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Gill: “Best of the Best” in PWC GT Despite Depleted Entry

WC Vision President and CEO Greg Gill on PWC’s GT class decrease

Photo: PWC

WC Vision President and CEO Greg Gill believes this year’s Pirelli World Challenge GT field will feature the “best of the best” GT3 racing, despite the depleted field compared to recent seasons.

This weekend’s GT Sprint season-opener on the streets of St. Pete features 12 cars across GT and GTA, down from the 23 GT3-spec cars that took part in the race last year, following the withdrawals of several key teams including RealTime Racing, Wright Motorsports, Absolute Racing and Magnus Racing.

Additionally, PWC stalwarts Cadillac Racing concluded its factory program at the end of last year, while GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing also closed its doors after nearly two decades in competition.

The GT field, however, has seen a number of new additions, including the arrival of Alegra Motorsports, TruSpeed Autosport and the highly anticipated U.S. debut of the Callaway Corvette C7 GT3-R.

Speaking with Ryan Myrehn in this week’s Sportscar365 “Double Stint” Podcast, Gill said the category’s off-season transformation has been largely due to economics, particularly amid increased interest in the GT4-based GTS class.

“Looking at the [GT] grid this year, it’s not half the size it was a year ago but it’s definitely reduced because you see the economics of people entering into GT4,” Gill said.

“It’s simply more economical for them to race, and you see the evolution.

“[But you also see] GTS drivers such as Parker Chase and others stepping up and saying, ‘I want to run against world-class pros. That’s where I want to be’ and have come through the GTS/GT4 camp and stepping up.

“I think that’s going to be the storyline; whether you look at 15 cars, 13 cars or 20 cars in GT3, it’s going to be the fact that this is going to be the absolute best of the best racing out there.

“The people who choose to race there, they’re going to bring their ‘A’ game.”

In addition to former series champion Alvaro Parente returning to K-PAX Racing, which has switched from McLaren 650S GT3s to Bentley Continental GT3s, additional star power has come in the form of factory drivers Toni Vilander (Ferrari) and Michael Christensen (Porsche), driving for R. Ferri Motorsport and Alegra, respectively.

Reigning IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge Canada champion Scott Hargrove, meanwhile, also makes his PWC debut in a Pfaff Motorsports-entered Porsche 911 GT3 R and ADAC GT Masters front-runner Daniel Keilwitz in the lone Callaway Competition USA Corvette.

“When you look through the list of the entries… you see this great blend of globally recognized drivers, like Vilander and Parente and seeing [Rodrigo] Baptista step up out of GTS, and Parker Chase, the Callaway Corvette,” Gill said.

“It’s exciting and I’m really looking forward to how the grid lines up at St. Pete this week.”

Increased GTS Entry Proof of GT4’s Success

Gill feels that this weekend’s 28-car GTS field, featuring the series debuts of GT4 machinery from Audi, BMW and Mercedes-AMG, is proof of the platform’s success as a cost-effective option for drivers and teams.

“At St. Pete last year, we had 13 cars on the grid and people were scratching their heads… I was getting phone calls saying, ‘Wow, what do we do next?'” he said.

“This year, we’ll have 28 cars on the grid and probably 30-31 at COTA, using the SprintX format.

“It’s a testimony to the manufacturers and the teams and what goes on in motorsports all the time… People figure out where they can get the best bang for their buck and then follow accordingly.

“Certain classes grow, certain classes drop off… You always have to be adopting and adapting to new ideas and new formats that come out and classes that are available.”

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John



  1. GT3 Fan

    March 7, 2018 at 12:21 am

    This is all fine except for one thing. I don’t want my race cars dumbed down any further! GT-1 was not sustainable so Corvette dropped down to GT-2 and GT-1 died out. So, now GT-2 exists as GTE and the only place I can watch them is IMSA and Le Mans once a year.

    So GT-3 rises up because of its affordability and appeal to AM drivers. And it’s a raging success. Blancpain, World Challenge and even takes over GTD because it is so successful. And the cars still look aggressive and have a very, very impressive lineup of drivers worldwide to get excited about. I really feel like this is a golden age of GT racing like I have personally never seen before when it comes to the amazing lineup of brands competing at events like the Nurburgring 24, Spa 24, our domestic World Challenge and IMSA series, with races like the Daytona 24, Sebring 12 and Petit Le Mans even drawing entries from Europe.

    So now what happens? People start complaining GT-3 is now too expensive and griping that the GTD field is too small. Well sorry, I DON’T want GT-4 to become the top class. The cars are too simple. The aero is too reserved. We’ve come down so far from GT-1. I don’t want World Challenge GTS or Continental Tire Series cars to become the top class. They’re fine, but they are a support series level car. They don’t EXCITE me. Race cars need to have some “guts”. Some visual aggressiveness. I want this downward cycle to stop. Here. Now. Because if GT-4 becomes the focus of the GT world, the same thing will happen all over again and some day in the near future I’m going to be asked to watch showroom stock cars that don’t make any sound because those with the means will make GT-4 too expensive.

    Let’s find a way to keep the success of the global GT-3 era going. I don’t want anything less.

