BHA and Barracuda hit 10,000 Twitter followers, and thank the fans

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Bryan Herta Autosport and Barracuda Racing may not be IndyCar’s biggest team, but their fan outreach and engaging is hard to beat within the IndyCar paddock.

Team PR ace Monica Hilton (who speaks twice in the above video, in front of the team garage)  joined the team just prior to the 2012 season, after developing a cult following for Simona de Silvestro’s older, heavier backup car called “Pork Chop” in 2011 when she and de Silvestro worked at HVM Racing.

Since her arrival at BHA, the team that won the 2011 Indianapolis 500 with the late Dan Wheldon has seen a surge in its social media presence and fan involvement at tracks.

BHA works in a “tweet-up” at every round of the IndyCar schedule, usually featuring someone from the BHA squad and others from the racing community. Driver Alex Tagliani is a regular.

This week, BHA hit 10,000 followers on Twitter. It may not sound like a lot, and it’s not the biggest number in the IndyCar paddock, although it is a respectable fourth.

But in thanks to all its fans, the team created a video with all its crewmembers – allowing everyday observers the insight of who the faces are behind the wrenches on the No. 98 Barracuda Honda. It also includes thanks from team co-owners Bryan Herta and Steve Newey.

And for that, we say thanks.

A rounding of IndyCar team Twitter handles and follower counts as of May 16 are below:

  • Team Penske (@PenskeRacing): 47.7K
  • Andretti Autosport (@FollowAndretti): 27.3K
  • KV Racing Technology (@KVRacing): 17.2K
  • Barracuda Racing (@BHA): 10K
  • Panther Racing: (@PantherRacing) 8.9K
  • A.J. Foyt Entrprises (@AJFoytRacing): 8K
  • Panther DRR (@PantherDRR): 7.6K
  • Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (@RLLRacing): 7.2K
  • Chip Ganassi Racing (@CGRTeams): 7.1K
  • Target Chip Ganassi Racing (@TCGRTeams): 7K
  • Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing (@SFHRIndy): 6.9K
  • Ed Carpenter Racing (@ECRIndy): 5.7K
  • Schmidt Peterson/Schmidt Hamilton: (@SPMIndyCar): 3.8K
  • Dragon Racing (@DragonRacing): 3.5K
  • Dale Coyne Racing (@DaleCoyneRacing): 2.9K

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.