The provisional schedule for the 2017 Pirelli World Challenge season has been released at the annual SRO press conference, with major changes announced, including the separation of Sprint from SprintX rounds.
The series will have a ten-round calendar next season, and while SprintX has been increased from three to five weekends. These events will be standalone to the Sprint calendar.
St. Petersburg will host the opening round of the season on Mar. 11-12, with Sprint races for GT and GT4. The event will support the Verizon IndyCar Series at this round.
Sprint races will also be held at Long Beach, Road America, Mid Ohio and one TBA venue scheduled for September.
Meanwhile, the SprintX rounds are set for Virginia International Raceway, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, Lime Rock Park, Utah Motorsports Campus and Circuit of The Americas.
Stephane Ratel said at the press conference that the reasoning behind the shake-up in format is to aid U.S. teams with smaller budgets.
Ratel aims to provide teams with the chance to run a GT3 season for prices starting at just $230,000.
There will be an eight-hour endurance race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on Oct. 13-15, as part of the Intercontinental GT Challenge.
This will not count as points towards PWC competitors, but replaces the PWC season finale at the California track.
2017 Pirelli World Challenge Schedule:
Mar. 10-12 – St. Petersburg (Sprint)
Apr. 07-09 – Long Beach (Sprint)
Apr. 28-30 – Virginia International Raceway (SprintX)
May 19-21 – Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (SprintX)
May 26-27 – Lime Rock Park (SprintX)
June 23-25 – Road America (Sprint)
July 28-30 – Mid Ohio (Sprint)
Aug. TBD – Utah Motorsports Campus (SprintX)
Sept. 01-03 – Circuit of The Americas (SprintX)
Sept. TBD – TBD (Sprint)
Oct. 13-15 – Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca (Intercontinental GT Challenge)