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The 2013 Pirelli World Challenge season kicks off today in St. Petersburg, Florida and for the fourth year in a row is part of a doubleheader weekend with the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg IndyCar race.
The 9th annual St. Petersburg Festivals of Speed kicked off last night across the bay in Tampa with an extravagant display of jets, boats, luxury goods and, of course, exotic cars.
As promised the list of hardware on display was outrageous, and included a Porsche GT2 RS, a Koenigsegg CCXR, a matte-white Ferrari FF, a matte-blue Maserati GranTurismo, a Lamborghini Aventador, McLaren MP4-12C and the requisite Bugatti Veyron. We even spied a modified Fisker Karma on 22-inch wheels. And of course there were numerous classics, custom bikes and even an open wheel race car.
Look for full coverage from the main event at the St. Petersburg waterfront on Sunday.
GALLERY: Festivals of Speed
This weekend, the Pirelli World Challenge will throw a doubleheader event at St. Peterburg and WC Vision announced that Rounds One and Two will be streamed live online.
Both races are part of the Acura Sports Car Challenge of St. Petersburg presented by Pirelli, and those that are on the go with Android phones will also be able to catch the live feed. It appears that Apple iOS users will be out of luck as the stream will be done in Flash.
The online feed for Round One will kick off at 5:50pm EDT on Saturday March 24th, while Round Two will commence at 10:50am EDT the following day.
Sanctioned by SCCA Pro Racing, the Pirelli World Challenge is entering its 23rd consecutive season.
To watch the race, visit the World Challenge website.
Last October, IndyCar driver Dan Wheldon tragically passed away in a 15 car accident at the Las Vegas 300. The British-born driver had adopted St. Petersburg, Florida as his hometown, and the city has named a street Dan Wheldon Way in honor of him.
The street is found on the St. Petersburg race course and the street sign was unveiled by city mayor Bill Foster and Wheldon’s wife, Susie. Dan Wheldon Way also has significance to Wheldon’s career, found on Turn 10 of the course where Wheldon overtook Ryan Briscoe to win a race back in 2005. The ceremony took place during IndyCar’s annual media day where the vast majority of active drivers were in attendance.
“I just want to take the opportunity to thank my St. Petersburg family for all the love and support over the last several months,” Susie Wheldon said during the ceremony. “What a beautiful gift to be part of his legacy, and it’s something we can all share for years to come. Sebastian and Oliver will be so proud to know the impact their father had on this community and the world of motorsports.”
Many of Wheldon’s family and friends shared memories at the event while emotions still run high since the accident took place at the final race of the 2011 IndyCar season. There is no doubt that many will race with a heavy heart when the 2012 IndyCar season kicks off on March 25th at the Honda Grand Prix in St. Petersburg. Susie Wheldon has not yet decided whether she’ll stay in town for the race.
The 2012 season will also mark the debut of IndyCar’s new model, named the Dallara DW12 after the fact that Wheldon helped develop it last year before his tragic accident. Many have said that the new race car is much safer thanks to better technology.
Earlier today we reported that RealTime Racing would be taking their expertise to the new GTS class in World Challenge. So perhaps there’s a changing of the guard with a new manufacturer poised to enter the World Challenge Touring Car class – Scion
Toyota’s youth brand is no strangers to all forms of motorsports, sponsoring and fielding cars in road racing, time attack, drag racing and even drifting. Sure some of these cars aren’t even close to what you get off the lot as a commuter, but Scion has continued strengthened its brand and image by posting fast lap times and setting records. Two cars and three drivers will be campaigned throughout the season with all the world’s attention turned to St. Petersburg, Florida this weekend for the first race of the season.
The Scion tCs are equipped with a plethora of parts from OE Scion, TRD (including their supercharger, intercooler and big brake kit) and Dan Gardner Spec (DG-Spec), performance parts that Gardner has developed over three years of racing Scions. Gardner’s resume of racing includes 2009 championships in NASA PTC and WERC Endurance E1. His partner-in-crime for the No. 36 car will be Tom Lepper, veteran club and Grand-Am driver who took top honors in the US Touring Car Championship series in 2009. The second car, the No. 18 Scion tC, will be piloted by 18-year-old Robert Stout, 2009 NASA PTA National Champion.
Make sure to check out the full press release and a video of testing after the break. And be sure to have your TVs set and ready for the playback of this weekend’s event.
[Source: World Challenge News]