PWC: Champions crowned, 2017 dates confirmed

Photo: PWC
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Beyond the Pirelli World Challenge championship in GT being decided in favor of Alvaro Parente, K-PAX Racing and McLaren on Sunday at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, there were several other championships and awards confirmed during Sunday night’s awards ceremony in Monterey.

Here’s a quick rundown of champions and awards confirmed over the weekend:

2016 PIRELLI WORLD CHALLENGE CHAMPIONS
GT Driver’s Champion – ALVARO PARENTE, Porto, Portugal
GTA Driver’s Champion – MARTIN FUENTES, Mexico City, Mexico
GT Cup Driver’s Champion – ALEC UDELL, The Woodlands, Texas
GTS Driver’s Champion – BRETT SANDBERG, Allendale, N.J.
Touring Car Driver’s Champion – TOBY GRAHOVEC, Little Elm, Texas
Touring Car A Driver’s Champion – ELIVAN GOULART, Shelton, Conn.
Touring Car B Driver’s Champion – TOM O’GORMAN, Mason, Ohio
SprintX GT Sportsman Driver’s Champion – MICHAEL MILLS, Houston, Texas
SprintX GTS Sportsman Driver’s Champion – MAX RIDDLE, Vancouver, B.C., Canada

GT Manufacturer’s Champion – McLAREN
GTS Manufacturer’s Champion – FORD PERFORMANCE
Touring Car Manufacturer’s Champion – MAZDA
Touring Car A Manufacturer’s Champion – MAZDA

GT Team Champion – K-PAX RACING
GT Cup Team Champion – GMG MOTORSPORTS
GTS Team Champion – ROUSH PERFORMANCE ROAD RACING
Touring Car Team Champion – CLASSIC BMW MOTORSPORTS
Touring Car A Team Champion – S.A.C. RACING
Touring Car B Team Champion – HALE MOTORSPORTS

GT/GTA Crew of the Year – SCUDERIA CORSA
GT Cup Crew of the Year – CALVERT DYNAMICS
GTS Crew of the Year – ROUSH PERFORMANCE ROAD RACING
Touring Car Crew of the Year – BERG RACING
Touring Car A Crew of the Year – S.A.C. RACING
Touring Car B Crew of the Year – BLACK ARMOR HELMETS

SPECIAL AWARDS
Zimmerman Cup Crew Award – IAN WILLIS, AIM MOTORSPORTS
Jim Cook Award (Contributor to PWC) – TONY GAPLES, BLACKDOG SPEED SHOP
VP Racing Fuels Hard Charger of the Year – NATE STACY
MotorTrendonDemand.com Clean Pass of the Year – PATRICK LONG
Special Recognition Award – JERRY RUSSETT

Doling out the awards wasn’t the only thing on PWC’s docket this week. Additionally, the series also formally confirmed Utah Motorsports Campus (August 11-13) and Sonoma Raceway (Sept. 15-17) as the expected fill-ins for the TBA rounds. The provisional 2017 schedule was released and explained in July.

PWC’s GT single-driver sprint events will occur at the five shared IndyCar weekends, with St. Petersburg, Road America, Mid-Ohio and Sonoma having double races and Long Beach a single race.

All eight PWC categories will be in action at the PWC standalone weekends.

There will also be five live TV races on CBS Sports Network, the series announced.

The Pirelli World Challenge finale again will take place at the famed Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca with a unique weekend set for racers and fans on Oct. 13-15. Working in conjunction with the popular European-based SRO Blancpain GT Series, the SRO Motorsports Group Intercontinental GT Challenge will include an eight-hour GT endurance contest with GT3 machines. The PWC classes for MRLS will be announced soon.

“After a successful 2016 season including 127 entries in the season finale last weekend at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, we are pleased with the 2017 Pirelli World Challenge schedule,” said Greg Gill, president and CEO of WC Vision. “There are a few remaining contracts and venue details to be worked out. We will work through those details in the coming days.”

The full schedule is below:

2017 Pirelli World Challenge Schedule

Date              Track 
March 10-12       Streets of St. Petersburg  
April 7-9         Streets of Long Beach               
April 28-30       Virginia International Raceway 
May 19-21         Canadian Tire Motorsport Park     
May 26-27         Lime Rock Park             
June 23-25        Road America  
July 28-30        Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course    
August 11-13      Utah Motorsports Campus      
September 1-3     Circuit of the Americas (COTA) 
September 15-17   Sonoma Raceway     
October 13-15     Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca 
                  (With SRO International GT Challenge)

Three-time W Series champ Jamie Chadwick joining Andretti in Indy NXT Series for 2023

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Jamie Chadwick, the three-time W Series champion, will drive for Andretti Autosport in the Indy NXT Series next season.

Chadwick will make her debut in an American racing series in March, driving the No. 28 for Andretti Autosport with sponsorship from DHL. The 24-year-old will become the first female driver in 13 years to compete full time in the Indy NXT championship.

Chadwick joined the female free-to-enter W Series in its inaugural 2019 season, winning two races and the first of three consecutive championships. She has been a reserve driver for the Williams Formula One team and will continue in that role in 2023. She also has driven in the Extreme E Series.

Despite her success, Chadwick hasn’t landed a bigger ride in F3 or F2, and her break didn’t come until Michael Andretti contacted her and offered a test in an Indy NXT car.

The final three races of this year’s W Series schedule were canceled when funding fell through, but Chadwick still believes the all-female series was the right path for her.

“W Series has always been and will continue to be an opportunity to be racing for every female driver, so for my side, I looked at it while perhaps I would have liked to step up maybe earlier, at the same time being able to have that chance to race, get that experience, have that development, seat time… I was constantly learning,” Chadwick told The Associated Press.

“In that sense, I wasn’t frustrated at all. But on the flip side of it, now I’ve had that experience testing in the United States in Indy NXT and this is something I’m really excited about.”

Chadwick also is expected to have an enhanced role as a development driver next season with Williams, which chose American driver Logan Sargeant to fill its open seat on next year’s F1 grid.

“Andretti Autosport is proud to be supporting Jamie alongside DHL,” said Michael Andretti. “Jamie’s successful career speaks for itself, but Indy NXT gives Jamie the opportunity to continue her development in a new type of racing.

“We’ve turned out five Indy NXT champions over the years and look forward to continuing our role in developing new talent.”

Indy NXT is the new name of the rebranded Indy Lights Series, the final step on the ladder system before IndyCar.

Andretti will field two drivers next season in IndyCar that were developed in Indy NXT: Kyle Kirkwood, the 2021 champion, will return to Andretti after one season in IndyCar driving for A.J. Foyt Racing, and Devlin DeFrancesco is back for a second season.

Chadwick will be teammates in Indy NXT with Hunter McElrea and Louis Foster. She becomes Andretti’s second full-time female driver alongside Catie Munnings, who competes for Andretti United in the Extreme E Series.