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Callaway Set for Hiatus from PWC

Callaway Competition will miss the next three Pirelli World Challenge rounds…

Photo: Brian Cleary/BCPix.com

Callaway Competition USA will miss the upcoming Pirelli World Challenge round at Long Beach and the subsequent events at Virginia International Raceway and Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, citing parts supply issues and scheduling difficulties.

The ADAC GT Masters championship-winning team and constructor is in its first year of PWC competition with the Corvette C7 GT3-R, which made its North American competition debut at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in March.

According to team principal Reeves Callaway, a shortage in the LS9-based engine blocks that are at the heart of the Callaway Corvette’s power plant, coupled with the beginning of the GT Masters season in Europe, have prompted the team to put its North American program on hold until the race at Lime Rock Park in late May.

“We have two contributing factors to our absence at Long Beach,” Callaway told Sportscar365. “We are in the process of shifting our engines to a new engine block part number.

“Our homologation was based on an LS engine block part from 2013, and that supply has been exhausted. The replacement engine blocks have just become available and are currently in testing.  

“Second, we have a race date conflict with the start of season in Europe for the ADAC GT Masters.

“We have elected to transfer [driver] Daniel Keilwitz from the U.S. operation to the European operation where he can best help us defend the championship. The existing engines will be reserved for the start of GT Masters season.”

Callaway said the plan is to have the newly-homologated engine ready to contest the PWC races at Lime Rock, Road America, and Watkins Glen with Keilwitz as the driver.

The team initially announced a pair of the GT3-spec Corvettes for Keilwitz and American Michael Cooper but scaled back to a single entry just before the opening round.

Keilwitz claimed fourth and second-place finishes in his first two PWC starts but was forced to miss the Saturday race at Circuit of The Americas due to an engine problem that required the team to purchase a new block and rebuild the power plant overnight.

Keilwitz and co-driver Eric Curran were classified 19th in Race 2 at COTA on Sunday, after the car ran out of fuel.

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.

28 Comments

28 Comments

  1. Matt

    April 6, 2018 at 5:10 pm

    Wow…

  2. Almzkid

    April 6, 2018 at 5:30 pm

    World challenge gives up on gt3 by years end

  3. Grover

    April 6, 2018 at 5:44 pm

    What a joke of an operation, and a pathetic cover story. It’s obvious Callaway is full of shit and didn’t get the pay drivers or customers he thought they’d have in the US. Hmmm would I rather have a factory built and supported car, or some tuner garage project to compete against factory teams.

  4. Chips O'Toole

    April 6, 2018 at 5:55 pm

    Gee, who saw that coming?

  5. southcove

    April 6, 2018 at 6:00 pm

    Shame, seems like a few things were overstated just a wee bit…maybe it would have been better just to announce a limited schedule for 2018 and you could always add events if things come together.

    When you are backtracking at this speed, it just makes it all sound a bit hollow.

    Hope they can get it together, nice to see the car when it races.

    • Paul

      April 6, 2018 at 11:49 pm

      Nice to see a positive comment. Make no mistake, this US program DOESN’T reflect the craftsmanship and skill that the German outfit has. I can guarantee you if that entire group ran the car in PWC, it would be a very close 2nd in both titles. The car is brilliant, but the passion by the Americans made them prematurely debut this car. Fingers crossed they get their act together.

  6. Russ Adams

    April 6, 2018 at 6:05 pm

    And thats why gm didnt want them here .They knew what kind of a operation they was running.What a joke

  7. amlv20

    April 6, 2018 at 6:16 pm

    LMAO!!!!! call it what it is already,a JOKE!!! why everyone demanded callay be in imsa and pwc since gt3s were allowed I don’t understand.they are a joke with no money and scarred of putting a car in the walls at long beach……

  8. MikeK

    April 6, 2018 at 6:55 pm

    This has to be the most lame excuse ever. There are still LS9 engines available and honestly if it was a real problem just put in an LS3 and call it a day. There are a bazillion of them out there that are race ready and make the power they need. What a joke of an operation.

    • Sorry Reeves, not a fan

      April 6, 2018 at 7:18 pm

      Well to start, the LS9 excuse is bs but a great one based on honologation. They can’t switch to an LS3 without retesting and certifying the car. Now the fact they don’t have extras of a common engine in their standard kit baffles me. It’s like they don’t want to actually race or sell ANY cars. No one is going to buy a car if the engine takes 6 months for replacement.

      • Max

        April 6, 2018 at 8:14 pm

        Since the LS9 is based on the LS3 I bet they could get the car running and have the PWC give them an exemption to the homologation without a tear shed by a competitor.

        Whatever is going on here is clearly more nuanced than they’re letting on.

        • MikeK

          April 6, 2018 at 8:24 pm

          It’s called a waiver. The LS3 has the same bore and stroke as an LS9. Honestly, they could literally stick an LS3 in it and I doubt anyone would notice or even care. Also, why they chose the LS9 is really stupid anyway. What were they thinking? They literally had the LS3, LSA and LS6 to choose from that are all still being made, yet they chose an LS9.

  9. Simon

    April 6, 2018 at 7:12 pm

    I’m not sure whats more disappointing, the news or the total ignorance of those commenting? It’s almost as if this pathetic joke of a team hasn’t won titles in the most competitive GT3 championship in the world against multiple factory teams with their own in house built car? Admittedly it was probably a bit unrealistic to expect to be able to run both programmes at once given their resources but you can’t blame them for trying.

    • Sorry Reeves, not a fan

      April 6, 2018 at 7:19 pm

      No, but we can blame them for having ZERO back up engines. That’s just insane and frankly it shows me their competition in Europe really isn’t as good as claimed.

