Pirelli World Challenge

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Pirelli World Challenge
PirelliWorldChallengeLogo.jpg
Category Grand Touring, Grand Touring Sport, Touring Car, Touring Car B-Spec
Country  United States
 Canada
Inaugural season 1990
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
GTS: Ford
TC: Mazda
TCA: Mazda
Official website World-Challenge.com
Motorsport current event.svg Current season

The Pirelli World Challenge is a North American auto racing series that is managed by WC Vision and sanctioned by the United States Auto Club (USAC). The World Challenge series was born in 1990, and celebrated its 25th anniversary season in 2014. The series consists of seven driver classifications and six classes of vehicles: Grand Touring (GT), 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. In 2014, a GTA driver classification was established for professional drivers that do not make their living primarily from racing. In 2016, The series frequently races alongside the IndyCar Series on race event weekends.

History[edit]

The SCCA created a "showroom stock" class for amateur club racing in 1972.[1] In 1984, following the success of the Longest Day of Nelson[2] 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.[1]

Fans invited to tour starting grid before 2011 season race

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.[3]

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 remains 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.

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.

Format[edit]

2011 GTS and Touring cars brake after first straight, Miller Motorsports Park

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.

Classes[edit]

GT/Grand Touring[edit]

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.

GTA[edit]

A "GTA" ("GT Amateur") driver class that debuted in 2014.[4] It is a designation to recognize gentlemen drivers that compete in the GT class.

GT Cup[edit]

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[edit]

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)[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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.[5]

SprintX GT Championship Series[edit]

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.[6]

Older World Challenge cars[edit]

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),[7] 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.[8]

Circuits[edit]

Races in the Pirelli World Challenge as of the 2017 season. Red dots represent GT single-driver sprint events, yellow dots represent events with all eight GT and Touring Car racing divisions, and the finale at Laguna Seca is an eight-hour GT endurance contest as part of the Intercontinental GT Challenge.

Television[edit]

TV logo

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.[9]

On January 4, 2010, Versus (now NBC Sports Network) announced they would televise 90-minute broadcasts beginning in the 2010 season.[10] 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.[11]

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.[12] The website currently has coverage from as far back as 2008.

Tires[edit]

On October 4, 2010, the series announced that Pirelli would replace longtime partner Toyo Tires as the exclusive tire supplier for the series.[13] 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.

Champions[edit]

