Pirelli World Challenge
|Category||Grand Touring, Grand Touring Sport, Touring Car, Touring Car B-Spec|
|Country|| United States
|Tire suppliers||Pirelli P Zero|
|Drivers' champion||GT: Alvaro Parente
GTA: Martin Fuentes
GT Cup: Alec Udell
GTS: Brett Sandberg
TC: Toby Grahovec
TCA: Elivan Goulart
TCB: Tom O'Gorman
|Teams' champion||GT: K-PAX Racing
GT Cup: GMG Racing
GTS: Roush Performance Road Racing
TC:Classic BMW Motorsports
TCA: S.A.C. Racing
TCB: Hale Motorsports
|Makes' champion||GT: McLaren Automotive
The Pirelli World Challenge is a North American auto racing series launched in 1990 by the Sports Car Club of America. It is managed by WC Vision since 2008, and is sanctioned by the United States Auto Club since 2017.
The series consists of seven driver classifications and six classes of vehicles: Grand Touring (GT for professionals, GTA for amateurs), GT Cup (starting in 2017, fields Porsche 991 GT3 Cup, Lamborghini Super Trofeo, and Ferrari Challenge), GTS, Touring Car (TC), "Touring Car B-spec" (TCB) since 2012, and "Touring Car A" (TCA) since 2014. The series frequently races alongside the IndyCar Series on race event weekends.
- 1 History
- 2 Format
- 3 Older World Challenge cars
- 4 Circuits
- 5 Television
- 6 Tires
- 7 Champions
- 8 Manufacturer Champions
- 9 See also
- 10 References
- 11 External links
The Sports Car Club of America created a "showroom stock" class for amateur club racing in 1972. In 1984, following the success of the Longest Day of Nelson and another 24-hour race at Mid-Ohio, the SCCA combined existing races into a manufacturer's championship. For 1985, the series became a 6-race professional championship with sponsorship from Playboy magazine. Escort radar detectors sponsored the series from 1986 until 1991.
In 1990, the series was officially named World Challenge and was restructured to adopt rules similar to the European Group A for homologated production cars. The higher-cost "sports" classes were dropped after 1996, leaving the class format as it would stand until 2010. Speed TV network began sponsoring the series in 1999. With fields growing, the series began separate races for the GT and Touring classes in 2000, which would remain until 2010. In 2010, the series moved away from the partnership with SPEED, and signed a broadcast partnership with Versus (now NBCSN) for coverage. The series moved existing touring cars into a new GTS class, while changing the rules for the touring car class to reduce costs and keep cars closer to stock.
With the SpeedVision television contract, the World Challenge eventually succeeded Trans Am as the SCCA's premier series.
In July 2008, the World Challenge series was purchased by WC Vision, a group of investors. The Sports Car Club of America remained the sanctioning partner of the series.
Starting with the 2011 season, the series signed a partnership with Pirelli and the leading tire manufacturer became the official tire supplier and title sponsor of the series.
In 2014, the Pirelli World Challenge established a GT-A classification similar to the FIA's bronze category.
In 2015, the series established GT Cup, featuring Porsche 991 Cup Cars that ran as part of the overall GT class races. Also, CBS Sports Network and Motor Trend On Demand became the new television partners.
In 2016, the series established SprintX classes of racing featuring two-driver sprint races for several driver classes. As part of the partnership with the SRO, the GTS class was expanded to include GT4 homologations.
For 2017, the Pirelli World Challenge has transferred to USAC as its sanctioning body. GT Cup class is expanding to include Cup cars from Lamborghini and Ferrari, while SprintX classes expand in both driver classification specificity and competition-legal platforms.
Each season consists of upwards of 12 event weekends and between 10-20 rounds or races. Some rounds or race use a standing start, as opposed to the all rolling starts seen in other sports car racing series. Each race has a maximum 50 minute time limit. In 2017, the series will begin the season at the Streets of St. Petersburg (Mar. 10-12). GT/GTA classes will compete across 5 event weekends and 9 total races or rounds. GT Cup will compete across 4 event weekends and 8 total races or rounds, while GTS will compete across nine event weekends and 18 total races. TC, TCA and TCB teams will compete across six event weekends and 12 total races or rounds. SprintX classes will compete across 5 weekends with 10 total races.
The allowed body styles within this class are coupe, sedan and convertible. The cars permitted in GT are typically sold in the market as “sports” cars, “sport-touring” cars, or performance versions of “luxury” cars. Forced induction is permitted on cars that come equipped with forced induction stock, or on cars that the series has determined need help reaching the target horsepower range. Power output ranges from 500 hp to 600 hp. Weight varies depending on power output and tire size. All of the vehicles in GT are rear-wheel drive, or all-wheel drive. FIA GT3 class cars are now approved to compete in the class starting in 2013.
A "GTA" ("GT Amateur") driver class that debuted in 2014. It is a designation to recognize gentlemen drivers that compete in the GT class.
This spec class debuted in 2015 featuring Porsche 991 Cup Cars that are ran as part of the overall GT Class races, with a separate victory circle presentation alongside that of the GT/GT-A class winners. In 2017 the class is to be expanded to include Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo and Ferrari 488 Challenge cars.
GTS/Grand Touring Sport
The allowed body styles within this class are coupe, sedan and convertible. The cars permitted in GTS are typically marketed as “sports cars”, “sport-touring cars” or performance versions of “luxury” cars but at a lower permissible preparation level than GT. Forced induction is permitted on cars that come equipped with forced induction stock. Power output ranges from 300-400 hp. Weight varies depending on power output and tire size. Front-wheel, rear-wheel, and all-wheel drive configurations are permitted. As of 2017, the class rules fully mimic the FIA GT4 formula. Models include the Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro, Acura TSX, Audi TT, Porsche Cayman, Kia Optima, Nissan 370Z and Scion FR-S.
Touring Car (TC)
The allowed body styles in this class are coupes, hatchbacks, wagons, sedans. Power output ranges from approximately 300 hp. Weight varies depending on the power output of the individual drivetrain configurations. Front-wheel, rear-wheel, and all-wheel drive configurations are permitted. Forced induction may be allowed on cars that have forced induction systems available from the manufacturer which do not void the factory warranties.
Touring Car A-Spec
Established in 2014, this class is an evolution of the current TC class with an emphasis on maintaining cost effectiveness while providing an easy avenue to entry into professional racing. Performance modifications will be limited to mainly chassis tuning. Front wheel and rear wheel drive configurations are permitted. Target power output is 220 crank hp from non-modified stock engines. Forced induction maybe allowed on cars that have forced induction systems available from the manufacturer as a stock engine option. Examples of eligible cars include the Honda Civic SI, Mazda MX-5, Ford Focus, Scion FR-S and Kia Forte.
Touring Car B-Spec
These are smaller cars with small, efficient, naturally aspirated motors (target HP is 125). Modifications are limited to manufacturer specified performance spring and shocks to keep overall cost down. Cars competing in TCB are prepared to the SCCA Club Racing B Spec rules. Cars eligible include the Fiat 500, Ford Fiesta, Mazda 2, Mini Cooper, Chevrolet Sonic, Honda Fit, Kia Rio, and Nissan Versa.
SprintX GT Championship Series
On May 28, 2015 WC Vision announced an extended sprint format series in addition to its existing Sprint format racing series in 2016, which was a standalone championship supporting the Pirelli World Challenge at all headliner events. For 2017, SprintX races continue to be 60 minutes in length and feature mandatory driver and tire changes.
Older World Challenge cars
Starting in 2009, older World Challenge cars became eligible (with minor modifications) for competition in SCCA racing. Under the SCCA's General Competition Rules (GCR), the Super Touring category allows World Challenge GTs to compete in STO and Touring cars to compete in STU. In 2013 the STO class was merged into the T1 and GT2 classes.
Speed TV network televised the World Challenge starting in 1996, with the series being called the SPEED World Challenge until 2010.
Near the end of the broadcast partnership with SPEED, the World Challenge had been broadcast on weekdays as opposed to the traditional weekends. For 2009, the races were combined into an hour-long block.
On January 4, 2010, Versus (now NBC Sports Network) announced they would televise 90-minute broadcasts beginning in the 2010 season. Each broadcast featured all the races from each round. The entire 2010 season was shown on the channel. The series later returned to weekend telecasts.
Starting in 2015, CBS Sports Network announced that it acquired television rights to the series. Torque.TV, later Motor Trend On Demand partnered with CBS Sports Network for the race broadcasts to stream all races live on their website as well as on World-ChallengeTV.com. CBS Sports Network will have at least 1 race with live television coverage with Detroit being the first round announced to have live coverage.
The series has also established a section on its official site where fans can watch archived race and in-car video, as well as an increasing amount of archived television broadcasts of events prior to the 2016 season. The website currently has coverage from as far back as 2008.
On October 4, 2010, the series announced that Pirelli would replace longtime partner Toyo Tires as the exclusive tire supplier for the series. For the first time in series history, teams competed on racing slicks (Pirelli P Zero) rather than the DOT competition tires in use for much of its history. In January 2014, Pirelli Tire North America and WC Vision extended the partnership for an additional five years. The extension of the partnership between the tire brand and the top production car-based racing series will run through the 2018 season.
- From 1986 to 1989 the series consisted of endurance races where co-drivers were used, often resulting in co-champions.
- From 1986 to 1996 a variety of prior classification systems were used. Class winners are placed under the heading (GT or TC) of the most similar modern class.
|Season||GT Champion||GTS Champion||TC Champion||TCA Champion|
- United SportsCar Championship
- Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge
- Blancpain Endurance Series
- Blancpain Sprint Series
- Canadian Touring Car Championship
- British Touring Car Championship
- British GT Championship
- 944 Cup
- "SCCA Pro Racing World Challenge - history". SCCA Pro Racing World Challenge. Sports Car Club of America. Retrieved 24 July 2010.
- "The Longest Day of Nelson". Nelson Ledges Road Course. Retrieved 24 July 2010.
- "World Challenge Car Facts". SCCA Pro Racing Speed World Challenge. Sports Car Club of America. Retrieved 24 July 2010.
- "Pirelli World Challenge to add 'extended sprint' races in 2016". Motorsport.com. 28 May 2015. Retrieved 24 December 2015.
- Smith, Steven Cole (December 24, 2012). "Another Great Show". Autoweek. 62 (26): 68.
- "Pro Racing Archives". Sports Car Club of America. Retrieved 24 July 2010.