      • MikeK

        April 6, 2018 at 8:29 pm

        Plus a backup engine that is a Chevy V8. It’s not like it’s some super rare engine or really expensive. A 6.2l LS motor making that power is no more than $40K tops and there are about 100 engine builders in the US that could do it. Think about it. You show up in the US to race a Corvette and have an engine shortage. That would be like McDonalds having a shortage of burger patties in the US.

        • David the Shipper

          April 8, 2018 at 11:36 am

          “That would be like McDonalds having a shortage of burger patties in the US.”

          Seriously hilarious automotive irony… if it wasn’t somewhat true.

          The thing is, with better allocation of resources (money, engines, drivers), they could be competitive. I guess we’ll see if the replacement engine tale has any merit in the next couple seasons.

    • Zach M

      April 6, 2018 at 7:43 pm

      The Callaway Europe effort is managed and paid for by another group, which is probably why it has been successful. Doesn’t seem like the USA guys did any research into what it takes to run a race team. No way the Callaway Europe guys would run a program this ill prepared.

      • Paul

        April 6, 2018 at 11:53 pm

        My thoughts too. What’s sad is this team doesn’t reflect the capabilities of the car. Run properly it can win titles as we have seen…..

      • KW

        April 7, 2018 at 5:24 am

        Right. The European Callaway team is one of the best GT teams over here, but they obviously didn’t find the right people to run their US operation.

        • Zach M

          April 8, 2018 at 1:52 pm

          It sounds like this was a “if we build it, they will come” dream, thinking that this program would somehow bring in a flood of cash to run for the year. The lack of engines and the schedule conflict excuses don’t really hold water. that’s something they would have known months before the season started. Going from two cars to one…a full season to a few races… and a manufacturer being surprised it ran out of its own parts…says there was no funding to pay for it all before the European could. Callaway should have secured all that before selling this bill of goods to PWC.

    • GMANDTHEIRFANSSUCK

      April 7, 2018 at 12:59 pm

      Really Simon? ADAC is the MOST COMPETITIVE GT3 championship in the world?

      And you call others ignorant. BWAHAHAHAHA. Yeah, right.

      And yeah, they are pathetic. The engine excuse is really a joke.

  10. DEJ

    April 7, 2018 at 12:16 am

    Well… ???? I thought that “IF” they would make 3 races it would be a surprise.Some of you went along , but one of you said BS. Digging the hole right now RIP, Callaway. Sorry you won’t be around . You had a cool car . But the Excuses don’t hold up.

  11. TCR

    April 7, 2018 at 10:33 pm

    Well this is disappointing, bring back the Cadillac ATS-VR.

  12. The Rare Chevy V8

    April 8, 2018 at 10:54 pm

    Shambolic. However… I really do hope I get to see them run at Road America.

    Time will tell…

  13. Paul

    April 9, 2018 at 3:29 pm

    I feel like most of the people here want this program to fail. That or they are spoiled with 10+years of a factory team. Let’s not forget the ATS-V.R was a 900k GT3 car (not available to anyone) that was racing against cars 1/3rd the value. Where’s the honour in winning?

    With that said, The Callaway US program was a bit TOO ambitious with very little prep time (minus a healthy amount of money from GM they provide Caddy). Pair that with new mechanics who only saw the car a week before Race 1, it will lead to a less than smooth operation. Sometimes public statements aren’t what it seems…It COULD be something else. Who knows.

    Thankfully Keilwitz will be able to have a full title challenge this year with the outfit that knows how to properly run the car.

    • MikeK

      April 12, 2018 at 10:52 am

      I think that people would like to see it just actually run. When you make a big splash a few months ago with a two car team for a whole season, that’s exciting no matter what GT3 car they race. Then when it becomes a single car and then they miss race #3 because of an engine and then announce an hiatus. You can’t blame people thinking that that this program was more about PR. It actually makes you wonder if that whole GM not allowing them to run in the US was a straw man and when that was supposedly lifted, the assumption was that we’d see lots of Callaway Corvettes racing in the US, yet we see none. If there’s any country on the planet that has the interest and funding to race a Corvette, it’s the US. There should be two in IMSA and PWC running right now. In the end, something is fishy and it seems to be going on for a few years.

  14. Andy Flinn

    April 13, 2018 at 10:33 am

    “It actually makes you wonder if that whole GM not allowing them to run in the US was a straw man and when that was supposedly lifted, the assumption was that we’d see lots of Callaway Corvettes racing in the US, yet we see none.” — MikeK

    MikeK, don’t kid yourself. The GM ban on Callaway was real.

    Callaway mentioned it, dailysportscar.com reported it, and GM acknowledged it.

    Those of you hyping the zero sum game hoping that a Callaway failure will result in GM’s return to PWC should think again.

    • Markus

      April 18, 2018 at 1:54 pm

      Exactly. Make no mistake about this, Callaway US was too ambitious to show people how good this car is. And the car is dam good. This is what frustrates me the most. The problem is when an outfit that is pieced together last minute (whoever it is) to run a car, it will almost always result in mixed results.

      The smarter or more sensible thing to do would have been to enter either just Sprint X races or a handful of races on the West Coast (for budget reasons) to demonstrate the car. And only after they first complete extensive testing as it is a new team for just 2018. While the engine reason is valid, it shouldn’t prevent them from flying out an engine to CA.

      I’m sure Daniel wanted to prioritise ADAC after seeing the COTA issues. But that’s just a guess. Hopefully Reeves can take a better approach for building his customer support system if he has any hope of taking new customers for 2019….

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