Team wins three races, honored as "Crew of the Year"
December 24, 2003 - Saukville, Wis.
RealTime Racing driver Pierre Kleinubing and Acura ended the SCCA Speed World Challenge Touring Car Championship season in second place for Driver's and Manufacturer's Championships, respectively.
Kleinubing has finished first or second in Touring Car championship points every year since his 1997 debut with RealTime Racing. He won the championship in his rookie year, and repeated in 2000 and 2001.
The team is now enjoying a few days of well-deserved rest for the holidays before focusing on the start of the 2004 season, and a renewed quest for a fifth 'makes' title for Acura, and a fourth driving championship for Kleinubing.
In the first full season for the new Acura RSX, Kleinubing won races at Mosport, Lime Rock and Road Atlanta, was on the podium five times, and had one pole position.
The Mosport win came in only the fourth start for the RSX performance car.
The team's 2003 success was exceeded by only one other driver and manufacturer, yet it was a year when the team was sorely tested.
Long-time friend and RealTime crew chief, Jerome Zimmermann, died in a July highway accident.
Jerry was our heart and soul, Kleinubing said. The rest of the crew is an excellent group of self-starters, but you can't lose your leader so suddenly, a week before a race 2,000 miles from the team's home, and still perform as if nothing happened. Although we had a couple of bad finishes, we recovered and ended the season with a win and a second place in the last two races.
When the season ended, with their ability to tighten their circle and do what they did best, the RealTime Racing crew was named Touring Car Crew of the Year by a vote of their competitors.
Zimmermann was further honored by a new award, the Zimmermann Cup, presented by SCCA Pro Racing to an outstanding crew chief in the series. The inaugural award went to Dax Raub of 3R Racing. A replica of the award was presented to the RealTime team.
Two Californians, Kevin McKee and Zac Mazzotta, both rookies to the Touring Car Championship, joined RealTime Racing in 2003. In a second Acura RSX, Mazzotta finished 21st among more than 65 drivers who scored points during the season, with a best performance of 11th in the final two races; while McKee was 23rd in points with a top finish of 14th in one of the team's Integras. Veteran Fred Meyer also made two starts with the team, before re-retiring.
The RealTime Racing Touring Cars are sponsored by the Acura Division of American Honda, Red Line Oil, Eibach Springs, BOSCH, Sparco, Hella, Gemini Technologies, Goodridge, Brembo, Hawk Performance, and Acura Genuine Parts.