Reeves Callaway says the “stars have aligned” for his team’s Corvette C7 GT3-R to be ready for this afternoon’s Pirelli World Challenge SprintX race at Circuit of The Americas, after successfully sourcing a replacement engine block for an ambitious off-site rebuild.
The California-based squad, in only its second PWC weekend, detected an issue with its Chevrolet LS9-based powerplant following opening practice on Friday.
While being a preemptive measure, a decision was made to rebuild the engine around a new block, which the team, with the help of Chevrolet, had found at a parts depot near Dallas, that evening.
It set into motion a nearly 500-mile roundtrip journey to retrieve the block, source a local engine shop and build up a brand-new powerplant in time for the second race of the weekend.
“There were many twists and turns for the stars to get aligned,” Callaway told Sportscar365.
“We took the engine out of the car; it wasn’t [completely] broken, so we had a good bunch of parts as nothing had blown up. But we had to have it all fit in a new engine block.
“We found the block at a distribution center in the middle of Texas, that was closed, on Friday night. We found the guy to open [the center] and he carried it, in the dead of night, to a drop-off point where we picked it up.”
Reeves’ son, Pete, a renowned engine builder, worked with Callaway Cars managing director Mike Zoner around the clock through Saturday afternoon on the rebuild, with the engine arriving at the track later that evening.
“It all worked out,” Reeves said. “The engine arrived at 6 p.m. last night and went into the car.
“There wasn’t really a moment to spare. Pete and Mike had been up for 40 hours straight, half of that was engine building and half of that was driving.”
Daniel Keilwitz completed a successful “hardship” lap Sunday morning, with the German and co-driver Eric Curran now set to take the start of Race 2 from the rear of the field.
Curran Banking on Past Experience
While having only gotten a handful of laps in the car prior to the issues on Friday, Curran remains upbeat on their chances.
“The good thing is that a couple of years ago, I went over to Europe and drove four races in [ADAC] GT Masters, in essentially the same car. So I have a bunch of seat time in it,” he told Sportscar365.
“On the flip side, Daniel hasn’t been here but knows the car really well. I’ve been here a million times. We’ve been able to overlay the data.
“We didn’t get as much track time as we wanted but I think we can be competitive and have a good package for sure.”
Callaway explained they did not have a spare engine on its truck due to an ongoing process to re-homologate the engine around a new, more readily available engine block.
The current engine is based on the LS9 unit, which is no longer in production.