The Pirelli World Challenge will feature ten weekends next year, including an expansion to five standalone events, as the series has finalized its 2015 schedule.
Events at Road America and Miller Motorsports Park have been confirmed following the preliminary release of its schedule last month, while the date for a new standalone race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park has been set for May 15-17.
As previously revealed, Circuit of The Americas will open the season with a new, series-promoted event in early March, with the championship concluding at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in mid-September, a weekend which will be supported by Indy Lights.
“It’s the balance we’ve been trying to get to,” World Challenge President/CEO Scott Bove told Sportscar365. “We found that going forward, to strengthen our brand, we need to be at standalone events.
“However, the partnership with IndyCar is critical for us, both from a TV standpoint and for the fans. So we selected the five events that work well for our schedule.”
The 2015 schedule will not see a return to Detroit’s Belle Isle, an event that had been on the World Challenge calendar since 2012 and had grown popular among Detroit-based manufacturers GM and Ford.
However, Bove said space limitations would have resulted in a GT-only race capped to 30 entries, an option that would have not worked due to the series expansion of separate GT/GT-Cup and GTS races for 2015.
“Detroit is a track that all of us wanted to go to,” Bove said. “We worked probably harder to have it work than any other track. The track did everything they could do to get it to work.
“They have space and time limitations and unfortunately this year it isn’t going to work out. But we look forward to returning to Detroit in the future.”
Bove confirmed all events will be doubleheaders, with the exception of Long Beach and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, although the season finale will award double points.
Long Beach will again be capped to a 40-car entry, with the first 10 GT-Cup full-season entries enrolled guaranteed a place on the grid.
Bove said the five other GT-Cup entries that may not compete at Long Beach will be eligible for double points at Barber, in order to remain in the championship hunt.
Additionally, the St. Pete round will see the expansion of the weekend schedule to include practice on Thurs., Mar. 26 for the first time, due to the separate GT/GT-Cup and GTS race format.
All standalone races will also feature TC/TCA/TCB rounds, with one further event still to-be-announced.
The series, meanwhile, will announce its new TV contract next week.
2015 Pirelli World Challenge Schedule
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 15-17 — Canadian Tire Motorsport Park**
June 26-28 — Road America**
July 31-Aug. 2 — Mid-Ohio*
Aug. 21-23 — Miller Motorsports Park**
Aug. 28-30 — Sonoma Raceway*
Sept. 11-13 — Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca**
*Events with IndyCar
**Pirelli WC Headline Events