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.”