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A busy weekend of motorsports saw plenty of action including a milestone for one exotic car brand, namely, its first ever North American motorsports victory.
The 2013 World Challenge season is heading to the new Circuit of the Americas track in Austin, Texas this weekend and you can catch all of the action live streaming online.
A record 92-car field will be competing in the Pirelli World Challenge at The Circuit of the Americas on May 17-19, 2013.
For the eighth straight year, Long Beach will play host to the Pirelli World Challenge as the race returns to the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Only the GT and GTS classes will compete on the 11-turn, 1.968-mile street course.
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.
Earlier, we reported that Ford Mustang Race Teams sat out at the SCCA World Challenge race at Mid-Ohio as an act of protest, and the series has now spoken out regarding the issue.
Yesterday Acura announced it would field a two car effort at the 25 Hours of Thunderhill race later this year using its new ILX sports sedan. Now Acura has revealed that racing plans for the ILX might not stop there.
This weekend has plenty of motorsport options for those in Detroit, with Grand Am, Indy Car, and the Pirelli World Challenge going on at the same time.
Those interested in catching the Pirelli World Challenge Championship races from Detroit’s Belle Isle this weekend can tune into www.world-challengeTV.com to watch live streaming of the event. GT and GTS drivers will take to the track for two races, the first one starting on June 2nd at 2:50pm EST, while the second race will begin the following day at 11:50am EST.
The individual races will continue to be hosted on the site as well, so even if you miss the live streaming, you can still check back in to catch all the action.
Live streaming will also be available to those with Android phones, but Apple’s iPhone is out of the question due to its lack of support for Flash.
Honda has been criticized plenty for having lost its passion, building cars that lack the “fun to drive” experience of their predecessors. After the 2012 Civic Si was generally panned it seemed as though Honda got the message, announcing it would revamp the car ahead of schedule.
Another positive sign came when Honda unveiled a new Civic Si race car at last year’s SEMA Show, more recently committing to the SCCA World Challenge series as part of an increased motorsports presence.
This past weekend Honda flexed its motorsports muscle at Miller Motorsports Park in Utah, with involvement from not just dedicated racers, but even from the folks behind the desks. In the inaugural running of the new B-Spec series for sub-compact cars, topping the podium in the third of three races was none other than Sage Marie. Unlikely to be a household name even amongst the most dedicated motorsports enthusiasts, Marie just so happens to be the recently appointed head of Honda public relations in America.
“It’s remarkable that the cars from so many manufacturers were so close right out of the box, and it’s fantastic that the folks at World Challenge
put this class together,” said Marie to AutoGuide.com. “HPD put a great package together for the Fit, and clearly the Honda was the best car today!”
Extolling the virtues of the series, Marie commented that, “It’s a great way to get into pro racing in a competitive, low cost and low maintenance format, and World Challenge puts on a great show.”
Marie was far from the only Honda driver on the podium this weekend with Todd Lamb in the No. 71 HPD Honda Civic Si placing first, third and then second in the three races, while his Compass360 Racing teammate Ryan Winchester in the No. 72 HPD Honda Civic Si placed second, second and third in the three races.
As a result of the strong weekend finish, Honda now sits first int he manufacturer points race in the Touring Car series with 39, followed closely by Mazda with 34. Driver’s Lamb and Winchester sit second and third respectively in the Drivers’ Points.
With its first true sports car heading to dealerships in June, Scion is looking to beef up its motorsports presence admits brand boss Jack Hollis.
Speaking at a press launch for the new rear-wheel drive FR-S in Las Vegas, Hollis commented Scion’s continued presence in Formula Drift and how the FR-S is making the brand more “authentic.”
“Let’s be honest,” said Hollis to the gatherer journalists, “with the TC we’ve done more than we authentically should have” referring of course to its transformation into a rear-drive NASCAR V8 powered drift machine. Scion now campaigns the FR-S in drifting, Greddy-built FR-S driven by Ken Gushi.
As much as the drifting scene suits the Scion brand’s sport compact origins, many motorsports enthusiasts consider it to be less of a form of motorsports and more of a spectacle. With the FR-S having all the makings of a budget road racer, when pressed, Hollis elaborated on the future of Scion in motorsports.
“Drifting is something we’ve been enjoying,” he said, and commented that Scion will take the next step into traditional competitive motorsports thanks to the FR-S. “We’re expanding our lineup and you should expect that we will expand our racing teams’ influence and participation.”
RealTime Racing has become a staple of the SCCA World Challenge series over the last decade, racing some of the world’s top-bred Acuras to success. Now the team looks poised and ready to reclaim the manufacturer’s championship in the GTS class with their newly-upgraded V6 TSX race cars.
In 2010, RealTime Racing took home the inaugural GTS class Manufacturers’ and Drivers’ championship but last year they had to fend off V8-powered Ford Mustangs. Even though it was a fairly successful campaign with one win, two pole positions, and eight podium finishes, the second place in the manufacturers standings didn’t sit well with the team. In the off-season, RealTime Racing decided to swap out the four-cylinder powerplant in its race car for a more formidable V6.
For the 2012 season, the TSXs will be powered by Acura’s 3.5L VTEC V6 engine, which will give it the power it needs to compete with the likes of the BMW M3, Nissan 370Z, Mitsubishi Evo, Audi TT, and more.
“In order to improve the competitiveness of the TSX in World Challenge, we have moved forward with switching RealTime from the four-cylinder to the V6,” said Lee Niffenegger, Senior Engineer at Honda Performance Development. “Making the switch to the top trim level of our TSX engine line-up will enable RealTime to continue its record-setting performance in the Series, while further establishing this Acura model as one of the most successful in World Challenge history.”
Peter Cunningham, team owner and the winningest driver in World Challenge history, will be back behind the wheel of the number-42 RealTime Acura TSX, joined by teammate Nick Esayian in the number-34 TSX. You can watch the St. Petersburg doubleheader season opener live this weekend.
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.
Kia has just announced at the LA Auto Show that they’ve teamed up with Kinetic Motorsports to campaign a pair of Optima SXs in World Challenge. The pair of race cars will join the Rio 5-Door B-Spec that debuted at the SEMA Show earlier this month as part of Kia’s racing efforts with Kinetic Motorsports.
The turbocharged Optima race cars are set to enter the Pirelli World Challenge Championship and will compete in the Grand Touring Sport (GTS) class. Interestingly enough, the Optimas will be the first Korean vehicles to compete in the series and it’ll be interesting to see if Hyundai follows suit sometime soon.
Drivers for the two vehicles were not announced, but Kia did reassure us that Kinetic Motorsports will continue the successful Forte Koup’s racing efforts in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge.
GALLERY: Kia Racing World Challenge GTS Optima SX
GALLERY: Kia Racing World Challenge GTS Optima SX LA Auto Show Debut
Four of the eight venues for the 2012 Pirelli World Challenge Schedule has been announced, but the bigger news is the confirmation of the new Touring Car B-Spec Class, something we’ve been eagerly awaiting.
B-Spec races will only run at three of the eight event weekends scheduled, but we believe that this is merely a way to keep it affordable for the racers in that class. Over those three event weekends, nine B-Spec races will take place.
The four venues already announced were the Streets of Long Beach alongside IndyCar and ALMS, where only the GT and GTS classes will compete on April 13th-15th 2012. April 27th-29th 2012 will bring GT, GTS, Touring Car and Touring Car B-Spec to Miller Motorsports Park in Utah. June 1st-3rd 2012 will share again with IndyCar at Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix with all classes competing that weekend. Last of the announced events is the June 22nd-24th event taking place at Mosport International Raceway in Ontario, Canada. All classes will be competing as this event is the Pirelli World Challenge Headliner.
Four more venues and events will be announced shortly by the SCCA.
Kia will be joining in on the B-Spec racing series fun by offering race-prepped versions of the new 2012 Rio 5-door, joining the likes of the Mazda2 and Honda Fit. The B-Spec racing series is designed for low-budget racing enthusiasts featuring compact hatchbacks with little to no engine modifications. Kia will be working with Kinetic Motorsports to get Rio 5-Doors ready to race and is planning to announce more details at the upcoming 2011 SEMA Show.
Based on other B-Spec racing vehicles, we can safely assume that the race-prepped Rio will feature a roll cage, racing seats, harnesses, suspension modifications and a new wheel and tire package. B-Spec series racers are designed to compete in SCCA, NASA, Grand-Am and World Challenge race series. With basically stock engines in all of the vehicles, the race-ready Rio will sport the factory 1.6L that pumps out 138-hp and 123 lb-ft of torque, significantly more than either the Honda or Mazda.
