2016 Pirelli World Challenge Season Opens With Over 100 Entries
The Pirelli World Challenge series is set to raise the level of high performance racing in North America even higher in 2016, with the official season opening this weekend at Circuit of the Americas.
Pirelli will introduce a new specification slick to the GT category which marks an exciting change for North American racing by aligning it to the same specification used globally at the Blancpain GT Series (Endurance and Sprint Cups), British GT Championship, ADAC GT Master, GT Italiano, GT Sports Club and Macao FIA GT Championship. This same specification was recently used at Bathurst where a Pirelli shod McLaren won the overall position and set the lap record over a field of strong competitors.
“We’re excited about the Pirelli World Challenge 2016 season, especially with the introduction of the new specification. It demonstrates the commitment we have to our commercial motorsport programs and that we are truly working as a team globally to provide the best product to our partners and competitors. There is no doubt we are continuing to help grow the series into the best high performance motorsports racing possible in North America, through our unrivalled motorsports DNA, premium tire technology and close partnership with teams and PWC as a whole,” said Rafael Navarro, Senior VP of Media Relations, Motorsport & Prestige Activation for Pirelli Tire North America.
“The Pirelli World Challenge is at the very heart of our brand and what we are about as a company: the enjoyment of driving the world’s most prestigious cars, at some of the best-known circuits in motorsport. The tire technology that we use in the Pirelli World Challenge is derived from that seen in Formula 1, underlining Pirelli’s unique status as the world leader in Ultra High Performance products. On a personal note, I have great memories of the Circuit of the Americas from the many visits I’ve made there. Last year’s Formula 1 race there was probably the most thrilling of the season and there’s no doubt that the Pirelli World Challenge action this weekend will be just as spectacular,” adds Paul Hembery, Pirelli Motorsport Director.
This year the Pirelli World Challenge (PWC), headed by new President and CEO Greg Gill, will offer its ever growing fanbase exciting changes in the way of a new category, the Sprint-X Championship (extended sprint race format featuring one hour races with two drivers per car and mandatory pit stops) and new team inclusions/updates; notably DIME Racing running one Mercedes AMG GT3, GMG Racing’s entry of a brand new Porsche 911 GT3 R in the GT class, Nissan’s anticipated return with two factory backed Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 and James Davison and Byran Heitkotter to pilot Always Evolving/AIM Autosport. McLaren also has four entries this year, with three in K-PAX (Alvaro Parente, 2015 GT Champion Colin Thompson and 17-year-old Austin Cindric) and four-time driving champion Jon Fogarty in the GAINSCO Car.
Driving stars to watch this season include four-time GT champion Johnny O’Connell, who will return in a new Velocity Red Cadillac alongside new teammate and GTS champion Michael Cooper. Patrick Long (2011 GT Champion) also returns in the EFFORT Porsche with young star Michael Lewis as a teammate.