Capacity 35-Car Field Set for SprintX Season Opener at VIR

Photo: PWC

Photo: PWC

A capacity 35-car field is set for next weekend’s Pirelli World Challenge SprintX season-opener at Virginia International Raceway, with series officials releasing the bumper entry list on Tuesday.

The new era of SprintX, which is now included in the full-season PWC GT, GTA and GT Cup championships, will see an impressive grid for the championship’s first visit to VIR in seven years.

ENTRY LIST: VIR

Twelve of the entries are GT Pro/Pro, which will compete for overall honors in the pair of 60-minute races, featuring pit stops with driver and tire changes.

The likes of Jordan and Ricky Taylor, Joerg Bergmeister, Laurens Vanthoor, as well as Blancpain GT Series stars Vince Abril and Jonny Kane, have been added to to PWC team’s full-season lineups.

Ricky Taylor has been listed in the No. 8 Cadillac ATS-V.R alongside Michael Cooper, with Johnny O’Connell teaming up with Jordan Taylor in the No. 3 car, although the pairings, per Cadillac, remain provisional.

Spencer Pumpelly joins Pierre Kaffer in the No. 4 Magnus Racing Audi R8 LMS, while Kyle Marcelli is alongside the newly named Ferrari factory driver, Alex Riberas, in the No. 61 R. Ferri Motorsport Ferrari 488 GT3 car.

Mark Wilkins and Tom Dyer complete the lineups for RealTime Racing, while Ryan Dalziel’s co-driver in the No. 2 CRP Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 remains to-be-determined.

The GT Pro/Am class, meanwhile, features 15 entries, including the series debut for Dream Racing with its Lamborghini Huracan GT3 for Cederic Sbirrazzuili and Larry De George.

Reigning GTA champion Martin Fuentes is set to return to PWC competition, having been listed in Scuderia Corsa’s Ferrari 458 Italia GT, alongside a yet-to-be-announced pro driver.

M1GT Racing is also set to make its first start of the year, alongside new-for-2017 Mercedes-AMG GT3 squads DXDT Racing and MCC Motorsports, the later in the GT Am/Am ranks, which features two entries.

A pair of GT Cup entries will also take part, one for Dream’s Pro-Am pairing of Alessandro Bresson and Yuki Harata in a Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo, and Autometrics’ Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car, for GT Am/Am.

Five GTS cars are also set to take part in the SprintX weekend, with two entries in Pro/Am and three in Am/Am.

PWC President and CEO Greg Gill said pit lane space ultimately set the limit for the season-opening round.

“With only 35 pit spots available, we have had to limit the SprintX entries,” Gill said.

“In the two-driver SprintX format, we’ll have many of the world’s best sports car drivers in the finest GT cars in the world. Coupled with our GTS Sprint races and a 54-car TC/TCA/TCB field it will be a great weekend at VIR.”

A total of 105 cars are entered for VIR across all categories, including a 17-car field in GTS Sprint.

GTS is split up between eight ‘pro’ class entries, including the return of St. Pete winner Andrew Aquilante, who was initially confirmed for the season-opening round only.

Despite being on a SprintX weekend, GTS remains a standalone, single-driver 50-minute format, except for the selected GTS entries also electing to participate in Sprint X that weekend.

The VIR round runs from April 28-30.

9 Comments

  1. tracer

    April 18, 2017 at 2:39 pm

    Pretty darn strong entry… might be harder for the boo birds to keep throwing shade at the sprint-x format after this weekend. Btw, BMW has to be pleased with the explosion of M235i Racings in TC this season…

    • Nick1

      April 18, 2017 at 9:19 pm

      Too bad they won’t be able to race the M225i next year since WC is bringing in TCR

  2. Icarus

    April 18, 2017 at 4:17 pm

    PWC caved to a group of whiners and got rid of the tire changes. Check their new rulebook released this week. Typical loser management from PWC. Sad.

    • daedalus

      April 18, 2017 at 6:09 pm

      I think a capacity grid proves that adopting the blancpain/britishGT sprint format was the right thing to do. The only downside with so many cars is that there might a a few cautions which is annoying in a sprint race, especially when cleanups in the US seem to take twice as long compared to Europe.

      If they have decided not to change tires it does not really make a difference. The blancpain series switched to the endurance tyre for their sprint races a while back and PWC also uses the endurance tyre so it will do 1 hour without falling to bits and any cautions will help further.

  3. Edgar Sanchez

    April 18, 2017 at 10:09 pm

    Evidence of the “Stephane Ratel” effect. Its does get a bit confusing with GT, GTS, and GT Cup further divided into pro/pro, pro/am, and am/am though.

  4. MB

    April 19, 2017 at 9:37 am

    Whoever the sales manager is for the BMW racing program is having a good year 🙂 Look at all those M235i!

  5. N8

    April 19, 2017 at 10:10 am

    Is this one exclusively for cable subscribers as well or will be streamed?

  6. Zone

    April 19, 2017 at 11:43 am

    Too bad GM won’t let the Callaway race the Corvette GT3 over here. Caddies don’t thrill me that much. Now I hear that maybe caddy gets a mid engine car. Sucks

  7. JeffB

    April 19, 2017 at 9:39 pm

    I can’t say I saw this strong of an entry list coming while watching Sprint-X last year. It looks like committing it to being such a major part of the championship has paid off for PWC.

    Now, does anyone at CRP Racing have Guy Cosmo’s phone number? He’s been rather underemployed lately.

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