Kris Wilson raced his way through what he called “… a strange but awesome rookie season in Pirelli World Challenge GTS” in 2015, and the experienced winner is now looking for his next opportunity in 2016.
Racing in his first-ever season of World Challenge came as a surprise to Wilson, who had originally signed on as a coach for Max Riddle. Some health issues, which were fortunately surmounted by the end of the season, meant a dramatic change of plan for Wilson, who was thrown the keys to the No. 07 Aston Martin to race just days before the start of the season.
“After winning two races in 2014 driving in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge GS class with teammate Max (Riddle), I moved into the role of coach/mentor and engineer for his 2015 program in PWC with TRG-AMR’s Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT4,” said Wilson. “A couple of days before the first race at Circuit of the Americas, I got a call from Dave Riddle (Max’s dad) saying that they weren’t going to make it to the first race. Dave said that I should race the car. As you could imagine I had no problem stepping in!”
He made the most of the faith that the Riddles and TRG-AMR showed in him, scoring a pole and debut win at the Circuit of the Americas to kick start the season.
As Riddle’s health fluctuated, Wilson found himself thrown back into the cockpit of the Aston Martin as he worked to make the most of each weekend he had to race.
“It was an up and down year, no question,” said Wilson. “We had gearbox problems at St. Pete and I had to start at the back but got up to fifth by the finish, even though I’d never done a lap of the track before the race started!” said Wilson. “We won both races at Barber, and Max (Riddle) was able to race again at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and I coached. We weren’t able to make Road America, but we did get to run Mid-Ohio and scored a win and finished fourth despite having a fuel pick up problem. We missed Utah, but were back for the two California races—home events for TRG-AMR.”
The “home races” for TRG at Sonoma Raceway and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca were fruitful as Sonoma ended with sixth and second place finishes, while Wilson managed to shrug off the extra 150 lbs of ballast the Aston Martin carried as part of the balance of performance to close out the year with a win at the fabled Monterey facility.
“The team had been able to overcome the engineering problems with the extra weight throughout the season and come away with another win to bookend the season,” said Wilson. “What a great way to end the season with a fifth win! I would like to thank everyone involved in that strange but awesome season in Pirelli World Challenge. First and foremost to Dave and Max Riddle for allowing me to race their Aston Martin, to all the TRG-AMR team for running an amazing program and to the partners and the series for all of their help.“
Kris Wilson is weighing his options for the 2016 race season.
“I have been talking to quite a few teams this off season but have yet to make a decision on where and with whom to race with this season,” said Wilson. “I would like to be in GT but only with a team capable of winning. I raced the Aston Martin GT3 GTD car in the Rolex 24 hours of Daytona and the Mobil 1 12 hours of Sebring and I love those cars–who wouldn’t? Now that I have tasted the champagne, it’s hard to go back to drinking beer! I look forward to continuing in PWC this next season with a front running team.”