SAINT PETERSBURG, Fla. – The 2018 Pirelli World Challenge championship begins this weekend on the streets of Saint Petersburg, Florida, and all eyes are on the North American debut of the Callaway Competition USA Corvette C7 GT3-R. The 2017 ADAC GT Masters championship winning machine, piloted by German driver Daniel Keilwitz, will compete in the Pirelli World Challenge double header event, hosting the first two of 19 races this season.
In 1996, the team emerged victorious at their Grand Prix of St. Petersburg debut, with Almo Coppelli and the Callaway Racing Corvette clinching the S2 class win. Twenty-two years later, the team has returned, looking to repeat their winning effort on the famed street course.
In preparation for the event, Keilwitz tested the Corvette at Sebring International Raceway on Monday, clocking in seven hours on the 3.74 mile road course. While the test marked Keilwitz’s first time on a North American track, the young German took to the course quickly, setting satisfactory lap times as the team tested various set ups on the car.
“We are happy to finally have the opportunity to demonstrate our Corvette C7 GT3-R in front of our North American fans,” said team owner Reeves Callaway. “We accomplished everything we set out to do at the Sebring International Raceway test, both with the Corvette and Daniel’s first time on track in the US. After witnessing Daniel adapt very quickly to a new circuit, I am confident that he will have no problem getting up to speed for this weekend’s event. The main target for us in St. Petersburg is to produce a strong result for the car and for Daniel.”
Keilwitz will be new to all 10 tracks on the 2018 schedule but has spent ample time studying track maps and on board footage from previous races to get as acquainted as possible with each course.
“The test was my first time driving in the United States, and it went really well,” said Keilwitz. “The Corvette C7 GT3-R ran very well, and we’re looking forward to St Petersburg. We should have a good car for the first race. Now it’s on me to learn the track. I like street circuits, and I’ve watched a lot of onboard videos to prepare for this one. In my mind, I have the track down, but now it’s time to see it in person.”
Round 1 of the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg will begin Saturday, March 10 at 3:50PM Eastern, followed by Round 2 on Sunday at 3:15PM. Both races will be streamed live in their entirety at world-challenge.com.
About Callaway Competition
Founded by Reeves Callaway in 1976, Callaway has been a performance partner of the world’s biggest automotive brands, producing specialty vehicles, engineering services, and performance products. Dedicated to high-quality development, Callaway companies have spent over 30 years as an OEM supplier. Established in 1993, Callaway Competition develops, constructs, and campaigns Corvette-based race cars, celebrating a long running success in sports car racing.
Callaway enjoys a legendary record at many of the world’s great race tracks: Circuit de la Sarthe, Spa, Suzuka, Paul Ricard, Nurburgring Nordschleife and GP courses, Monza, Vallelunga, Hockeheim, Daytona, Lime Rock, Road Atlanta, Sears Point, Laguna Seca, Charlotte, Texas World Speedway, Watkins Glen and Mugello.