This weekend saw not just the California 8 Hours, the Intercontinental GT Challenge round held in the U.S. that featured predominately Pirelli World Challenge teams, but also the final two rounds (four races) for PWC’s three Touring Car classes, thus bringing an end to those seasons as well. PWC wrapped its SprintX season at Circuit of The Americas on Labor Day weekend, and its Sprint season for the GT and GTS classes at Sonoma two weeks later in mid-September.
World Challenge has, in recent years, evolved from a purely sprint series with only two classes to a combination sprint and semi-endurance series that has added a wealth of classes and quality drivers, teams and manufacturers along with them.
Here’s a rundown of champions, with final standings listed next to the class. No, everyone doesn’t get a trophy, but there was a significant trophy budget factored into the 2017 season:
OVERALL (Sprint and SprintX combination)
Patrick Long’s combined results from the Sprint and SprintX races netted him the overall PWC title this season. The Californian and Porsche’s lone factory driver co-drove with Joerg Bergmeister in the SprintX rounds save for Lime Rock Park, when Marc Lieb filled in as Bergmeister was on another assignment. After winning the 2011 GT title, Long called this 2017 title sweeter because of the enhanced competition he and Wright Motorsports beat.
- Drivers: Patrick Long, No. 58 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R; Manufacturer: Porsche
SPRINT (GT and GTS)
While Long also captured the Sprint title at Sonoma, other champs of note here include PWC veteran Sofronas in GTA and his customer Kurtz in GTSA, and Aschenbach with his fifth PWC title (three in GTS, joining 2013 and 2014 titles with Blackdog in previous generation Camaros, along with one GT and one TC title).
- GT: Drivers: Patrick Long, No. 58 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R; Team: Wright Motorsports
- GTA: Drivers: James Sofronas, No. 14 GMG Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R
- GT Cup: Drivers: Yuki Harata, No. 55 Dream Racing Competition Lamborghini Huracán LP 620-2; Team: Dream Racing Competition
- GTS: Drivers: Lawson Aschenbach, No. 10 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R; Team: Blackdog Speed Shop; Manufacturer: Chevrolet
- GTSA: Drivers: George Kurtz, No. 04 GMG Racing McLaren 570S GT4
SPRINT (TC, TCA, TCB)
Success here for two stalwart drivers and one stalwart team within PWC. Holton and Groenke used to be teammates with Shea Racing in 2014 in TCB, with Shea Holbrook’s team serving as their starting point and place of development before they have grown since. Holton, who now races with Karl Thomson’s successful C360R outfit in both PWC and the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge – and has won races in both – brought home the TC crown in a new Audi this year, while Groenke’s perseverance was rewarded after years of near-misses in TCB, in that class’ last year. Fassnacht ensured Mazda didn’t go home empty-handed this year, with the TCA title.
- TC: Drivers: Paul Holton, No. 71 C360R Audi RS3 LMS; Team: C360R; Manufacturer: BMW
- TCA: Drivers: Matthew Fassnacht, No. 74 S.A.C. Racing Mazda Global MX-5 Cup; Team: S.A.C. Racing; Manufacturer: Mazda
- TCB: Drivers: P.J. Groenke, No. 25 Tech Sport Racing Chevrolet Sonic; Team: Tech Sport Racing
SPRINTX (GT and GTS)
In the SprintX series, the Taylor/Cooper combination ensured Cadillac got another title to add to its sterling resume in PWC before the manufacturer announced its departure at the end of the year. Sofronas and Harata, meanwhile, won titles in both Sprint and SprintX formats this year.
- GT: Pro/Pro: Jordan Taylor, Michael Cooper, No. 8 Cadillac Racing Cadillac ATS-V.R; Team: Cadillac Racing
- GT: Pro/Am: James Sofronas, No. 14 GMG Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R
- GT: Am/Am: Henrique Cisneros, No. 30 MOMO NGT Motorsport Ferrari 458 GT3 (GT Sportsman Cup)
- GT Cup: Pro/Am: Alessandro Bressan, Yuki Harata, No. 55 Dream Racing Competition Lamborghini Huracán LP 620-2; Team: Dream Racing Competition
- GT Cup: Am/Am: Joe Toussaint, Corey Friedman, No. 90 Autometrics Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R
- GTS: Pro/Am: Adam Merzon, Trent Hindman, No. 017 Case-it Racing Porsche GT4 Cayman Clubsport; Manufacturer: Porsche
- GTS: Am/Am: Greg Liefooghe, Aristotle Balogh, No. 019 Stephen Cameron Racing BMW M3 E46; Team: Stephen Cameron Racing