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If you’ve never paid attention to the Pirelli World Challenge Series, 2014 will be a great year to start.
After bringing you pictures of the Cadillac CTS-V Race Car tearing up Sebring Raceway in Florida, we finally have some video to show you. The images are cool, but what you’re really after is the noise from the LSA V8 engine at full blast, sans catalytic converters or mufflers.
In case the 60 second video isn’t enough small-block V8 for you, the car makes its race debut at the World Challenge GT opener on March 25th. We’ll be watching.
Hit the jump to see the video
Less than a week after the Cadillac CTS-V Race Car took a bow at the Detroit Auto Show, it’s already had its first shakedown at Sebring International Raceway in Florida, and the all-black paint job looks even meaner than the Cadillac livery we saw in person.
Alas, there is no video, but it won’t be long before we can see the CTS-V in person or on television, as the car will be campaigning in the SCCA World Challenge GT championship, with the season opener kicking off in St. Petersburg, Florida on March 25th. The sound of an LSA V8 is already demonic, and we will sacrifice a bit of our hearing if it means listening to the beast roaring at wide-open throttle, sans mufflers.
Gallery: Cadillac CTS-V Race Car Test Session
With the cars prepped by Pratt & Miller and piloted by Andy Pilgrim and Johnny O’Connell, the CTS-V coupes should give stiff competition to the dominant K-PAX Racing Volvos.
The CTS-V Coupes will make their debut on March 25th at the season opener in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Hit the jump for the official press release
Ron Fellows may have retired from full-time racing duties with Corvette Racing and the American Le Mans Series, but he proved this weekend that he’s still the Mayor of Mosport in a Corvette.
The Mississauga, Ontario native and Corvette Racing legend has always been hard to beat around his home track, Mosport International Raceway, so it should come as no surprise that he claimed the top step on the podium during Sunday’s World Challenge event from behind the wheel of the Carlisle Companies/Cragar Wheels Chevrolet Corvette. The win didn’t come easy though, starting 2nd to Randy Pobst in the K-Pax Volvo S60 and having been passed off the start by Kuno Wittmer’s Dodge Viper.
Fellows quickly battled back against Wittmer, passing his fellow Canadian in Turn 10 before turning his sights on race leader Pobst. Running down the K-Pax Volvo, Fellows turned a record fastest race lap of 1:23.828 (105.602 mph), a feat that thrilled the hometown crowd. On lap 15, Fellows and Pobst went side-by-side down the front straight and through Turn 1, splitting the Touring Car Mazda RX-8 of Eric Meyer between Turns 1 and 2. Fellows managed to take the inside line for the downhill left hander and slowly pulled away from Pobst from that point on.
According to Fellows, ”I got a terrible start, but other than that it was just a matter of being patient. Even though I hadn’t raced here much lately, it comes back to you. To be honest, the slick conditions may have helped. I was hoping it stayed overcast, but our car is lighter than the Volvos and that was probably better. It was a lot of fun, and feels good.”
Having spent the day before at Laguna Seca for Corvette Racing’s 50th anniversary of racing at Le Mans, Fellows’ win at Mosport might not have happened if he’d missed his connecting flight from San Francisco to Toronto, having literally made the connection with 3 minutes to spare. As Fellows reported on his personal website, he was very pleased to have been able to race at Mosport on this historic weekend for Corvette Racing and because he hadn’t raced at his home track since 2007.
Pobst’s runner-up finish in the Volvo, combined with his Saturday race win at Mosport, extended his point lead to 47 over Wittmer and the Dodge Motorsports Viper (541 to 494), followed by Crescentini in the Centric Parts/Stoptech/GMG Porsche 911 GT3 (420), Andy Pilgrim (383) and Daskalos in his Daskalos Developments Dodge Viper (379). Volvo also extended its point lead in the Manufacturers’ Championship to seven (35 to 28) over Porsche. Dodge is third with 26.
There has been surprisingly little news about the Brass Monkey Nissan GT-R race team competing in the World Challenge series – party because other than their introduction, the cars haven’t generated much excitement themselves. Sure the GT-R is an amazing sports car, even holding a Nürburgring record at one point, but so far the two car effort has been relegated to the back of the pack in the lead GT class.
The GT Class is most certainly where the GT-R belongs, competing alongside Corvettes, Vipers and Porsches – as well as the awesomely capable Volvo S60s – but the development process is a slow one. This weekend the team ran both cars, with a best finish in the first race of a two race weekend being Tony Rivera in the No. 97 car in 10th. While in the second race Rivera managed 12th. Sadly neither finish was on the lead lap, but the potential is obvious with Rivera taking the Optima Batteries Best Standing Start award for moving up two positions on lap one in race one, while in race two he managed to gain five positions off the start.
