Faster pit stops a priority for Lotus

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Lotus have admitted they need to sharpen up their game in the pits having been over a second off the best last weekend.

Race team manager Paul Seaby admitted the crew “lost our mojo a little over the Malaysia weekend”.

“On Friday our practice stops were as good as they ever have been, but from Saturday onwards we were struggling to string good stops together,” he explained.

“The switch from wet to dry conditions and subsequent front wing flap adjustments didn’t help, but even taking that into consideration it still wasn’t our best weekend.

“We have to take that on the chin, put everyone through their paces with some more practice at Enstone, and work hard to get back to where we should be and deserve to be. Similar to a football team; when we are good praise is due, and when we aren’t we need to face up to that as a unit, work hard together and get ourselves back on song.”

Lotus’s best complete pit stop during the Malaysian Grand Prix was Romain Grosjean’s on lap 25 of the race. He was in and out in 21.8 seconds – over a second slower than the quickest stop of the race, performed by Red Bull.

Kimi Raikkonen’s first visit to the pits on lap six was particularly slow, almost six seconds off the benchmark time.

However the race also demonstrated the dangers in trying to push for that last second in the pits. Force India introduced a new ‘captive wheel nut’ system designed to shave vital tenths off their stops, but a problem with securing the wheel meant they had to retire both cars.

The Callaway Corvette GT3 is coming to America, in PWC

Photo: Callaway Competition USA
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Pirelli World Challenge has been in need of some good news from a car count standpoint early into this offseason, and receives it Monday with confirmation Callaway Competition will bring its GT3-spec homologated Corvette C7 GT3-R Stateside next season.

The withdrawal of the factory Cadillac Racing program after PWC’s season finale in Sonoma in September has opened the door for the factory-blessed Corvette C7 GT3-R to run in North America, because Cadillac’s ATS-V.R has been the lone GT3-spec car under the General Motors awning for the last three seasons, while the Callaway Corvette has raced only internationally.

Reeves Callaway has been on site at the tail end of the PWC season to survey the opportunity and now a deal has been struck for a factory effort to run next year, before the Callaway Corvette program becomes a customer effort in 2019. This follows the same timeline as Acura did with its new NSX GT3 this year to run it as a factory program in 2017 before shifting to customer efforts in 2018.

“Joining the Pirelli World Challenge has been a long term objective for Callaway Competition,” Callaway said in a release. “Now the field is a roll-call of the most capable sports cars from every country. To do well here, you must beat the best in the world. What better way to showcase our iconic American car?

“For 2018, we will run a Callaway factory team to give us the best chance of continuing the championship record the Corvette has achieved in international competition. For 2019, we will not race against our customers, but provide high-quality support to them in the tradition of other manufacturer customer racing support programs.”

“For several years fans have asked when they would see the Callaway Corvette GT3 run in the Pirelli World Challenge,” added Greg Gill, President and CEO of Pirelli World Challenge. “The wait is over and we are very pleased to announce the arrival of the Callaway Corvette GT3 for the 2018 season.”

The Callaway Competition USA Corvette C7 GT3-R will be unveiled and both full season drivers announced at the Performance Racing Industry show in Indianapolis on December 7 at the Pirelli World Challenge booth. Following the unveiling event, the car will be on display for the remainder of the trade show. Details of the presentation will be announced in the coming weeks.

Callaway’s confirmation comes amidst the likely drawdown of potentially nine or 10 cars that raced in PWC’s GT and GTA ranks either all season or most of it in 2017, among at least five manufacturers. That’s not to say those losses can’t be recouped elsewhere on the grid, over the next several months before the St. Petersburg season opener in March.

PWC will hold its annual state of the series and competitor meeting to finalize the next year’s plans at the PRI show as well.