After Highly-Competitive 2015 Campaign, PWC Ready for Stellar 2016 Tour

AUSTIN, Texas – The 2016 racing season will be tough to match the competitive level seen in the 2015 Pirelli World Challenge.

In the always-tough GT division, the top seven drivers in the final point standings were wheeling seven different auto makes and nine of the top 11 in points included different manufacturers. Those nine makes, some of the most prestigious sports cars in the world, included Ferrari, McLaren, Cadillac, Porsche, Nissan, Acura, Audi, Bentley and Mercedes-Benz. And Lamborghini captured a GT race too in 2015.

It was a dogfight right down to the season finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca before series champions Johnny O’Connell (GT), Frank Montecalvo (GTA), Michael Cooper (GTS) and Corey Fergus (TC) could actually claim their 2015 titles.

Pirelli World Challenge Director of Competition Marcus Haselgrove believes 2016 will be no different as the season opener draws near on March 3-6 at the Circuit of the Americas.

Changes in the series’ management and regulations have not only addressed the current manufacturers feedback but ignited participation from new manufacturers drivers and teams within North America and internationally.

The addition of well-respected motorsports executive David Caldwell as the Director of Operations for the Pirelli World Challenge had added a vital element to the series’ competition department with Caldwell’s experience from the GM Racing program. Race Control sees the return of the successful duo from sports car champion Dorsey Schroeder as Race Director accompanied by former Indy 500 racer and television analyst and commentator Brian Till. The series also adds a new Chief Steward in Peter Roberts. As Race Director for Porsche Supercup, and many UK championships including the BTCC program, he came with recommendations from the FIA.

Haselgrove continues to develop and grow the PWC competition department to new levels in 2016.

“Even before the checkered flag at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, I had a clear vision of goals that were needed to start in 2016,” said Haselgrove. “It’s a long list from the Blancpain partnership with Stephane Ratel’s SRO/Blancpain organization. The combined Balance of Performance (BOP) with SRO using a successful track-based BOP classification. This provides the manufacturers with the largest global database of BOP and allows direct comparisons between their customers they support. We moved to the MoTec from our previous generation series logger to handle the increased digital communications with the vehicles and the post processing mathematics.

“The metrics we obtained from data for the last four years has been expanded Whilst we have had RPM based limits for boosted car for a couple of years, you will see innovation of this process in normally-aspirated vehicles as well.”

Haselgrove and his staff has also spent countless hours on the 2016 Pirelli World Challenge rulebook.

“We also streamlined the rulebooks and procedures for the first time in 20 years,” he explained. “I am a big believer in a picture explains a 1000 words and we have added many technical illustrations or pictures particularly in the safety section. It was a tedious job consolidating the content whilst expanding the information. A big credit must also go to all the manufacturer council members, team managers, and competition staff that worked transparently with us on the draft rules versions. We felt that was absolutely essential going forward. There is also the expanded timing and scoring services from SCCA, additional staff trucks communications and test equipment.

“I also have been working very closely with manufacturers to help facilitate their motorsport strategies through racing platforms in our classes. It is important we respect the homologations of the models they sell and support from TCB to GT3.”

At the SEMA show in November, Haselgrove made the announcement that GT, GTA and GT Cup cars will have rolling starts and GTS class will have more GT4 homologated cars present in 2016 such as Maserati, KTM Xbow, R1 Sin, plus some other exciting upcoming announcements.

“Stephane Ratel’s group has set the standard in terms of GT racing,” said Greg Gill, WC Vision President and CEO. “He has been extremely dedicated to this branch of the sport. It’s great to work with Stephane and his staff this year.”

The Pirelli World Challenge season opener for March 3-6 has over 80 cars already entered.

With the Pirelli World Challenge season just 28 days away, the anticipation is rapidly growing with seventh classes set to have another sensational weekend at COTA.

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Tom Blattler, Pirelli World Challenge, (317) 525-5692

Dave Drimmie, Pirelli World Challenge, (416) 835-6601