The 2014 season of the Pirelli World Challenge championship ended some time ago at Miller Motorsports Park, crowning Cadillac Racing with the Drivers and Teams titles, maybe being the last season of the hugely victorious Cadillac CTS-V.R model, as a GT3-spec car is coming for 2015.
But not only that, it will be remembered as the season that made the Pirelli World Challenge a hugely recognized championship, even though they only run in the United States and Canada. All the popularity that the PWC acquired was because of these points that I will talk below:
First – addition of a popular platform
2014 marked the debut of full FIA-GT3 spec cars added to the purpose-built GTs, and the addition of a popular platform did wonders to the series. This measure maintained the squads that already had a commitment with the series, like CRP Racing and KPax Racing, as well brought some new teams, as Dyson Racing made their return to motorsport after some months out of action since the end of ALMS. Thanks to this, we saw GT class car counts between 20 and 25 cars, what’s the regular car count in most of the national GT3 series worldwide. And maybe in 2015 the number of entries will get higher.
Second – proactivity
The guys of WC Vision, promoter of Pirelli World Challenge, didn’t lost time correcting everything that was needed to correct. The addition of FIA GT3 spec cars was one point, as well problems with their live stream capacity in the first rounds, when the unexpected influx of viewers was too much to their servers. This kind of proactivity makes success with the fans, making them continue to watch the series.
Third – international visibility
Not only the Pirelli World Challenge stream has a worldwide reach, thanks to internet, but the series attracted drivers and teams from outside the North America. The example of this is Reiter Engineering, that came from Europe with its Lamborghinis to race in USA. And to help this, Reiter had Brazilian GT ace Marcelo Hahn and Albert von Thurn und Taxis on the GT-A category, as well Czech Tomas Enge on the GT category. Other drivers like Germany’s Tim Bergmeister and Dane Christina Nielsen added foreign spice to the championship.
Fourth - a category for amateurs
In the same model that's used in Europe, a class for amateur drivers was created in 2014, named the GT-A category. It gave the guys that aren't full pro drivers a chance to fight for a title, without being out of running with the big boys. Although the standards for this class aren't really clear, it created some good racing this season, with Michael Mills and his EFFORT Racing Porsche being crowned the champion.
Fifth – close racing
Past years in PWC saw Cadillac Racing dominating everything, but even though the Cadillacs had crowned the Drivers and Teams titles they had trouble to get on the top. The strong opposition that brought trouble to the CTS-V.Rs appeared mainly in the form of the CRP Racing Audi of Mike Skeen and the Dyson Bentley of Butch Leitzinger, as well some partial entries, like Kuno Wittmer in his SRT Viper, Guy Smith with the other Dyson Bentley and Ryan Dalziel with the EFFORT Racing Porsche.
After the 2014 season, there’s no sportscar fan who doesn’t know Pirelli World Challenge, as the series acquired a real good fanbase, so there’s no way to call it other than a success. The plans for 2015 are coming to the public knowledge, some of them continuing what was a success this year and some are new things to make PWC even more popular. And as a declared fan of the series after what I saw, I only hope this to succeed.
PHOTOS: Pirelli World Challenge