The Pirelli World Challenge will kick off its 2015 season with a new standalone event at Circuit of The Americas next March, while crowning its end-of-year champions on the Monterey Peninsula at historic Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in September.
On Saturday evening, series officials took the wraps off its preliminary 2015 schedule, which features eight confirmed rounds and the potential of up to two additional events being added to the calendar in the coming weeks.
The championship will bookend with new standalone events, which will feature all six of its classes, headlined by separate GT and GTS races. The new-for-2015 Porsche GT Cup class, meanwhile, will run alongside the GT and GT-A class cars at all races next year.
“Over the past couple of years, we’ve looked at having one or two standalone events and now we’re looking at having up to four in 2015,” World Challenge President and CEO Scott Bove told Sportscar365.
“We see standalone events as being important. We also see being partnered with IndyCar as being important. Blending those two elements is critical for our future.”
Circuit of The Americas will host the season-opener on March 6-8, followed by a stretch of shared events with IndyCar at St. Petersburg, Long Beach and Barber Motorsports Park. The Long Beach round will return to being GT-only, but with the addition of the new GT Cup class in the same race.
Plans are being finalized for a new event at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, which could be run on Victoria Day weekend as a standalone round, or potentially a different date should IndyCar’s rumored trip to the circuit formerly known as Mosport materialize.
World Challenge will return to Mid-Ohio and Sonoma Raceway, once again with IndyCar, with the season finale having been moved from Miller Motorsports Park to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca but retaining the same mid-September date.
Other existing events currently not confirmed include Detroit’s Belle Isle and Road America. However, it’s understood the series is currently in negotiations with both circuits, along with a number of other venues for additional races in June and July, including one potential high-profile event.
Bove said they do not plan to have more than 10 total events per class, with each round being double-headers with the exception of Long Beach.
“We’re really pleased with the schedule, especially with the fact that we’ve had more opportunities and more invites to be at tracks than we have room on the schedule to accommodate,” Bove said.
“We’ve come a long way from the days of hoping to just get to any events. Now we’re being invited to go to some of the best circuits in North America.”
2015 Pirelli World Challenge GT/GT Cup/GTS Schedule (Preliminary)
March 6-8 — Circuit of The Americas
March 27-29 — St. Petersburg
April 17-19 — Long Beach (GT/GT Cup Only)
April 24-26 — Barber Motorsports Park
May — Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (TBC)
June/July — Event(s) TBD
July 31-Aug. 2 — Mid-Ohio
Aug. 21-23 — Sonoma Raceway
Sept. 11-13 — Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca