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PWC Abandons Tire Changes for SprintX

PWC abandons tire changes for SprintX…

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

Pirelli World Challenge officials have abandoned plans for tire changes in its SprintX series, following a nearly unanimous vote from teams ahead of the season-opening round at Virginia International Raceway.

The 60-minute two-driver format, which sees a 35-car capacity field this weekend, was set to feature a mandatory four-tire change in the GT Pro-Pro class, similar to the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup, but had come under fire from teams, citing the increased costs related to the equipment and personnel needed.

“The teams voted at Long Beach that they didn’t want that,” PWC Director of Competition Marcus Haselgrove told Sportscar365. “The rules got adjusted based on the feedback and the team owners meeting.”

The mandatory pit stop will now feature only a required driver change, with no time limit for the all-Pro class and a 60-second minimum for Pro-Am and Am-Am driver pairings, added onto an expected 30 to 35-second pit lane delta for those classes.

PWC stalwart Peter Cunningham has supported the decision, owing to the additional expenses needed to equip his RealTime Racing team for pit stops.

“It was a pretty unanimous vote from the participants, so I didn’t have a problem with it,” Cunningham said.

“We weren’t the only ones that were asking questions on the feasibility of it.”

Absolute Team Bentley team director Ingo Matter added: “As a racing person, of course I want to go flat out and do whatever.

“But it’s a lot more money to get the right equipment and transport the equipment. If you want to do it, you have to do it properly.”

A handful of teams, particularly with endurance racing experience, however, were supportive of the initially planned format.

“We were in favor of it,” K-PAX Racing’s Darren Law said. “We felt it was to our advantage, with our experience with that. We had been practicing for it all winter long, getting ready for it.

“It’s disappointing that we don’t get to try and execute it. But as long as it’s the same for everybody, we’ll deal with it.”

Haselgrove said the pit stop format has been locked in for the entire SprintX season, but will remain open for possible changes next year.

“We won’t change it in the middle of the season,” he said. “That’s what they’ve requested, so I’m actually good with that.”

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

7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. JeffB

    April 27, 2017 at 11:53 pm

    If they voted at Long Beach, when was this announced to the teams? It seems really late in the game to even change the rule during the Long Beach weekend, and even more shocking if that were just made official today, with the cars already on site in Virginia.

    I would imagine nearly every team would have purchased the equipment they needed for the season in advance of St. Petersburg. They must have known by the time they left Long Beach of this decision, or I’d expect to hear howls of complaints if the teams had bought the gear they needed for the tire changes at VIR only to have the rug pulled out from under them at this late date.

    I guess a lot of teams had not invested in the tire change gear reading the positive tone of the article and the quotes in it. I would have prefered to see full pit stops, but I’m happier the participants aren’t complaining publicly about it.

    It seems pretty ballsy to not have the equipment you were expecting to need three weeks ahead of the first race where it would be used, especially knowing K-Pax has practicing for it and you don’t even own it yet!

  2. Kyle Murray

    April 28, 2017 at 1:49 am

    It’s incredible that this wasn’t discussed earlier. Really, you’re going to implement a new format for half the schedule, vote on a particular item of it after the season has already started, and then announce the outcome the weekend the new format is going to debut? I guess the SRO really is hellbent on this becoming Blancpain GT America.

  3. SkippyDoo

    April 28, 2017 at 4:29 am

    Lol. What’s the damn point??? It’s just like two races back to back. Just like regular PWC.

    Screw Sprint X..hilarious

    • Matt

      April 28, 2017 at 6:32 am

      Why are there minimum times for the pit stops too? Lol so they’re going to change drivers and then just sit in the pit lane? The other classes should have an equal chance for the overall win.
      You’d think not changing the tires would actually good because for the last 10 minutes you’ll get to see everyone slide around on worn tires but in reality the drivers will probably have to conserve the tires until the finish.

  4. junerace

    April 28, 2017 at 7:16 am

    WOW, that’s late news. the rule was a tire change from the onset…

    don’t care for no time limit for Pro-Pro but minimum time for Pro-Am and Am-Am. and now no tire change…

    PWC still needs some work…it just comes off as an Am managed series…

  5. B96v6

    April 28, 2017 at 7:57 am

    I’m just amazed that there is a series that listens to its competitors. IMSA – take note!

  6. Dave

    April 28, 2017 at 1:32 pm

    I would have thought they would make the Pro stops longer to give the other classes a fair chance No time limit for them and a 60second minimum for Pro

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