PWC: 2017 race, class schedule formats revealed

Photo: PWC

Pirelli World Challenge has formally revealed the outline of its class structure and race formats for the 2017 season.

You can see more via the release below:

WC Vision, producers of the Pirelli World Challenge, today unveiled its class programs in alignment with the earlier-announced 2017 Pirelli World Challenge schedule for North America’s biggest GT Production-based road racing campaign.

WC Vision announced the 2017 Pirelli World Challenge dates and locations last month.

This year, the PWC series featured over 22 auto manufacturers and 38 separate models in its seven racing divisions – GT, GTA, GT Cup, GTS, Touring Car, TCA, TCB – and its 27th year produced one of the world’s most competitive GT production racing series.

The newly-created SprintX division saw some of the most exciting racing in 2016 sports car competition with last-lap passes for victories by Michael Lewis at Utah Motorsports Campus and Kyle Marcelli at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. In the SprintX inaugural season, Michael Mills of Houston, Tex., won the GT SprintX Sportsman point championship.

In 2017, the GT/GTA/GT Cup classes will feature five traditional Sprint weekends (50-minute single driver events) and five SprintX doubleheader contests (60-minute, two-driver events).  The GT Cup will have four sprint weekends in 2017.

The GT/GTA/GT Cup champions will be determined in three separate point categories with Sprint and SprintX Champions. Drivers, teams and manufacturers competing in all 19 GT/GTA and 18 GT Cup races will be named the Overall Pirelli World Challenge champions.

With the 60-minute, two-driver format, the 2017 SprintX series has been expanded to the five PWC Headliner weekends set for VIRginia International Raceway (VIR) April 28-30, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP) May 19-21, Lime Rock Park May 26-27, Utah Motorsports Campus August 11-13 and Circuit of the Americas (COTA) Sept. 1-3.

Pirelli World Challenge’s sprint format for the GT/GTA/GT Cup events will include the five weekends with the Verizon IndyCar Series at the streets of St. Petersburg (March 10-12) and Long Beach (April 7-9, no GT Cup race), Road America (June 23-25), Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (July 28-30) and Sonoma Raceway (Sept. 13-15).  All except Long Beach (GT single race) will be doubleheader weekends.

Four of the five GT/GTA/GT Cup sprint weekends will be same-day television coverage on the CBS Sports Network. A complete 2017 Pirelli World Challenge CBS Sports Network schedule will be announced in the near future.

In GTS/GT4, all 18 races (9 weekends) will be Sprint format with 50-minute, single-driver contests. GTS/GT4 also will be allowed to compete in SprintX in 2017. The Touring Car classes – TC, TCA and TCB – will continue their traditional sprint races (40-minute, single-driver) at six PWC weekends (12 races).

“Building on the highly-competitive battles across all classes in 2016 and, with the expansion of the SprintX format to five racing weekends, we believe our drivers, teams and fans will enjoy our most exciting season ever in 2017,” said Greg Gill, WC Vision President and CEO.

According to Marcus Haselgrove, WC Vision Vice-President of Competition, PWC expanding the GT3 base has allowed for more competitors in 2017 and Haselgrove believes more teams and manufacturers will expand the fields in the upcoming years. Look for expansion in the GT Cup division with additional manufacturers.

“GT3 customers now have increased opportunities to run for a single-driver or a two-driver championship or compete in all events for an overall title,” said Haselgrove. “This exciting expansion is in response to our customer feedback with the new GT production-based equipment entering our series.”

The Pirelli World Challenge season finale for the Touring Car categories is again set for Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on Oct. 13-15 with a the SRO Motorsports Group Intercontinental GT Challenge eight-hour endurance event along with a complete Touring Car (TC,TCA and TCB) doubleheader weekend. The PWC season finale for GT/GTA/GT Cup and GTS divisions will take place at Sonoma Raceway in September.

2017 Pirelli World Challenge Schedule with Classes