The Pirelli World Challenge 2016 is only a few short weeks away, which means there’s still time to get fully prepared and impress your friends by knowing all the things!
It’s been more than three months since the last official World Challenge race took place and since then; manufacturers, teams, and drivers have been hard at work perfecting their vehicles. Last year, the Manufacturers and Teams Championships weren’t really a shock when it came down to the finale. The Driver’s Championship however, was a different story. The saying is, “every race counts,” and those words definitely meant a lot more during last year’s final races. Only 61 points separated 1st and 2nd place in the GT (Grand Touring) class.
Before we get deep into the 2016 season, let’s take a look at how the previous season went down, plus find out who you should be rooting for when the Pirelli World Challenge kicks off in March at Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas.
Effort Racing – 1934 Points (Teams Championship)
Porsche – 95 Points (Manufacturers Championship)
The Porsche team finished 2015 victorious, becoming the GT Team Champions with three GT class wins, four GTA class wins, and 17 podiums. Currently, the championship winning team is riding the momentum of the previous season to prepare for another victorious year.
It was announced a few weeks ago that the team will return with a two car effort, upgrading to the new 991 spec Porsche 911 GT3 R. The team will take delivery of the cars in February and will have one month to prepare them to be race ready for the opening event.
DragonSpeed – 2313 Points (Teams Championship)
The 25-year-old New Jersey native, Frankie Montecalvo, who scored seven class victories in his DragonSpeed-entered Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3, was originally announced as a driver for the team’s Oreca 05 effort in the European Le Mans Series.
However, with those plans falling through last month, and having parted ways with the Elton Julian-owned team, Montecalvo is now in discussions with a number of new teams to field his gull-winged GT3 contender in PWC this year.
GT Cup Class
Kelly Moss Motorsports – 2309 Points (Teams Championship)
David Stone, co-founder of Kelly Moss, unfortunately was not able to see his hard work come to fruition. Not much could beat David Stone, but cancer unfortunately is a dark disease that takes even the greatest of the greats.
At the team’s home track, Road America, Kelly Moss raced in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama to lead an eight-podium effort on a weekend dedicated to David, who was unable to join the team at its home event due to illness.
Phoenix Performance – 1674 Points (Teams Championship)
2015 Pirelli World Challenge GTS Team Champions and 2015 SCCA Runoffs Winners Phoenix Performance will open the New Year in style, taking part in the SCCA Majors Tour in Florida. The Team has turned from preparing multiple Runoffs winning cars at Daytona last September to concentrating the winter on preparing for both the SCCA Majors season and the 2016 PWC schedule, where Phoenix will support a two-car Porsche entry from Calvert Dynamics
Ford – 98 Points (Manufacturers Championship)
Ford easily captured the GTS' Manufacturers' Championship over Aston Martin and Porsche, while Aquilante secured the runner-up position in the drivers' standings. Say what you will, Ford knows how to win in this class.
Skullcandy Team Nissan – 1733 Points (Teams Championship)
Last year, SkullCandy Team Nissan did a great job at the season opener, pulling the team together and really excelling in the rainy conditions. “Our platform is not exactly competitive enough in the dry as we saw over the weekend but the wet is the equalizer so that kind of took care of that,” Vesco Kozarov said.
Mazda – 126 Points (Manufacturers Championship)
Ernie Francis, Jr., won the TC class in his Mazda MX-5. There haven’t been many updates from the manufacturers, so perhaps nothing’s changed and they’ll see another victory this year.
Kinetic Motorsports – 2044 Points (Teams Championship)
Kinetic Motorsports led 2015 with the most points than any other team on the leaderboard. The team has been keeping their upgrades close to their chests so we’ll have to wait till practice rounds start to see what we can expect for this season.
Tech Sport Racing – 2081 Points (Teams Championship)
SCCA’s 2015 Spec Miata Champion Jonathan Goring will be joining Tech Sport Racing in the Pirelli World Challenge series and will serve as the data and telemetry analyst and driver coach. Nothing like a champion guiding your team to victory!
Don’t Miss the Pirelli World Challenge in Austin!
Now that you’re fully equipped, make sure you purchase your Official Ticket Package through Circuit of The Americas Experiences for the complete experience during the entire World Challenge weekend at COTA.
With COTA Experiences’ Paddock Club packages you’ll receive access to privileged views of the start/finish line, pit lane, and Turns 1 and 20. Each package comes complete with gourmet food, premium open bar, Paddock Building access, and more!