Blancpain GT World Challenge America teams will have an increased allocation of Pirelli tires on race weekends, as well as the optional use of tire warmers beginning with next weekend’s round at Watkins Glen International.
Approved in a mid-season change by the SRO Motorsports America sporting board, GT3 teams will now have up to six sets of tires over the course of an event, with two sets either being brand-new or used tires for the practice sessions.
Previously, teams were able to utilize two sets of used tires only in addition to the previous allocation.
Additionally, teams will now be permitted to use tire warmers, a first in modern-day top-level North American sports car racing.
Tire ovens and blankets are among the approved methods, although the warmers cannot be located inside the pit garage, hot pit lane or on the grid, with transportation of the tires carried out to the car without thermal protection.
While the changes come mid-season, World Challenge America GT series manager Staci Langham told Sportscar365 it was only after an “unanimous” vote from GT3 competitors following the Sonoma round.
“We received feedback from GT teams regarding the number of tires they were allowed throughout the season, so after Sonoma the GT America teams were sent questionnaires regarding additional tires and the optional use of tire warmers,” she told Sportscar365.
“The vote was unanimous from the GT America teams for both additional tires to be used and that tire warmers be allowed, but are not mandatory.”
Chicken Hawk Racing, a manufacturer of tire warmers, tents and ovens, will be on-site at the Watkins Glen weekend to “assist customers and offer technical support” according to a company statement sent on behalf of SRO.
It’s understood other brands of tire warmers will also be allowed for use by teams.
The series returns to action on Aug. 30 – Sept. 1 at The Glen after a 12-week summer break.