    • Matt

      March 7, 2018 at 1:59 am

      I was also going to comment something along these lines. GTE is now basically the same as 2000’s GT1 in terms of aero mods. However, now the cars have a lot less power. The fact that the top GT class has only 500hp compared with the 700+ hp back in the 80’s-2000’s is really lame. I totally agree with you about not wanting the GT4 class to become the main class. My interest would decrease significantly if this happens. I don’t want quiet, slow GT4 cars becoming the peak in GT. It’s already pathetic that many showroom versions of the cars that race in GT3 and GT4 are faster than the racing versions because of the SRO limiting engine power to low levels (for a top class race car). At this point, I’d rather watch showroom cars race each other with a full exhaust/track coilovers than watch the boring GT4 cars. It’s a shame because just a few years ago, the GS and GTS classes of IMSA and PWC had massive fields and some of the best quality racing the world has ever seen.

  2. Gaucherie

    March 7, 2018 at 3:42 am

    I’m perturbed by the PWC’s “This is fine” approach to dumbing everything down to GT4 level. Yes, it’s decent racing and a good variety of cars but it’s NOT a headline class under any stretch of the imagination. Hard to see how it’ll end up as anything different with half the GT3 field of last year. How long until GTS becomes GT?

    • Just a guy

      March 7, 2018 at 7:52 am

      WOW!!! That a politician level spin if I’ve ever heard one in the press release!!!!
      Good job Gill…..

  3. Andy

    March 7, 2018 at 9:43 am

    Well, I’ll disagree. Seems to me like there’s a serious amount of rose-colored glasses in this thread, especially with regards to PWC.

    If we look back at the history of PWC, it’s top-category was usually contested with relatively tame cars before the advent of the GT3s 4 or 5 years ago. For most of the 2000s the go-to-car in PWC’s top-class was the Porsche 996/997 Cup car, which really wasn’t much more spectacular than today’s GT4s. Similarly, back then you had sedans from Audi, BMW and even freaking Volvo in the top-class, all of them capable of overall victories. So if PWC dropped GT3 and made GT4 their top-class, it would more or less simply be a return to what was normal in the series ten years ago.

    Here’s a gallery from 2002 – really not a lot of big wings and wide fenders there:

    • JeffB

      March 7, 2018 at 7:39 pm

      The thing was, I completely skipped that entire era of World Challenge. I was too busy watching the ALMS with it’s GT1 cars. PWC didn’t excite me a whole lot back then, had either a bad or non-existent TV package and live streaming was not a thing back then. You kind of made my point for me in a way. I came back to the World Challenge with the rise of the GT3 cars, the increase in grid sizes and the can’t miss lineup of manufacturers.

  4. Andy Flinn

    March 7, 2018 at 12:32 pm

    I can’t imagine why classes (PWC, IMSA GTD) with McLarens, Bentleys, Lamborghinis, and Ferraris would be shrinking.

    After listening to people gripe about tube-framed race cars (like the Corvette C5.R) for years, I think the complaints about GT4s being too much like showroom cars are quite amusing.

    If you want the GT3 grid numbers to go back up make the class more affordable. Wait, that’s what GT4 is.

    • jaysfan

      March 8, 2018 at 5:14 pm

      Yeah well, GT4 can get expensive too, example? Riley built Camaro from what i read on this site in one of the comments section, it cost around $800000 just the car alone, plus your other expenses. As far as GT 3 class, Wayne Taylor said(unofficially) it cost $.5 to $5million to run a Lamborghini in Weathertech Series, so there are pro’s and cons both GT3 and GT$/GS classes

  5. Mv

    March 8, 2018 at 8:27 am

    Everybody likes to gripe about BOP.
    Now people gripe about the evokution of GT cars.

    The cost is what ruins it. An amateur GT3 budget today is close to what the GT1 budgets where, with GTE now costing similar to Prototype budgets.

    Its the manufacturers screwing it up, not the series. Constant arms escallation makes a class like GT4 appealing because its new and hasnt gotten out of hand yet.

    GT3 cars are now $700,000 without a spares package

    GT4 cars are in the $200,000 range.

    Which would you choose if you got nothing out of it other than a trophey?

  6. Jeff Wagner

    March 8, 2018 at 9:29 am

    W/C was at it’s GREATEST point EVER before they started to F*** with it and fix what wasn’t broken, and move away from the entire mission of the Series with SPRINT-X. Us fans PREDICTED lower car counts WOULD happen because of SPRINT-X! Us FANS have seen it before way too many times! We were completely ignored! To THIS day W/C/ Vision have continued with their “We know better than the 95+% fans that have made it CLEAR they DISPISE it”, and continued to try and force the square peg into the round hole. People like Greg Gill must think they know better than (to name only 3 of MANY MANY MANY more) fans like my Dad and I that have supported W/C at Mosport since day 1, or Andy Flinn watching W/C at his home Track too! Watching a Sprint-X race is a completely boring cluster F*** parade of stupidity with no way of knowing what is going on and who is where. It is VERY sad to see when you care about a Series and it’s being completely ruined, especially when the fans and Johnny O’Connell are the only ones that knew it was B.S. from day 1 and have spoken up about it since day in public.

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