At Portland International Raceway today, Pirelli World Challenge President and CEO Greg Gill presented teams with the expanded 2019 program and race formats.
The three major PWC series will continue in 2019, with GT World Challenge, GTS World Challenge and TC World Challenge all remaining pivotal to the organization as it enters its 30th year.
These will be supplemented by the addition of two new regional series – GT4 America East and GT4 America West – which will combine the growing popularity of the GT4 category with the appetite for road racing in the U.S.
The enhanced programs were formed by an extensive survey that drew opinions from the paddock, prospective drivers and teams, and sponsors. The changes presented will strengthen Pirelli World Challenge’s status as a leading GT production-based road racing series in North America by drawing on the successful format used by SRO Motorsports Group in Europe and Asia, and retaining the key elements that have made PWC a success for three decades.
GT Pirelli World Challenge: An enhanced format to grow GT3 racing in America
The GT Pirelli World Challenge will compete at a number of North American road racing venues in 2019. The refocused seven-race schedule will draw on the best of the current calendar while also adding a new finale.
GT Pirelli World Challenge will also adopt a new race format extended to 90 minutes that differs from the one used in GTS Pirelli World Challenge. Grids will consist solely of GT3 cars, each featuring two-driver pairings. Events will be reduced to a maximum of three days, offering drivers more time behind the wheel and less time away from home and business.
GTS Pirelli World Challenge: Retaining the heritage of the PWC Series
GTS Pirelli World Challenge will continue the tradition of the PWC as a one-driver sprint competition. A 50-minute format will be retained, with drivers up to Gold classification eligible to compete in the series. Next to the overall podium, Silver and Bronze drivers will be awarded with separate podiums.
The 2019 calendar is set to feature eight race weekends. A number of these will be shared with Pirelli GT World Challenge, including the season finale.
GT4 America: New East and West Regional Series
The recent global success of the GT4 format, combined with the need for a more regional, cost-effective offering has led to the creation of two new Series for 2019.
GT4 America East and GT4 America West will provide time-efficient options for teams and drivers based on both sides of the United States, each consisting of five race weekends. They will use the SprintX format and be reserved for two-driver Pro-Am (silver/bronze) and Am (bronze/bronze) line-ups. Each region will award its own title, with no overall championship available.
TC Pirelli World Challenge: Building on the success of TCR
The introduction of the TCR class has proven popular with competitors, fans and manufacturers alike. This success will be built upon in 2019 with an expansion to seven race weekends, while the customer sport nature of the three TC classes – TCR, TC and TCA – will be enforced.
Having already produced excellent racing, SRO Motorsports Group and WC Vision now wish to give the TC categories a chance to flourish with a distinctive identity and marketing.
The 2019 Pirelli World Challenge schedule reflects feedback received from the teams. SRO founder and CEO Stephane Ratel will announce the full calendar (including the California 8-Hour event, the North American Round of the Intercontinental GT Series) during the annual press conference at the Total 24 Hours of Spa on July 27.