Click here to read AutoGuide’s 2012 Kia Rio 5-Door review and see a preview of the 2011 SEMA Show here.
Johnny O’Connell landed his first World Challenge victory at the Mid-Ohio race track, giving Cadillac its first win since the final race of the 2007 season at Laguna Seca Raceway in California.
O’Connell’s number three car was in second place during Saturday’s race, but he lost control, slid off the track and finished in eighth place. O’Connell was eager to use the same plan for Sunday, but without the contact.
On Sunday he managed to slide through a crash on the last lap involving the leaders, squeaking through to beat Patric Lindsey to the finish line by a little more than a second. Andy Pilgrim in the number eight Cadillac fought a fierce battle with James Sofronas all day yesterday and finished in sixth place.
With O’Connell’s victory, he has moved up into fourth spot in the GT Series point standings, and Pilgrim is in fifth place. Porsche now leads with 56 points and Cadillac is in second place with 30.
“Today is really a culmination of an incredible amount of preparation, not only at the race shop but by our Cadillac team,” said Jim Campbell, General Motors U.S. Vice-President for Performance Vehicles and Motorsports. “What it shows you here today is that you have to be prepared, you have to pounce on every opportunity and when you have the chance, you’ve got to go. I am so proud of Johnny for being ready to take advantage and grab the win”.
Looking to improve upon some of the success the team found during rounds five and six of the SCCA World Challenge series, Cadillac Racing is competing with its duo of CTS-V Coupe race cars at Mid-Ohio this weekend.
So far the podium has been elusive, with the No. 3 car piloted by Johnny O’Connell forced off track only to battle back to 8th place. The No. 8 car of Andy Pilgrim came close, finishing fourth in the seventh round of the series. The race was won by Alex Figge in the Volvo S60, with Patrick Long in the No. 45 Porsche GT3 second and James Sofronas in the Porsche GT3 coming 3rd.
O’Connell and Long will have a second chance during the 8th round later this afternoon. Currently O’Connell sits 4th in the driver points while Pilgrim is 7th with Cadillac second in the manufacturer’s championship.
If you’re looking to get a feel of what it’s like to ride along with these pros. You’re in luck. Cadillac Racing has provided a narrated hot lap by O’Connell and Pilgrim, with an amazing display of speed and some excellent tips from two pros.
GALLERY: Cadillac Racing CTS-V Coupe Mid Ohio
Watch the video after the jump:
The Cadillac Racing Team used the grunt of its supercharged V8-powered CTS-V race cars to achieve some of the season’s best results over the weekend at Mosport International Raceway. And if you’re at all curious as to what its like to be behind the wheel of one of the big coupes, do we have a treat for you.
Ride shotgun for two laps of what Caddy hot shoe Johnny O’Connell calls one of North America’s “fastest and, probably, most dangerous race tracks.” O’Connell and team mate Andy Pilgrim even provide some commentary.
GALLERY: Cadillac CTS-V Coupe Race Car
Watch the video after the jump:
After a trying season, things are finally starting to turn around for Team Cadillac. Competing with a two car effort in the fifth and sixth rounds of the SCCA World Challenge series at Mosport International Raceway, Johnny O’Connell managed two podium finishes in his No. 3 CTS-V Coupe in front of a crowd that included General Motors North America President Mark Reuss.
In race one O’Connell moved from third on the grid to second on the start, then surrendering the position to the Corvette of Patrick Lindsey. O’Connell then took back second place when Lindsay encountered mechanical problems and then held on to second; the team’s best finish of the season.
In race two, O’Connell looked poised for a repeat but managed just a third place finish after a late race caution stopped him from hunting down Patrick Long in the No. 45 Privacy Star Porsche 911 GT3. Both races were won by Mike Skeen in the No. 2 CRP Racing/Cragar Wheels Chevrolet Corvette.
The No. 8 CTS-V of Andy Pilgrim placed fifth in both races of the weekend, helping Cadillac secure second in the manufacturer’s points race behind Porsche.
Rounds seven and eight of the World Challenge series take place August 5-7 at Mid Ohio.