Button has faith in Haas Formula and second US GP

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2009 world champion Jenson Button has lent his support to Gene Haas’ proposed Formula 1 team, saying that it would be great to see an American team on the grid in the next two years as well as a second grand prix in the United States.

The FIA confirmed last week that Haas had been granted a spot on the grid for 2015, and the NASCAR team co-owner revealed his plans for “Haas Formula” in a press conference earlier this week. Relying that everything goes to plan, Button is confident that it would be huge for the sport in the United States.

“If it happens it is great,” he said when talking to NBCSN. “Having a race in Austin has helped getting a good fan base in the United States, although it still needs to be bigger, and this is why it would be good to have another grand prix in the US elsewhere.

“Having an American F1 team would also definitely help the fan base to grow.”

Button does believe that the logistical challenge of running an F1 team from the United States will be tough, but he has faith in Haas and his team to make it work.

“It is a brave move, and if anyone can do it, he definitely can,” the Briton said. “It will be a tough one though, especially if you are basing yourself in the USA, as I guess he will also employ people from Europe and the UK. There is for sure a different lifestyle that comes with the task.

“For sure the first couple of years will be tough, but he seems to be an intelligent person and will employ the right people to succeed with this project.”

The McLaren driver will be keen on bouncing back from his retirement in Bahrain this weekend at a track that could suit the MP4-29 car.

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.