Category Archives: Pirelli World Challenge

“I Think We’ve Hit The Sweet Spot” – President Of Aston Martin Racing David King Discusses GT3 And GT4 Development. (19.08.18)

Photo: astonmartin.com

President of Aston Martin Racing David King, speaking ahead of Round Four of the FIA World Endurance Championship, has indicated that the Gaydon-based manufacturer is pleased with the reception of the new Vantage GT3 and is looking to develop the brand in the key North American market.

“We’re deep into the customer testing now and have lots of orders,” said David King. “GT3 is a very competitive market place. There are lots of good offerings from all the manufacturers but I think there’s something special about racing an Aston. It’s a competitive car and good value for money. The outgoing car, the V12, is a fan favourite but I think the new car will be very exciting. The art of developing a GT3 car is to make it useable for the gentleman driver and still suit the professional driver as well. I think we’ve hit that sweet spot.”

The recent announcements by the SRO Motorsports Group concerning the development of the World Challenge in North America has offered Aston Martin an additional platform to present its products and David King is looking to take full advantage of the opportunity, as well as explore other US-based series .

“We aren’t fully exploiting the opportunities in North America yet and it’s no secret to say we are actively seeking a partner in North America to work alongside the Prodrive AMR team to help with the distribution and support of customer cars,” said David King. “Ideally as well (to offer support) to get an IMSA programme running for us. I’m talking about an aspiration rather than a plan at the moment but, yes, we’d like to race in GTLM in IMSA. It’s a massive market and a fantastic series and we’re not there yet.”

In addition to its presence in the British GT Championship and the Blancpain GT Series, Aston Martin would like to increase its presence in other European championships but not before the new GT3 car has been proven with customer teams in its existing markets.

“It’s more important in the first year that we don’t flood the market with cars when we’re not quite ready,” said King. “We want to place GT3 cars with a few key customer teams so they can go out and demonstrate how good the car is for us and then we can sell more in the second and third year. It’s about quality rather than quantity in GT3 in the first year. We need to see some strong teams running in Blancpain Endurance and British GT. ADAC GT Masters in Germany is important – we haven’t been represented there at all for a few years so we’d like to get a strong partner team in Germany as well.”

The new Aston Martin GT4 was presented at Le Mans this year but is not quite as far advanced in development as its sister GT3 car.

“The new GT4 is in development at the moment based on the new V8 Vantage and we’re not quite doing customer drives yet but we’ll be doing so fairly soon,” said David King. “GT4 is a massive market for us and it’s a very good way to link our road-car customers to racing and as an intro to racing and track days as well. We were first in to GT4 back in 2007 when SRO launched it so we’ve seen it grow and flourish. We’ll continue to play a big part in that.”

Pirelli World Challenge And SRO Announce 2019 Plans (15.07.18)

Photo: World-Challenge.com

SRO Motorsports Group, the global leader in the organisation of GT racing, and Pirelli World Challenge have presented the format and a programme outline for the 2019 season of the highest-profile GT production-based road racing series in North America.

Stéphane Ratel, Founder and CEO of SRO Motorsports Group, and Greg Gill, President and CEO of Pirelli World Challenge have jointly announced a number of significant changes to the format of World Challenge racing, a series which has, at its heart, the amateur racer who wants to enjoy top-level sportscar racing without committing to significant time away from their families and businesses.

The GT category will adopt a new 90-minute race format with grids consisting solely of GT3 cars featuring two-driver pairings. Race weekends will be restricted to a maximum of three days.

The GTS Pirelli World Challenge will continue as a one-driver sprint competition with drivers up to Gold classification eligible to compete. Silver and Bronze drivers will enjoy separate podiums in addition to competing for outright positions.

Due to the success of the GT4 format two new regional series will be launched. The GT4 America East and America West competitions will consist of five race weekends, retaining the SprintX format for Pro-Am (Silver/ Bronze) and Am pairings (Bronze/Bronze). There will be no overall championship available.

The popular TCR class series will be expanded to seven race weekends, giving the TC categories the chance to ‘flourish with a distinctive identity and marketing.

