Former F1 driver Kubica ready for full WRC season

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Former Formula One driver Robert Kubica is all set to enter his first full season in the World Rally Championship following a good off-season in which he has impressed team managing director Malcolm Wilson by being as dedicated and determined as ever.

Kubica made his F1 debut in 2006 and won one race with BMW in 2008 before moving to Renault for the 2010 season. After a single year with the Enstone-based team though, he suffered severe injuries whilst rallying that ended his F1 career. However, over the past few years, he has showed enormous resolve and determination to get back racing and win the WRC2 championship in 2013. For 2014, he will race with M-Sport in the World Rally Championship, and Wilson is delighted to have secured the Pole’s services.

“To be fair we were in the same situation about a month ago when we were really trying to get him into one of our cars then,” Wilson explained. “He then decided to take a different direction but ever since then we’ve always felt we wanted to get him into one of our cars. Again it was a very last minute decision but as you can imagine I’m delighted by the fact that we’ve got Robert. Already last weekend he made a great start to the season.”

Kubica won the opening round of the European Rally Championship, the Janner Rally in Austria, with relative ease, and he is now preparing to race at the Monte Carlo rally next weekend. Despite being in single seaters for most of his career and suffering a bad injury to his right hand, Wilson explained how Kubica has taken to rallying like a duck to water.

“He actually visited M-Sport about four years ago even before he had his accident,” Wilson said. “He’s always been very interested in our rallying. He’s got a really good understanding of the sport. But I think the thing that’s really shocked me is the amount of dedication and commitment that he puts into it.

“Just as an example, because of his restrictions with his arm, he’s been in the workshop, he was there until eleven o’clock two nights running with the engineers and designers trying to reconfigure the handbrake and the gear shaft mechanism. For Rally GB, he actually made his pace notes from video footage, which is something that doesn’t really happen.”

Kubica’s determination and dedication is still ever-present in his rallying, and he will be looking to take the fight to the more established rally drivers in 2014 with M-Sport. The Pole may never return to Formula One, but he has certainly found a new home in the World Rally Championship with the British team.

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.