Connect with us

PWC

Gill: SprintX “Here to Stay”; Tweaks Likely for 2018

SprintX “Here to Stay” according to PWC President Greg Gill…

Photo: Brian Cleary/BCPix.com

Pirelli World Challenge President and CEO Greg Gill has reaffirmed the future of SprintX, indicating that tweaks to the race length and format are in the works for 2018.

The 60-minute two-driver format, first introduced in 2016, has seen considerable growth this year, with 30-plus car grids for the majority of the events, which have been integrated into the overall PWC championship.

Gill said he sees the concept moving forward next year, with the likely addition of mandatory tire changes and potentially longer races that would require refueling.

“Definitely SprintX is here to say,” Gill told Sportscar365. “I think we’ll see the technical tweaks we’ve talked about before.

“We stopped, at the team’s request, from tire changes [this year]. We’ll certainly return to that. We think tire changes are going to be really important.

“The 60-minute format might increase slightly, but we’ll have to address the fueling that would go with that. So we’ll see when that time comes, and with the stakeholder’s input.

“We’ve already started those conversations now and looking at it.”

Gill said the proposal of extended SprintX races would still maintain the sprint racing format, although would not be drawn on a possible race length.

It’s understood the concept of 1 hour and 40-minute races have been floated to teams for feedback.

“It would be in minutes, and not hours [longer],” Gill said. “That’s something we’ll look at.”

While currently featuring a three-class format in GT, GT Cup and GTS cars, Gill indicated that GTS machinery could be dropped from the lineup in favor of a potential format shakeup to the GT4-based category.

The series met with GTS team owners for a stakeholder’s meeting on Friday evening to gain feedback and discuss possible changes for the future.

“Now that SprintX has run for a full season, now the GTS guys are asking what their place is in that. How do we fit?” Gill said.

“I don’t think they’ve successfully fit well within GT3 SprintX. So how do we address that?'”

While the 2018 PWC schedule is due to be released later this month, Gill indicated that details such as race lengths and potential SprintX format changes will not likely be announced until later this year, likely in December.

He reaffirmed the traditional Sprint format will remain unchanged at single-driver 50-minute races. 

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 FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Alistair Kidd

    August 12, 2017 at 12:24 pm

    A couple of thoughts on this if Sprint X is here to stay so that the racing is better and so that the races are easier to follow trackside and on TV.

    1. Only introduce tire changes if the races are over 60 minutes, this allows tire management to be part of the strategy. If everyone can have fresh tires after 30 minutes then it takes away that skill. Its also adds an unnecessary cost to the teams.

    2. Either eliminate the minimum time for a pitstop and driver change (as per Blancpain sprint) or have one minimum time for all competitors regardless of class. It creates confusion particularly trackside when cars are separated artificially after pit stops.

    3. Keep the GTS class as part of Sprint X if the races are going to be longer than 60 minutes. If they are a short 60 minute sprint then the GTS cars don’t really add to the show and they don’t get the coverage needed during the broadcasts.

    4. Use the series commentary team (Craemer/Fish/Lepper) to provide the race call trackside and not the local announcers so that there is an informative call for the fans (the trackside race call at Mosport) was awful and made the race even harder to follow.

    5. I know its not used in the US, but look at introducing Code 60 instead of the Safety Car for incidents. in short races the safety car procedure takes too much time out of a short race. There should also be severe penalties for drivers that speed during this process to protect the track workers (i.e. park the driver or take all the points away from the driver that they earned in the race). The safety car should be the last resort for an incident (e.g. Fred Roberts at mid Ohio) and not to recover a car that has is stuck in a gravel trap.

  2. Lame

    August 12, 2017 at 1:03 pm

    So PWC is becoming not PWC. Brilliant. Remember when no tire changes and no refueling was “how racing should be”? How thrilled are the teams with this? I know Eversely has been adamant on Twitter – no tire changes, no refueling.

  3. Lame

    August 12, 2017 at 1:05 pm

    And is there a more pointless class than GT Cup?

    • Lamer

      August 12, 2017 at 5:06 pm

      It’s going away for 2018

  4. Doogle -14

    August 12, 2017 at 3:45 pm

    I’m all about longer races in general, but I think there is a positive in having a series that distinguishes itself completely different than IMSA. As a fan of both IMSA and WC I like the difference. I would hate for this to add a cost element that may impact grid size in the future.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in PWC