Continue reading Pirelli World Challenge And SRO Announce 2019 Plans (15.07.18)

Vilander / R. Ferri Takes Second Pole of 2018 At Long Beach (14.04.18)

Photo: world-challenge.com (From St. Petersburg)

Toni Vilander, driving the #61 R.Ferri Motorsport Ferrari F488 GT3-R, took his second pole position of the season at the Grand Prix of Long Beach with a 1:18.436 set on his eleventh lap of 17. In a close qualifying session, joining Vilander on the front row will be the #2 CRP Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 piloted by Daniel Morad, who lapped the Californian street circuit in 1:18.642.

Completing the top three in the Pro category was the #31 TR3 Racing Ferrari F488 in which Daniel Mancinelli put in a 1:18.694 on his eighth lap.

In the AM category Yuki Harata put the #55 Dream Racing Motorsport Lamborghini Huracán GT3 on the class pole with a 1:19.157. Martin Fuentes, piloting the #07 Squadra Corsa Garage Italia Ferrari F488, went second quickest with a 1:19.183. Qualifying third in the Am category was Rodrigo Baptista in the #3 K-PAX Racing Bentley Continental GT3. Baptista set a 1:19.608 on his fifth lap of nine.

Quickest of the GTS Invitational class was the #78 Compass Racing McLaren 570S GT4 in which Paul Holton lapped in 1:25.930.

Round Three of the 2018 Pirelli World Challenge series for the GT and GTA classes takes place at 10:00 local / 18:00 BST on Sunday April 15.

Maxwell and Buford Take Debut Win For PF Racing Ford Mustang GT4 In Pirelli World Challenge GTS SprintX (24.03.18)

Photo: world-challenge.com

Scott Maxwell and, taking the car to the chequered flag, Jade Buford took the first GTS SprintX victory in the 2018 Pirelli World Challenge, driving the #55 PF Racing Ford Mustang GT4.

Second across the line in the Pro-Am category, after having taken the position in the closing seconds of the 60-minute race, was Harry Gottsacker in the #69 Racers Edge Motorsport SIN R1.

Taking the final podium position in the Pro-Am class was Michael Cooper, driving the #11 Blackdog Racing Chevrolet Camaro GT4 he shared with a much-slimmed Tony Gaples, the Libertyville, IL driver having shed some 40lbs in the off-season.

In the AM category, the victory went to the #12 Ian Lacey Racing Ginetta G55 GT4, driven by Drew Staveley with second in class going to Al Carter and Aurora Straus in the #36 ST Racing BMW M4 GT4. The German manufacturer took two podium positions after Greg Liefooghe finished third in class, driving alongside Henry Schmitt in the #88 Stephen Cameron Racing BMW M4 GT4.

The race got underway to a frustrating start after poorly timed move by Randy Mueller in the #3 Epic Motorsports BMW put Mike Hedlund in the #45 Flying Lizard Motorsports Audi R8 LMS GT4 into the pitwall and retirement. The Flying Lizard team worked hard throughout the remainder of the race to get the car back out but to no avail while Randy Mueller was called to the race officials office after the chequered flag had fallen.

The race had barely got underway after a 10-minute safety car period before there was a further coming together between the #50 Team Panoz Racing Avezzani GT4, which had spun at T1 with Matt Keegan at the wheel, and an unsighted Elias Sabo in the #8 GMG Racing McLaren 570S GT4. With carbon fibre strewn across the track, the safety car was required for another 11 minutes.

The race went green just before the pit-window opened and after the driver changes and compulsory stops had cycled through, it was the #55 PF Racing entry, now with Jade Buford at the wheel, which took the overall lead. With less than five minutes to go, a hard-charging Harry Gottsacker in the #69 entry passed Michael Cooper in the #11 Blackdog Racing entry for second place.

A mad scramble to the line in the Am category saw Al Carter in the #36 ST Racing BMW snatch second, ahead of the #88 Stephen Cameron Racing BMW M4 GT4 with Greg Liefooghe at the wheel.

Maxwell and Buford were delighted at their win.

I wasn’t really expecting a win first time out but we’ll take it. Jade had to work really hard at the end for it – I really didn’t have to do too much,” said Scott Maxwell. “This is Jade’s win and PF Racing did a really good job.”

