IT’S ALMOST HERE – the 2016 season opener for the Pirelli World Challenge at Circuit of The Americas™, that is. Gorgeous, sporty vehicles from 7 different classes will line the grid to compete in a number of races that will play a significant role in determining the ultimate champions. Pirelli World Challenge hasn’t yet finalized the entry list for Circuit of The Americas, but is expecting a grid of around 90 cars for all classes.
Here’s (some of) what we know:
GT, GTA, GT Cup
Cadillac Racing is back at it after their standout season in 2015, having just recently debuted the new Velocity Red paint scheme on their No. 3 ATS-V.R. Cadillac driver Johnny O’Connell has earned four consecutive World Challenge GT Championships, and the move from black to red is intended to celebrate those achievements. Love the new red livery? Cadillac plans to make the color scheme available on production cars as well!
K-PAX Racing made waves in the GT class with their 3 McLaren 650S GT3s and 3 new drivers to match: proven factory driver Alvaro Parente, 2015 GT Cup Champion and McLaren GT Academy driver Colin Thompson, and a young but already experienced Austin Cindric. The team hopes to take the field by storm this year and there’s no doubt that they’ll present a force to be reckoned with.
2015 PWC Touring Car champ Corey Fergus will be moving up to the GT Cup class, driving a Porsche GT3 Cup car for Motorsports Promotions. The Calvert Dynamics / Phoenix Performance team tested with drivers Andrew Davis and Preston Calvert at Sebring recently and appear to be all set to run a two-car GT / GT Cup program this year.
The GTS class entry list has already begun to bulk up, changing things up from 2015 with more GT4 cars. Back-to-back GTS champions Blackdog Speed Shop will bring a two-car team of 2016 Z/28R Camaros to the table, driven by team owner Tony Gaples and decorated PWC driver Lawson Aschenbach. The pair of flat-black Camaros were tested this week at Circuit of The Americas with stellar results. They’ll have to compete with several new makes this season, but the team and its drivers are confident that they have what it takes to bring home Blackdog’s fourth consecutive title.
According to SportsCar365, “The GTS grid is expected to fill out with a series of newer cars, including the Racers Edge Motorsports Sin R1 GT4s, the Mantella Autosport KTM X-BOWs and the Maserati GranTurismo MC which was announced last fall.” We can’t wait to see everything the teams of this class have up their sleeves in 2016.
TC, TCA, TCB
These guys have made more of a splash than usual in the months leading up to the 2016 Pirelli World Challenge season opener. S.A.C. Racing announced a 5-car team of Mazda MX-5’s during the offseason, with two competing in the Touring Car class and three running in the Touring Car A class. S.A.C.’s accomplished team of drivers will include Elivan Goulart, Matt Fassnacht, Dr. Dan Williams, Anthony Geraci, and Dan Moen.
Driver shifts seem to be rampant among these classes in 2016 as well. Hale Motorsports is adding 4-time PWC race winner Joey Jordan and 15-year-old karting champion Henry Morse into the mix this season. Both will be piloting Mazdas – Jordan a Mazda MX-5 in the TC class, and Morse a Mazda2 in the TCB (B-Spec) class.
Check out the entry list trackers for each class or group of classes below, courtesy of NASportsCar.com:
Be There for the 2016 Pirelli World Challenge Season Opener!
This year’s season begins once again at Circuit of The Americas, the purpose-built track in Austin, Texas that also plays host to other noteworthy racing events like the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix™, MotoGP Grand Prix of the Americas™, and Lone Star Le Mans. This circuit features 19 turns and a 133-foot climb into a blind left turn, borrowing features from classic tracks around the world!
For unrivaled access to the 27th season of the PWC, look no further than Official Ticket Packages from Circuit of The Americas Experiences! Paddock Club packages ensure privileged views of the start and finish line, pit lane, and Turns 1 and 20! Your Official Ticket Package comes complete with access to Circuit of The Americas Experiences’ exclusive on-site hospitality venue in the Paddock Building, where you’ll enjoy gourmet food, a premium open bar, and closed-circuit television coverage of the races.