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SprintX to be Integrated into GTS Season

Pirelli World Challenge GTS class to feature standalone SprintX races in 2018…

Photo: PWC

The Pirelli World Challenge GTS class will feature standalone SprintX races integrated into its full-season championship in 2018, officials from WC Vision have announced.

It comes following a Sprint-only format for the series this year, with optional SprintX participation alongside the GT class.

SprintX events for GT and GTS will now be separated, with five standalone 60-minute, two-driver format rounds.

The SprintX schedule will see events for both GT and GTS at Circuit of The Americas, Virginia International Raceway, Lime Rock Park, Portland International Raceway and Utah Motorsports Campus.

Four GTS Sprint rounds, meanwhile, will remain on the calendar at St. Petersburg, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, Road America and Watkins Glen, with a GT-only standalone event at Long Beach.

“After talking with our teams and drivers about the success of the 2017 Pirelli World Challenge season we want to build on that in 2018,” said WC Vision President and CEO Greg Gill.

“We took a survey of all of our teams and felt it was important to make a few changes with the racing formats, weekend schedules and technical information.

“We’ll expand the SprintX format to GTS and shorten the racing weekends for logistic purposes.”

The GT and GTS classes will run to near-identical SprintX regulations, but with two exceptions.

Unlike GT SprintX which can feature all-pro lineups, GTS SprintX will be limited to Pro-Am and Am-Am driver pairings only.

Additionally, single-driver lineups will be allowed for GTS Am drivers, but they must comply with the mandatory pit stop.

GTS Teams Support SprintX Change

A number of current and new GTS teams have supported the change to the SprintX format, including series stalwarts GMG Racing.

“If last year’s growth of SprintX in GT is any indication, I truly believe the GTS SprintX class will be very successful as well, especially with the new GT4 cars coming out in 2018,” said team owner James Sofronas.

”There are still a few details to be worked out on driver classifications but in the long run, it opens up many avenues for competitors to split a budget or bring in a co-driver in the format.”

Ian Lacy Racing, meanwhile, has already firmed up an three-car Ginetta G55 GT4 program for next year that will see Drew Staveley, Frank Gannett and Steve Burns as full-season drivers.

“With the new specs in the latest Ginetta, we feel we can be competitive in both the GTS Sprint and SprintX events,” Ian Lacy said.

A pair of BMW TC entrants, meanwhile, will step up to GTS with the new BMW M4 GT4, including 2016 TC champion Toby Grahovec, who also supports the SprintX format.

“We look forward to the fierce competition and the strategies involved with pit stops and driver changes,” Grahovec said.

ST Racing team principal Kenneth Tan added: “Running SprintX was part of our plan, and we’re so happy with the Series’ final decision. We enjoy running in the PWC Series.”

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

8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Lame

    December 22, 2017 at 12:19 pm

    PWC have gone full NASCAR with their constant tinkering and tweaking.

  2. Chase

    December 22, 2017 at 1:02 pm

    I’m so confused with this series now

    • DEJ

      December 23, 2017 at 4:30 pm

      Hang on….. stage racing comes next !

  3. daedalus

    December 22, 2017 at 1:21 pm

    If it’s what the drivers and teams want then I’m ok with it. PWC exists for teams and drivers mainly the fact that it has fan interest is a bonus. The format is not much different to european races that have pro-am pairings.

  4. Jeff Wagner

    December 23, 2017 at 11:13 pm

    I’m STILL WAITING for people like Peter Cunningham that have an ownership stake in this once GREAT series and know better to LISTEN to the fans, step in and STOP all of this Sprint-X, and gimmic bullshit that everybody is speaking out against.

  5. Gerry

    December 26, 2017 at 1:23 am

    I have absolutely no idea what’s going on in this series any more. 453 classes with several thousand different championships going on per class with decreasing fields in all but the 27 touring car classes.

    Is it any wonder the standalone events have crowds of 4 people and a burger van.

  6. Sol Shine

    December 26, 2017 at 11:05 am

    Bring on the pay to play racers. That’s what this SprintX crapola is all about. They’ve managed to get the cost of racing so high that they have to fund this fake racing show through taking on paying drivers. I’m pretty much losing interest in PWC and similar, you can see better racing at SCCA regional races and at least they don’t try to snow you with BS like PWC does. PWC’s constant BS press releases “97 cars entered for PWC race at Track X”, which of course is spread over 9 or 10 classes. Do something about the cost of racing instead of snowing spectators with BS and funding your program from no talent rich wienies.

  7. Jerry

    December 26, 2017 at 10:18 pm

    I’d like to see Sprint X go to a 4 driver format. Each one gets 15 minutes. That way, it reduces the cost because you can get 3 paying drivers and they can spread out the cost. having a paid pro in the end for the last 15 minutes would be quite exciting.

    Then you can have a number of classes. There is the new Bronze Star rating (BS) along with the traditional Bronze and Silver. As we all know, Platinum is banned unless you are a GM driver because no matter how many championships you win, you are just a Silver because even though the factory is paying you, it’s just funneled through a team. Then there’s Panoz which is really not even a car company but it doesn’t matter because they can just build whatever they want.

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