Mattiacci excited about American involvement in Formula 1

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Ferrari team principal Marco Mattiacci has stressed the importance of American involvement in Formula 1 as the Italian marque continues to negotiate supplying engines to Gene Haas’s new team.

Haas won the race to join the sport earlier this year, and plans for Haas Formula to enter F1 in 2016. At the Canadian Grand Prix, he spent a lot of time in the Ferrari garage talking to Mattiacci, and the Italian team boss revealed that a decision should be made soon regarding a possible engine supply.

“We are doing some progress, and naturally entering Formula 1 is a challenge,” he explained when asked about talks with Haas by this writer. “I think there is, again, work in progress, and probably a decision will be made in the coming weeks.”

However, Mattiacci is delighted that an American outfit is entering the sport, and says that he will welcome Haas Formula to the sport regardless of its engine supply, be it Ferrari or otherwise.

“The positive things I believe that to have Americans that start to look and invest in Formula 1,” Mattiacci said. “It’s really a very important topic to stress because this is, at the moment, the largest and most important economy in the world.

“It’s a good sign that Americans start to look and invest in Formula 1.

“Haas can go to us, or someone else, but we will welcome the United States to look in Formula 1.”

The sport has enjoyed a revival in the United States of late, with the grand prix at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, being a huge success. A second race is also being negotiated, and American driver Alexander Rossi is edging towards a full-time seat in the sport.

There is still a very long road for Haas and his team to negotiate, but the paddock certainly appears to be enthusiastic about adding an American team to the grid in the next two years.

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.