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Callaway: “Stars Aligned” for Ambitious Engine Rebuild

Reeves Callaway: “stars aligned” for Corvette C7 GT3-R to be on grid for SprintX Race 2…

Photo: Richard Prince/Callaway

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.

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

21 Comments

21 Comments

  1. KV

    March 25, 2018 at 6:38 pm

    THIS is the end of the line for the LS engine line;THE C8 WILL have a 4 cam 4valve head,all alloy engine,GM will homologate thi!s engine for GT3,and PROTOTYPE

    • Max

      March 26, 2018 at 3:31 am

      While I’m sure a hot new engine will be around in the next Corvette, this is hardly the end of the line for the LS/LT series. The Camaro, trucks, SUVs, and other performance sedans will carry them for a while. They’re cheap to make and perform well.

    • Andres

      March 26, 2018 at 5:18 pm

      Keep draming buddy, that will never happen

  2. Haskellb

    March 25, 2018 at 8:07 pm

    How do these guys call themselves a factory team? I started out pro Callaway and hoping this would pave they way for Vettes back into GTD. But these guys are pure amateur hour.

    • jaysfan

      March 25, 2018 at 9:11 pm

      I don’t think they’re “factory” team, that would be Pratt&miller Racing in GTLM/GTE PRO

    • Sorry Reeves, not a fan

      March 25, 2018 at 10:53 pm

      They are definitely NOT a factory team in the sense of a major manufacturer. They are the factory team for the GT3 version of the car, as in they are the homologated builder. GM could not themselves, or through P&M build and homologate a Vette GT3 car. But not having a spare engine, regardless of the we’re in the process of changing engines excuse, is just amateur hour from a team that has run well in Europe. Makes me wonder what they are doing over there honestly, it’s not like PWC is world-class racing so it shouldn’t be this hard. Makes me feel like Callaway thought everyone would want to be involved with a Vette GT3 and throw cash at him to sponsor the team. It’s not like he could build cars to sell to customers, he can’t build his own second chassis.

      • Andy Flinn

        March 26, 2018 at 10:35 am

        “GM could not themselves, or through P&M build and homologate a Vette GT3 car.”

        — Sorry Reeves, not a fan

        Uh, why not?

        GM authorized P&M to build GT3 Cadillacs for the PWC (just not for any customers) and then axed the program. What’s stopping GM and P&M from building a GT3 Corvette for the PWC? We know that until a GM ban is what barred Callaway from racing in the PWC.

        As far as a GM/P&M GT3 Corvette is concerned, I think you’re confusing “could not” with GM just doesn’t want to.

        • Should read the rules Andy

          March 26, 2018 at 6:55 pm

          Because the FIA rules allow only one builder per GT3 homologation. It’s a simple rule and written clearly. If PWC wants to use the FIA homologation they have to follow the FIA rules.

          • Andy Flinn

            March 27, 2018 at 10:31 am

            Should read the rules, FIA homologation?

            That certainly didn’t stop GM in 2009 from greenlighting P&M GT2 C6 Corvettes for the ALMS even AFTER Riley had already built an ALMS GT2 Corvette for Trans-Am and PWC racer Lou Gigliotti.

            Gigliotti raced his C6 Corvette FIRST in ALMS GT2 back when Team Corvette was still racing Corvette C6s in GT1. Later in 2009, both the Gigliotti Riley Corvette and Team Corvette’s P&M Corvettes all raced together in the same ALMS GT2 class. I saw them both at Road Atlanta.

            FIA homologation is a sham.

            So sorry, I don’t buy the FIA homologation excuse. Based a brief review of history, it just doesn’t pass the smell test.

      • jaysfan

        March 27, 2018 at 4:51 pm

        I don’t think Callaway Racing and Pratt&Miller are connected together in any way

    • Marcus

      March 26, 2018 at 9:47 am

      I’m torn with the Callaway USA program. I am a Huge Corvette GT3 fan, but the USA is a double edged sword. One hand, Callaway had 3-4 months to do a program after GM waited to tell Callaway with the Media, a decision they had known for almost 24 months…..while on the flip side, it was VERY ambitious for the US to put this together with zero recent infrastructure to handle it. Spare engine is an example.

      Germany on the other hand (where they are built), run a tight operation with factory like quality and consistent results. I hope COTA was a one off with this form. But I know in the past, people will hate on Callaway just to hate, so these comments were inevitable….

  3. DEJ

    March 26, 2018 at 10:17 am

    I don’t see Callaway with any success here. This engine issue is an example of unpreparedness.If they make 2 more races I will be surprised.

    • Andy Flinn

      March 26, 2018 at 10:30 am

      DEJ, Callaway already scored a podium finish (second on Sunday) and a fourth on Saturday in St. Pete two weeks ago.

      Apparently, you’re just now starting to paying attention to PWC.

      • DEJ

        March 26, 2018 at 10:34 am

        Just Lucky .Thanks for reminding me Andy .

  4. Andy Flinn

    March 26, 2018 at 10:40 am

    DEJ, “luck” happens when skill meets preparation.

    • Chips O'Toole

      March 26, 2018 at 11:05 am

      Andy, they appeared to have neither skill nor preparation at COTA. Even after the engine rebuild they were nowhere in Race 2. St. Pete was a good debut for sure, but I will also be surprised if this program lasts the full season.

      • Andy Flinn

        March 26, 2018 at 12:19 pm

        …and thus no luck at CoTA, Chips.

        But since many choose to ignore St. Pete, maybe we could wait until after race three of the season before we start throwing dirt on the Callaway PWC program.

        • DEJ

          March 26, 2018 at 7:55 pm

          Andy… Maybe their”Skill ?” and “preparation ?” will pay off at Long Beach. It “would ” be nice to see this team have success… but I have my shovel nearby.

  5. MikeK

    March 27, 2018 at 3:13 pm

    I love the positive spin on this. There’s no reason why the team shouldn’t have had a spare LS9 motor in the trailer. That tells me they are checking the car seats for change to pay for this program. For everyone that doesn’t know, GM SILL MAKES THE LS9. It’s not in an actual car but they have everything brand new from the bare machined block (for $3,800 plus $250 overnight shipping to anywhere in the US) to complete crate motors (for $12,000 plus $300 overnight shipping to anywhere in the US) along with just about any internal part you can imagine. Callaway needs to not make it seem than an LS9 is one rare bird, as it’s not. Plus they are in the US where they make the actual engine as opposed to Germany where they do not.

    I would interpret the phrase of “Stars Aligned” to “If we didn’t get a motor back in this thing by Sunday morning we were going to lose 100% of the rental”. This program has to be seriously be underfunded.

    • jaysfan

      March 27, 2018 at 8:51 pm

      They did announce fore the race season started, they were going to be 2 car race team and then we get a PR that only one car will run this season, so Mike, I do agree with your point. By they way, from what I heard, the hotel where they were at in Austin, they were looking in the couches as well, in between the couch cushions for loose change!

  6. Andy Flinn

    March 28, 2018 at 10:27 am

    Jaysfan, there’s exactly NO change LEFT in GM’s sofa for the PWC – and cars.

    And the two-car program GM entered in PWC last year?

    Gone.

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