Pirelli World Challenge at Lime Rock

Superb GT3 action

The Pirelli World Challenge at Lime Rock Park featured superb SprintX racing action, with different winners both days. Wright Motorsports scored a sweep in both GT classes for Porsche on Saturday, Marc Lieb and Patrick Long securing the overall Pro win, Jan Heylen and Michael Schein taking the Am side. The Magnus Audi took second overall.

Sunday’s weather dawned cloudy, but sun broke through for most of the afternoon with warm temps. The SprintX race was a straight fight between the blue factory Cadillac of Jordan Taylor and Michael Cooper, and the dark grey Audi R8 of Magnus Racing, Dane Cameron and Spencer Pumpelly driving. They circulated nose-to-tail until the driver change; this is where Magnus secured the victory. Pitting one lap later than the Caddy, Magnus came out of the pits ahead. That was the race, the beautiful blue Caddy falling gradually back until the finish.

The Lime Rock bullring is very quick and these GT3 cars are impressive with their outright speed and technology. Many of the teams are factory-run or factory-supported, and so the standard of car prep and driving level is very, very high. The supporting GTS race was packed with cars this year, as new rules for 2017 ushered in GT4 rules and wildly varying cars, from the pure race car Sin to the almost stock Ferrari 488. The other support races for TC class cars were also fine. although relatively dominated by Mazda Miatas.

Balance of Performance makes this a very good show. The cars are obviously fast, great to look at, and they race nose-to-tail. This goes for all of the classes. The series has factory entries, factory drivers, factory presentation. While the SprintX two-driver format throws a pit stop wrinkle into the racing, it was no more exciting than last year’s one-driver format, which was also very exciting. The Pirelli series goes from strength to strength every year, with great cars, tracks and fan interaction. Every bit as good as the European Blancpain series, only it’s ours.

A bunch of photos from the Pirelli World Challenge at Lime Rock