Callaway Competition USA is working towards a full-season Pirelli World Challenge program that could see a second Corvette C7 GT3-R debut later this year, according to team owner Reeves Callaway.
The factory squad, which had announced a two-car effort featuring ex-Cadillac driver Michael Cooper and longtime Callaway ace Daniel Keilwitz, has scaled back to a single-car operation for this weekend’s Sprint season-opener at St. Pete.
Callaway said the extent of Keilwitz’s program in the solo Corvette remains to-be-determined, as the team works towards the rollout of additional customer cars.
“It depends on what the mix is going to be,” Callaway told Sportscar365. “We may cherry-pick the season, we may do just the Sprint races but we’d love to do all the races.”
While stating there’s a “pretty high” likelihood of being at the next round at Circuit of The Americas, Callaway admitted they’ve yet to determine Keilwitz’s co-driver for the SprintX race.
It’s understood the team has been in discussions with multiple drivers for the seat, in a format that plays well to Callaway’s history and success in ADAC GT Masters.
“The routine we know best is the SprintX format,” Callaway said. “We want to go from strength to strength.”
Callaway explained its initial PWC plans have been adjusted due to the the team’s decision to defend its GT Masters title with two cars this year.
Additional interest in the Corvette, including a recently confirmed customer in Japan that will take part in the Suzuka 10 Hours Intercontinental GT Challenge race in August, also played a factor.
“We’re a small organization based in Germany trying to find a way to justify whether we should build these cars in the United States or continue to build them in Germany,” Callaway said.
“The main problem with this debut is that we were only given three months of notice to do this whole thing, from sponsorship to logistics.
“But we really want to keep the momentum going.”
While featuring a mix of German and American crew this weekend, in the car’s U.S. debut, Callaway anticipates a lesser presence of Germans once the GT Masters season gets underway.
Callaway said a second car could surface in PWC later this year, should they secure a customer wanting to run in the series.
“If we can secure a client for here, we would be ready to have a second car in this series,” he said.
Keilwitz’s Callaway Experience Key to Selection
Callaway said Keilwitz’s previous experience and success with the Corvette was the driving force behind selecting the 28-year-old German over Cooper for the sole seat, although admitted it was “not an easy choice.”
Cooper was released from his contract last month after the team was unable to secure a full-season program for the reigning SprintX champion.
“We love Michael and were so happy to have him,” Callaway said. “But if you’re really going to stick to your strength in the guy who knows the car best.
“Daniel has been with the team for ten years; he’s super talented. His heart is really in this car.
“Why would we turn down the most experienced guy in this car?”