Vettel not thinking about championship permutations

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He may only need to finish the race in fifth tomorrow to secure his fourth world championship, but Sebastian Vettel is refusing to think about anything less than winning tomorrow’s Indian Grand Prix after dominating qualifying today to secure his third consecutive pole position at Buddh International Circuit.

The German driver outqualified the rest of the field by over three-quarters of a second, easing to his forty-third career pole and his eighth of the season, and he was quick to praise his car for being so suited to the track in India.

“The car felt good all weekend and it just got better as the track improved,” Vettel said. “The car was amazing; it’s a great circuit, I really like the flow of it, especially around the middle sector with the high speed corners. If the car behaves the way you want it to through that section then you’re always then going to enjoy it, as we did today.”

However, he refused to pass comment on the championship situation, suggesting that Red Bull will take a pragmatic approach to the race tomorrow and make a decision whether to push or ease off to secure the championship when the time was right.

“We have been getting a lot of questions about the championship this weekend, but we’ll keep doing what we’ve done in the past, just focusing on every single step – we won’t change that for tomorrow, or the next couple of races,” he explained. “We’ve worked hard to get here and tomorrow is a long race.”

With the tire allocation in India creating a variety of different strategies, Vettel may find himself under threat from teammate Mark Webber during the race, but so long as the German driver keeps it on track and finishes in the top five, he will be crowned world champion for a fourth time on Sunday.

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.