“We earned that one for sure,” said Jade Buford. “Some cars had the outright pace on us but we just executed the perfect race. We knew that our strength was going to be consistency and we just went out and executed the best we could. Some cars have got the outright pace on us and if the cards fall differently, we’ll be a sitting duck but the Ford Performance Mustang GT4 performed flawlessly.”

Race Two for the 2018 GTS SprintX series takes place on Sunday March 25 at 10:15 local time with pole position going to the #38 ST Racing BMW M4 GT4 driven by Samantha Tan and Nick Wittmer.

Hargrove / Fuentes Take Second Wins In Incident-Filled Pirelli World Challenge GT R2 (11.03.18)

Scott Hargrove, driving the #96 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3, took his second victory of the weekend to win Round Two of the 2018 Pirelli World Challenge GT / GTA category in a race that was filled with incident and eventually red-flagged with ten minutes left to race.

Second in the GT class was the #26 Callaway Corvette C7 GT3-R driven by Daniel Keilwitz. Taking the final podium position in the GT category was Daniel Morad, driving the #2 CRP Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3

Continue reading Hargrove / Fuentes Take Second Wins In Incident-Filled Pirelli World Challenge GT R2 (11.03.18)

Hargrove / Porsche Win On GT Debut In Pirelli World Challenge (11.03.18)

Photo: world-challenge.com

Young Canadian driver Scott Hargrove, driving the #96 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R, won on his debut in the GT class of the 2018 Pirelli World Challenge, crossing the line 3.918 seconds ahead of Toni Vilander in the R. Ferri Motorsport Ferrari 488 GT3.

Taking the final podium position in the class was Daniel Morad in the #2 CRP Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3

The GTA class saw a win for Martin Fuentes in the #07 Squadra Corse Garage Italia Ferrari 488 GT3, 8.231 seconds ahead of Rodrigo Baptista in the K-PAX Racing Bentley Continental GT3. Yuki Harata rounded out the podium positions in the GTA class in the Dream Racing Motorsport Lamborghini Huracán GT3.

The opening round of the 2018 Challenge was marred with a first corner incident which saw multiple contacts. 2016 GT champion Alvaro Parente in the #9 K-Pax Racing Bentley Continental GT3, Spencer Pumpelly in the #00 TRG Aston Martin Vantage GT3 and the #19 TruSpeed Motorsports Audi R8 LMS, driven by Parker Chase, were all unable to continue following the incident.

The ensuing clearing of the track took 18 minutes during which the race was neutralised behind the safety car. At the re-start Daniel Morad in the #2 CRP Racing Mercedes took the lead ahead of Hargrove and Vilander. Hargrove, pushing hard, took the lead into T1 on lap 18.

Toni Vilander, in the #61 R. Ferri Motorsport Ferrari, kept Hargrove honest throughout the race and set a new lap record of 1:12.059 in his attempt to take the lead. Hargrove held on to the lead up to the chequered flag, however, to take his first Pirelli World Challenge victory.

Hargrove was delighted at how race unfolded.

“In qualifying I clipped the wall just enough to collapse the front suspension but my mood had done a 360,” said the Tsawasson, BC resident. “I definitely had a feeling that we could have been on pole today. I’m thrilled with the win because the car is flawless. I was able to put the laps down when I needed them and I’m pretty excited for tomorrow (the second round). I don’t think there is much of a learning curve for me because I come from a sprint racing background. It’s not the same as a lot of these guys that come from endurance racing and it’s a shock (at how aggressive it is).”

#7 a.a. 18.03.11

Photo: world-challenge.com

In the GTA class, Martin Fuentes, driving the #07 Squadra Corsa Garage Italia Ferrari F488 GT3, stood on the top step of the podium, after having started from the back of the class grid.

“I knew every start here at St Pete is hairy,” said the driver from Mexico City. “I knew I had to pay attention in the front and definitely St. Pete took its customers. I just watched, tried to find the gap, saw some crashing on the left and on the right. I saw the curve was clear and saw the other guy spinning so I just stomped on the gas to get through there and to get myself out of trouble. This is the time I’m driving (the Ferrari F488 GT3) with TR3 and I’m very excited.”

The #31 TR3 entry, driven by Daniel Mancinelli, was withdrawn ahead of qualifying following a dispute over additional ballast.

Round Two for the GT and GTA classes takes place on Sunday March 11 at 15:15 local time (20:15 GMT)