Officials of the Pirelli World Challenge have made two cost-saving measures for the GTS class teams in the 18-race Pirelli World Challenge schedule with reduced tire usage as well as no required tire changes in the GTS SprintX events.
In the GTS division, teams will be permitted to campaign three new sets of Pirelli tires as well as one set from a previous PWC event (four total). In addition, SprintX competitors will not be required to make any tire changes in the ten SprintX races scheduled in five doubleheader race weekends.
The SprintX format for both GT and GTS categories (60 minutes with two drivers per entry) will be contested at Circuit of the Americas (COTA), VIRginia International Raceway, Lime Rock Park, Portland International Raceway and Utah Motorsports Campus with two GT and GTS SprintX races per weekend at each track.
In 2017, the SprintX format (60 minutes, two drivers) enjoyed a successful debut in the Pirelli World Challenge for the GT class with five doubleheader race weekends. Last year’s GT SprintX events did not include tire changes.
The same format will hold true in 2018 for the GTS SprintX division with no tire changes during the driver switch for the GT4 teams. The minimum pit stop time changed from 60 seconds plus the pit lane delta to 45 seconds plus the pit lane delta.
“We canvassed our GTS paddock over the winter and discovered a majority of the competitors were in favor of the SprintX format as we ran in GT last year,” said Greg Gill, President and CEO of WC Vision, producers of the Pirelli World Challenge. “With the success of the last year’s GT SprintX events, we are excited to bring the SprintX format to GTS this year with the GT4 machinery. We expect great racing in GTS in 2018.”
The GTS competitors expressed their appreciation for the new SprintX schedule as they prepare for this season’s 18-race campaign.
“Going in to the SprintX events without the requirement for a tire change is a plus for the teams in GTS,” said Darren Law, Flying Lizard Motorsports team co-owner. “The Pirelli tire has the durability to run the entire race so that isn’t an issue and from a team cost standpoint, avoiding the additional purchase of tire sets along with the personnel and equipment needed is just another item that helps to keep budget from growing.”
“We are elated with this new decision by Pirelli World Challenge for the GTS SprintX events,” said veteran GTS racer Mark Klenin, who’ll drive the No. 62 KPR/Premiere Copier McLaren 570S GT4 with Max Riddle in the GTS SprintX races. “Not having to purchase additional tires and pit equipment is a big savings for the GTS teams. Plus, not needing added personnel for the pit stops is a big help, too. I think we will save over $50,000 in 2018 because of no tire changes.”
“We couldn’t be more pleased with the Sprint X format,” said Jon Mirachi, Racer’s Edge Motorsports team owner. “It opens up new lower budget opportunities for both drivers and teams. You can now have a real GT4 racing, arrive and drive program, competing for a professional championship, for under $200K. Wow! As a team owner, I really appreciate how PWC is looking after the expenses for the teams and making decisions that really help control the cost to go racing. No tire changes during the races and a three set per weekend tire limit, really make sense for GT4 racing!”
In 2018, the GT class will be permitted to run four new Pirelli sets with one leftover set from a previous event for five total sets.