-7 Frankfort, IL
17 46 Tony Ave Nissan 240 SX Maiden, NC
19 46 Jeff Dernehl Mazda RX-7 Roswell, GA
19 46 Christopher Howard Mazda Miata Holliston, MA
21 44 Larry Hansen Nissan 350Z Redding, CA
22 42 George Cichon Mazda RX-7 Caledonia, IL
23 40 Luis Rivera Mazda RX-7 Angleton, TX
24 28 Robert Stratos Acura RXS Broward, FL
25 18 Mike Henderson Mazda RX-7 Alpine, CA


2021 GT-3 Challenge presented by MPI Race Schedule (SCCA U.S. Majors or Hoosier Super Tour Events):
Event 1: Feb 19-21, Buttonwillow Raceway Park
Event 2: March 19-21, Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta
Event 3: April 30-May 2, Pittsburgh International Race Complex
Event 4: May 1-2, Buttonwillow Raceway Park (Change of course layout)
Event 5: July 11-12, Road America (CAT Nationals)
Event 6: Sept 25-Oct 3, Indianapolis Motor Speedway (SCCA National Championship Runoffs)




Prizes & Awards

Paul, Taz, Michael or another talented GT-3 racer will earn the GT-3 Challenge grand prize – a day of coaching from Max Papis, IndyCar and Daytona 24 Hour winner. If a Mazda claims the overall GT-3 Challenge championship, the racer will also earn parts support valued at $1,500 from Mazda. If that racer is the Runoffs champion as well, he would earn an additional $4,000 payout as part of the standard Mazda Runoffs champion’s purse.

To help support the culmination to the exciting GT-3 action, Mazda created a tow fund to help the top 10 regular season racers based on Challenge points tow to the Runoffs. With a three-way tie for 10th place, 12 racers (regardless of Make) have earned this tow fund that can be collected post-Runoffs event. And of course, with the regular season bonus payouts from Mazda, and the partner contribution from AiM Sports, Penske Racing Shocks, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co, and Hoosier Racing Tires, the GT-3 Challenge presented by MPI racers have received special support to help further encourage the great racing participation.