We had a chance to get up close to the cars during the two-race weekend at Mosport International Raceway and were surprised to see differing levels of development with a carbon fiber trunk lid being used to save weight, while inside much of the factory dash remains intact. Fans of the GT-R and of motorsports will want to check out our gallery below.
GALLERY: Brass Monkey Racing Nissan GT-R
After a consistent season with five trips to the podium in six races, Huntington Beach, California native Brandon Davis finally took the checked flag this past weekend at Mid-Ohio in his Applied Computer Solutions/Sun Microsystems Ford Mustang Cobra.
Davis started from pole and had excellent competition from the K-PAX Racing Volvo S60 driven by Andy Pilgrim, until lap 17 when Pilgrim’s car suffered mechanical issues.
“I think Andy [Pilgrim] would have been tough, had he stayed around,” said Davis. “Getting out front, I was able to breathe a little bit and just run laps. When I saw that Andy dropped out, I was able to conserve tires a little bit.”
“After being so close for so long, it feels great to finally win this year. We’ve been on the pole but in the races, we just didn’t have the pace to win. So it feels pretty good.”
Rounding out the podium was Tony Rivera, of Missouri City, Texas, and James Sofronas, of Newport Beach, Calif, both driving Porsche 911 GT3s.
The win for Davis further solidifies his lead in the Drivers’ Championship with 733 points, leading Safronas with 656.
Full race results after the jump:
The Corvettes, Porsches and Vipers that compete in the SPEED World Challenge GT series are about to get some serious competition from a serious car – the Mercedes McLaren SLR 722 GT. The car was homolgated to World Challenge specs by The Racers Group (TRG) and our sources at the series tell us it will first see competition at the Autobahn County Club outside Chicago on July 24-26th.
Designed specifically to run it a spec series in Europe, the 722 GT is powered by a modified version of the supercharged 5.5-liter V8 and makes 680hp and 612 ft-lbs of torque. It also only weighs 3,200 lbs, meaning it can accelerate to 60 mph in just 3.3 seconds. Thanks to some serious aerodynamics and a significantly lowered ride height, the 722 GT is also capable of hitting 2 Gs in the corners.
No doubt the SCCA (the governing body for World Challenge) will level the playing field, forcing the SLR to either add weight or reduce horsepower… or probably both.
TRG Motorsports should still put on quite a show with the SLR as the team has plenty of racing experience, running cars in the Grand-Am Koni Challenge as well as in the Grand-Am Rolex Series. In 2005 and 2006 TRG competed with a Pontiac GTO.R team in the Grand-Am Rolex Series GT class, and has since been involved with a two-car Porsche effort in the GT Class.
See the Speed World Challenge series website for more info:
Follow the jump for all the specs on the McLaren SLR 722 GT
The No. 34 Kleinschmidt/Blackdog Racing Chevrolet Corvette topped the standings yesterday during the first round of practice sessions before the World Challenge GT season opener at Sebring International Raceway this Friday. Driver Tony Gaples of Libertyville, Ill., was just as surprised at his finish as anyone.
“It feels pretty good [to be on top], of course, but it also makes me a little nervous,” Gaples said of his unfamiliar position. “I’m wondering why, because I’m just driving like normal.
“The track was a little slippery, which plays into my benefit, because I’m used to driving in the wet. It’s good to be at the top. We’ve been coming here seven years now. It’s my favorite flat track and we usually do pretty well here. It still surprised me that we’re number one though. We get to enjoy for the next eight hours, until the next practice. We always hope to do well, whether that’s what’s happening or not is yet to be seen.”
Gaples ran a 2:11.686 around the 3.7-mile, 17-turn Sebring course on his second to last lap.
The 2nd and 3rd spots for the day belonged to Porsches with Rob Morgan posting a 2:11.771 in his No. 47 EverCleanse/NADA/TruSpeed Porsche 911 GT3 and Tony Rivera finishing with a best of 2:11.855 in the No. 97 Tax Masters/Mirage Group Porsche 911 GT3.
Gunter Schaldach grabbed 4th with a 2:12.083 in the No. 9 Lala Motorsports Dodge Viper with another Corvette (the No.3 Whelen Engineering machine driven by Eric Curran) rounding out the top five.
With surprises at the top of the pack, there were also plenty of surprises at the bottom with defending GT champ Randy Pobst completing just half a lap in his K-PAX Volvo S60. Other series frontrunners, Andy Pilgrim (Volvo S60), James Sofronas (Porsche 911 GT3) and Dino Crescentini (Porsche 911 GT3)never even got onto the track.
As for the lone Lamborghini entry, the No. 7 Gallardo driven by Dan Pastorini, it finished a distant 20th with a time of 2:30.707.
Full Practice Session results after the jump: