Reeves Callaway believes they will have “a lot to learn” in the North American debut of the Callaway Corvette C7-GT3R, but is confident of delivering solid results its Pirelli World Challenge campaign next year.
A two-car factory effort was announced on Monday, which will be run under the Callaway Competition USA banner, with an all-pro driver lineup that’s to be announced next month, according to the company founder.
The GT3-homologated Corvette heads to the U.S. on the heels of a championship-winning season in ADAC GT Masters, which runs to a similar format to PWC’s SprintX races.
“I think our job is really to maintain the good momentium that the car has generated so far,” Callaway told Sportscar365. “Different tracks, different driver lineups, different levels of competition, I think we have a lot to learn on how it works in America.
“The good news is that we’re going into a series that’s largely the same template, in its format. The sprint race format with a driver change is something this team is proficient at already.”
Callaway said an all-new team is being assembled, which will likely initially be based at its West Coast headquarters in Temecula, Calif. before going on the road for the PWC season, which kicks off at St. Petersburg in March.
Two new Corvettes are currently in build at its workshop in Germany, with the first car to be delivered in time for the PRI Show next month, where it will confirm further details on the program, including drivers.
Callaway said they’ve received an incredible amount of interest already and is in the process of finalizing its Pro-Pro lineup.
“The whole effort depends on the driver selection,” he said. “All of the cars are very equal. It’s not the car that brings an advantage in this series; it’s really driver skill and I love that.
“It highlights that magic ability of a driver to go forward in really close competition.”
While a potential pre-season testing program has not yet been defined, Callaway is confident they’ll get quickly up to speed, especially given the championships’ similarities.
“The convenient thing is that they’re largely on the same [Pirelli] tire in Europe and in America,” he said. “Other than track conditions, we’re probably really close on the cars already.
“I’m pleased with the response. There’s always been this feeling that the Corvette was missing from the [GT3] lineup. There’s a tremendous installed fanbase of people who would like to see the car and see it do well.”
Focus on Factory PWC Team in 2018
Callaway said their full focus will be on the two-car PWC operation next year, with no other races in North America planned.
“That’s the only effort we will pursue for the initial year,” he said. “Since we only have one chance to make a first impression, it will be important to launch the car. We feel a concentrated effort in one series is easier for us to control and do well.
“The plan is to not campaign factory cars in 2019, simply to stand back and support customer racing, as GT3 is supposed to do.”