Ricciardo excited to start from seventh

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Daniel Ricciardo is looking forward to tomorrow’s Chinese Grand Prix following a strong showing in qualifying which saw the Australian driver finish in 7th place.

“It’s nice to be in Q3,” Ricciardo said in a team statement. “It’s the first time since Bahrain [where he qualified 6th] last year that I’ve made it to the top ten, so that’s nearly a whole year.

“I am definitely looking forward to having a strong race tomorrow and will give it all I’ve got to make the most of this seventh place on the grid.”

Ricciardo endured a nightmare at the 2012 Bahrain Grand Prix, dropping from 6th to 16th off the line, but he is relishing the chance of scoring points in tomorrow’s race.

“I think it will be an exciting race. This result will boost everyone’s spirits, and mine as well and I really can’t wait for the lights to go out tomorrow. The guys have been working so hard back at the factory and they’ve made the car quicker, so well done to everyone.”

The result does mark a big step forward for Scuderia Toro Rosso following a mediocre start to the season, and Ricciardo will be keen on impressing to put himself in the running for Mark Webber’s seat at Red Bull next season should his compatriot not renew his contract.

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.