PWC notes: TV, Detroit, KIA, TRG-AMR and more announced this week


On the strength of a successful 25th anniversary season in 2014, the Pirelli World Challenge has been busy with a host of announcements in the last few days. Here’s a quick round-up:

There’s been another race added to the schedule. The series returns to the Detroit Belle Isle Park circuit with a doubleheader weekend for the GT and GTA classes, May 29-31. This gives those two classes a now-whopping 20-race schedule, with Detroit and Long Beach serving as GT-only race weekends.

As for Detroit, this means over the three day weekend that it will now have two Verizon IndyCar Series races, a TUDOR United SportsCar Championship race featuring the Prototype, Prototype Challenge and GT Daytona classes, two PWC races, and the SPEED Energy Formula Off-Road trucks in action.

The Detroit announcement dovetailed nicely with the series announcing a new digital package with Torque.TV. Further details are to come, but the Roger Werner-led venture hopes to make a market out of what was Speedvision back in the day. PWC was listed as the headline series among a list that also includes: European and Asian Le Mans, DTM, British GT, F3, F4, Blancpain GT, Porsche Carrera Cup, Ferrari Challenge and more. Further details from PWC itself of its relationship with Torque.TV, as well as updates on its live streaming package, should be out soon.

KIA won the GTS manufacturer’s championship in 2014. They’ll defend it with a new livery next year, premiered on Mark Wilkins’ No. 38 Kia Optima at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas.

TRG-AMR, which won the second-to-last race of the 2014 GTS season at Miller Motorsports Park with Nick Esayian and also scored two podiums with Drew Regitz, has announced its first driver of the 2015 season. Derek DeBoer, who ran sporadic PWC and Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge races with TRG-AMR in 2014, will run a full season in the No. 09 entry with TRG-AMR and Black Rider Racing Group. Other partners include B.R.M. Chronographes, Petrol Lounge, Affinity Homes, and Pirata della Strada.

Regitz has been spotted testing in an Audi R8 LMS with Cameron Racing, per Audi Motorsport Blog, in anticipation of a potential step-up from GTS to GTA next year.

Mazda TCA driver Jason Cherry is auctioning off his helmet at SEMA in support of the Autism Society of America; the auction ends Nov. 9. More info here from the PWC website.

PWC has also announced the hiring of Julie Bentley, longtime IMSA/ALMS executive, as its new director of partnership relations for its executive team. Greg Gill has now been promoted to vice president/general manager after serving as the series’ head of communications the past two years.

There’s likely more to come from the series throughout the offseason, as more series, team and driver plans fall into place.

Ken Roczen signs with HEP Progressive Ecstar Suzuki for 2023

Roczen Progressive Ecstar Suzuki
Align Media

ANAHEIM, California – Ken Roczen will make the move from HRC Honda to H.E.P. Motorsports with the Progressive Ecstar Suzuki team, ending a long and eventful offseason that saw his split from his longstanding team after he committed to running World Supercross (WSX).

“H.E.P. Motorsports is thrilled to announce that the team has signed Ken Roczen as its premier rider for the 2023 season,” the team announced on Instagram. “Former AMA Motocross champion Roczen will be aboard a Suzuki RM-Z450. Roczen, who won his most recent championship on a Suzuki, will be reunited with the brand and bring his exciting style, determination, and grit back to the RM Army.

“Ken Roczen will compete in the upcoming 2023 Supercross and Motocross Championship series which is set to start on January 7 at Anaheim Stadium in Southern California.”

For Roczen, it is a return to the bike of his youth and on which he had some of his greatest professional success.

“This thing has been going on for weeks and weeks and weeks in the making, but there was so much uncertainty,” Roczen told NBC Sports during Monster Energy Supercross Media Sessions. “It was a very unique situation. I just finally signed two nights ago, so it’s really only legit once the ink hits the paper. It’s been in the works for a long time, but there were just a lot of questions and a lot of input from a lot of other teams too.

“Good things take time, and I’m okay with that. I grew up riding Suzuki. Ot’s like a homecoming. It’s a special feeling”

Roczen won the 2016 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship on a Suzuki before making the move to Honda. That year he won nine of 12 Nationals and finished no worse than second as he easily outpaced Eli Tomac by 86 points. He finished third in his next Pro Motocross outing in 2018 after sitting out the outdoor season in 2017.

“I am beyond excited to reconnect with Suzuki for the 3rd time in my career. We’ve had a lot of success in the past and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish together in our future.” Roczen said in the Instagram post.