Season GT Champion Car TC Champion Car
SCCA / Escort Endurance Championship
1986 Paul McIntosh (GT)
Bobby Archer & Tommy Archer (SS)
Porsche 944
Chevrolet Corvette
Garth Ullom & Tim Evans (SSA)
Scott Gaylord & Lance Stewart (SSB)
Dodge Shelby Charger
Honda CRX
1987 Steve Saleen & Rick Titus (GT)
Bobby Archer & Tommy Archer (SS)
Saleen Mustang
Chevrolet Corvette
Ray Kong & Mike Rutherford (SSA)
Alistair Oag & Peter Schwartzott (SSB)
Mitsubishi Starion
Volkswagen GTI
1988 Stuart Hayner Chevrolet Camaro Pepe Pombo (SSA)
Peter Cunningham (SSB)
Nissan 300ZX
Honda CRX
1989 Don Knowles & John Heinricy Chevrolet Camaro Bobby Archer & Tommy Archer (SSA)
Peter Cunningham & Scott Gaylord (SSB)
Eagle Talon
Honda CRX (3)
SCCA World Challenge
1990 R. K. Smith Chevrolet Corvette Bobby Archer (2) Eagle Talon
1991 Lou Gigliotti (SS)
Shawn Hendricks (World Challenge)
Chevrolet Camaro
Chevrolet Corvette
Mitch Wright Eagle Talon (3)
1992 R. K. Smith (Class A)
Lou Gigliotti (Class B)
Chevrolet Corvette (5)
Chevrolet Camaro
Dave Jolly Oldsmobile Achieva
1993 Elliott Forbes-Robinson (Class A)
Willy Lewis (Class B)
Nissan 300ZX
Eagle Talon
Ron Emmick Oldsmobile Achieva
1994 Price Cobb (World Challenge)
Neil Hannemann (Touring Car)
Porsche 911
Eagle Talon
Dave Jolly (2) Oldsmobile Achieva (3)
1995 David Murry (Sports)
Neil Hanneman (Touring) (2)
Porsche 911
Eagle Talon (3)
Peter Cunningham Honda Prelude
1996 Martin Snow (S1)
Almo Coppelli (S2)
Lou Gigliotti (T1)
Porsche 911 (3)
Callaway Corvette
Saleen Mustang
Michael Galati (T2) Honda Prelude (2)
1997 Peter Cunningham Acura NSX Pierre Kleinubing Acura Integra
1998 Terry Borcheller Saleen Mustang (3) Michael Galati Acura Integra
1999 Bobby Archer Dodge Viper Michael Galati (3) Acura Integra
2000 Jeff McMillin BMW M3 Pierre Kleinubing Acura Integra
2001 Michael Galati Audi S4 Pierre Kleinubing Acura Integra
2002 Michael Galati (2) Audi S4 (2) Peter Cunningham Acura Integra (6)
2003 Randy Pobst Audi RS6 Bill Auberlen BMW 325i
2004 Tommy Archer Dodge Viper (2) Bill Auberlen (2) BMW 325i (2)
2005 Andy Pilgrim Cadillac CTS-V Sedan Peter Cunningham Acura TSX
2006 Lawson Aschenbach Porsche 911 GT3 Pierre Kleinubing Acura TSX
2007 Randy Pobst Porsche 911 GT3 Jeff Altenburg Mazda 6
2008 Randy Pobst Porsche 911 GT3 Peter Cunningham (6) Acura TSX
2009 Brandon Davis Ford Mustang GT Pierre Kleinubing(4) Acura TSX (4)
2010 Randy Pobst (GT) (4)
Peter Cunningham (GTS)
Volvo S60
Acura TSX
Robert Stout Scion tC
2011 Patrick Long (GT)
Paul Brown (GTS)
Porsche 911 GT3 (4)
Ford Mustang Boss
Lawson Aschenbach Honda Civic
2012[14] Johnny O'Connell (GT)
Peter Cunningham (GTS) (2)
Cadillac CTS-V
Acura TSX (3)
Michael Cooper (TC)
Jonathan Start (TCB)
Mazda3
Fiat 500
2013 Johnny O'Connell (GT) (2)
Lawson Aschenbach (GTS)
Cadillac CTS-V (2)
Chevrolet Camaro (5)
Ryan Winchester (TC)
Robbie Davis (TCB)
Honda Civic (2)
MINI Cooper
2014 Johnny O'Connell (GT) (3)
Michael Mills (GTA)
Lawson Aschenbach (2) (GTS)
Cadillac CTS-V (3)
Porsche GT3R
Chevrolet Camaro (5)
Michael DiMeo (TC)
Jason Wolfe (TCA)
Brian Price (TCB)
Honda Civic (3)
Kia Forte Koup
Honda Fit
2015 Johnny O'Connell (GT) (4)
Frank Montecalvo (GTA)
Colin Thompson (GTC)
Cadillac CTS-V (4)
Mercedes SLS
Porsche 911
Michael Cooper (GTS)
Corey Fergus (TC)
Jason Wolfe (TCA) (2)
Johan Schwartz (TCB)
Ford Mustang
Porsche Cayman
Honda Civic (4)
Chevrolet Sonic
2016 Álvaro Parente (GT)
Martin Fuentes (GTA)
Alec Udell (GTC)

Brett Sandberg (GTS)

McLaren 650S GT3

Ferrari 458 Italia GT3

Porsche 911 GT3 Cup

KTM X-Bow GT4

Toby Grahovec (TC)

Elivan Goulart (TCA)

Tom O'Gorman (TCB)

BMW M235i Racing

Mazda MX-5 Cup

Honda Fit

  • Source:[15]
  • 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.

Manufacturer Champions[edit]

Season GT Champion GTS Champion TC Champion TCA Champion
2009 Germany Porsche N/A Japan Acura N/A
2010 Sweden Volvo Japan Acura Japan Scion N/A
2011
2012 United States Cadillac Japan Acura Japan Honda Japan Honda
2013 United States Cadillac United States Chevrolet Japan Honda N/A
2014 United States Cadillac South Korea Kia Japan Honda South Korea Kia
2015 Germany Porsche United States Ford Japan Mazda Japan Honda
2016 United Kingdom McLaren United States Ford Japan Mazda Japan Mazda

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]