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Callaway Confirms Cooper, Keilwitz for PWC Campaign

Callaway confirms Michael Cooper, Daniel Keilwitz as its full-season PWC drivers…

Photo: Cadillac/Callaway Performance USA

Callaway Competition USA has announced Michael Cooper and Daniel Keilwitz as its full-season drivers for the 2018 Pirelli World Challenge season.

The duo will campaign a pair of Callaway-built Corvette C7 GT3-R machines in the GT class with drivers for the SprintX rounds to be announced in the near future.

Cooper is the reigning PWC SprintX co-champion from his time the the factory Cadillac outfit and has won numerous titles in the series in his career.

Keilwitz has a lengthy history with Callaway in European competition dating back to his debut with the team in 2010, most notably the 2013 ADAC GT Masters Drivers Championship, and has more wins in GT Masters competition (19) than any other driver.

Team owner Reeves Callaway said he was thrilled to announce drivers of this caliber ahead of the program’s full-season North American debut.

“These are professional drivers,” Callaway told Sportscar365. “These are not drivers who are bringing funding.

“We are paying them all, we are paying them equally, we are paying them all well. That makes things easier.

“You’re only eligible to select from this group of very top-notch guys, and the remarkable thing is that there are quite a few top-notch guys right now. The choices are great.

“Michael is a great one here, and has years of experience on the tracks we’ll be competing on.

“Just based on experience with a guy who really knows the car well from Germany, we’re thrilled to be able to get [Daniel]. We got him by taking him off the market from both Mercedes and Ferrari.

“These young kids who are fast and have that special ability to move to the front in equally-matched machinery, those guys are worth a lot of money I think.”

The 28-year-old Cooper has significant ties with General Motors, having served as a factory driver for the brand since 2015.

He won the GTS title in his first year in that role in a Blackdog Speed Shop-prepared Camaro Z28 before graduating to the GT class with Cadillac Racing for the past two seasons.

“I’m very proud to be joining Callaway Competition USA for their factory effort next year,” said Cooper.

“The Corvette C7 GT3-R has already proven itself on track in Europe, and I’m eager to start testing.

“The team that is being assembled by Callaway is top-notch, and will no doubt put us in contention for the championship. This will be an exciting year for the car’s debut in the Pirelli World Challenge.”

His new stablemate Keilwitz said he is ready for the challenge of racing in a new championship with his longtime team.

“I’m really looking forward to join Callaway Competition for the Pirelli World Challenge in 2018,” he said.

“I have done a lot of races for them in Europe and now I’m really happy to join them also in the USA for my ninth year with the team.

“The car is really amazing and was performing really well in Europe against all the big manufacturers, so I’m sure that it will perform also well in USA.

“Of course we have to get some experience with the car on the new tracks, but we also bring a lot of experience from Europe to the USA from the past two years racing with this car.

“We clearly want to show that the Callaway C7 GT3-R is a great performing and winning car. I’m really proud to be part of this team.”

Ryan Myrehn is an Indianapolis-based journalist and sportscaster, covering IMSA and Pirelli World Challenge. Myrehn, a graduate of DePauw University, is also the host of Sportscar365's “Double Stint” Podcast.

4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. tracer

    December 7, 2017 at 11:08 am

    Good to see Cooper confirmed, should be a great fit and championship contender. Not surprising to see Keilwitz continue with Callaway here stateside given his long association with Callaway in Europe. I’d previously thought Gounon would be in one of the full season seats, but with Phillipi joining BMW I now see him with Land in IMSA and possibly doing SprintX with Callaway along with Johnny O.

  2. KAW

    December 7, 2017 at 11:09 am

    Keilwitz didn’t won this years drivers title, mostly because most of the second half of the season he was injured. Jules Gounon was one and only driers champ in GT Masters

  3. Romeokc10

    December 7, 2017 at 11:57 pm

    I was hoping Callaway would sign both Cooper and Johnny O’Connell from the now defunct Cadillac Racing Team. I loved watching those guys race when PWC was on their West Coast swing. It was awesome seeing Cooper do the double at the last race in Sonoma. But I can understand them wanting to go with two young guns. O’Connell is my age, damn it sucks getting old…..lol!!

  4. Just the Obvious

    December 9, 2017 at 5:44 pm

    O’Connell may show up for Sprint-X races, but my guess is that his full-season rides are done. Teams want younger talent, and Cooper showed he was competitive to Johnny in 2016 and totally over shadowed O’Connell in 2017. Yeah, I know, Johnny suffered through some issues not of his making, but the won-loss-podiumed tally at the end of the season is what prospective employers look at. And regardless of what people try to spin regarding BMW’s driver changes, Bill was eased over (but not out) for younger talent.

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