On Monday afternoon, Callaway Competition USA announced their intention to run a two-car factory team in Pirelli World Challenge’s GT class in 2018. The team will use Callaway’s Corvette C7 GT3-R, a GT3-homologated car that will race in North America for the first time.
Callaway Competition is very excited about the opportunity to show their wares in the United States.
“Joining the Pirelli World Challenge has been a long term objective for Callaway Competition,” stated Reeves Callaway, founder of Callaway. “Now the field is a roll-call of the most capable sports cars from every country. To do well here, you must beat the best in the world. What better way to showcase our iconic American car?”
The Callaway Corvette C7 GT3-R has been racing in Europe for the last couple of years, mainly in Germany’s ADAC GT Masters. Today’s ADAC GT Masters is very similar in format to Pirelli World Challenge’s Sprint-X races (60 minutes with a mandatory pit stop for a driver change). The only difference is that the series is exclusive to GT3-spec cars.
Despite racing for the past two seasons in Germany, the car was forbidden to race in North America by General Motors because GM did not want to have multiple models based on GM cars racing against each other. With the Cadillac Racing program ending, that is no longer an issue.
Callaway Competition USA will run the factory operation only in 2018. For 2019, they plan on supporting customers that race the car in North America and have no desire to race against their own cars.
“It’s a fantastic car,” Van der Zande told Frontstretch at Road Atlanta. “A good thing about it is that it has a lot of torque. The raceability of the car is very strong. Compared to the other cars that I’ve driven, for example, the Mercedes [AMG-GT3], they might have a little more downforce or a little more precision in how they drive. But, they have less power. In a drag race, you’ll beat [your opponent] to the next corner.”
The Callaway Corvette GT3-R is powered by 6.2-liter V8 engine that puts out roughly 550 horsepower. As van der Zande stated, that is roughly 50 horsepower more than most of the other GT3 cars.
The team did not announce any drivers for the effort in their press release.