SAINT PETERSBURG, Fla., (March 7, 2018) – The 2018 Pirelli World Challenge championship begins this weekend on the streets of Saint Petersburg, Florida, and all eyes are on the North American debut of the Callaway Competition USA Corvette C7 GT3-R. The 2017 ADAC GT Masters championship winning machine, piloted by German driver Daniel Keilwitz, will compete in the Pirelli World Challenge doubleheader event, hosting the first two of 19 races this season.
In 1996, the team emerged victorious at their Grand Prix of St. Petersburg debut, with Almo Coppelli and the Callaway Racing Corvette clinching the S2 class win. Twenty-two years later, the team has returned, looking to repeat their winning effort on the famed street course.
In preparation for the event, Keilwitz tested the Corvette at Sebring International Raceway on Monday, clocking in seven hours on the 3.74 mile road course. While the test marked Keilwitz’s first time on a North American track, the young German took to the course quickly, setting satisfactory lap times as the team tested various setups on the car.
“We are happy to finally have the opportunity to demonstrate our Corvette C7 GT3-R in front of our North American fans,” said team owner Reeves Callaway. “We accomplished everything we set out to do at the Sebring International Raceway test, both with the Corvette and Daniel’s first time on track in the US. After witnessing Daniel adapt very quickly to a new circuit, I am confident that he will have no problem getting up to speed for this weekend’s event. The main target for us in St. Petersburg is to produce a strong result for the car and for Daniel.”
Keilwitz will be new to all 10 tracks on the 2018 schedule but has spent ample time studying track maps and onboard footage from previous races to get as acquainted as possible with each course.
“The test was my first time driving in the United States, and it went really well,” said Keilwitz. “The Corvette C7 GT3-R ran very well, and we’re looking forward to St Petersburg. We should have a good car for the first race. Now it’s on me to learn the track. I like street circuits, and I’ve watched a lot of onboard videos to prepare for this one. In my mind, I have the track down, but now it’s time to see it in person.”
Round 1 of the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg will begin Saturday, March 10 at 3:50PM Eastern, followed by Round 2 on Sunday at 3:15PM. Both races will be streamed live in their entirety at world-challenge.com.
2018 Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Schedule
Friday, March 9
- 9:50AM – 10:30AM GT Practice
- 2:25PM – 2:55PM GT Practice
Saturday, March 10
- 9:15AM – 9:35AM GT Qualifying
- 11:00AM Daniel Keilwitz Facebook Live Q&A on Pirelli World Challenge Page
- 1:00PM Meet and Greet at Garage, Open to Public
- 1:30PM Driver Autograph Session
- 3:50PM – 4:50PM GT Race #1
Sunday, March 11
- 11:00AM Meet and Greet at Garage, Open to Public
- 3:15PM – 4:15PM GT Race #2
Callaway Competition USA
Photos by Richard Prince
[VIDEO] Callaway Competition USA Testing Freshly Wrapped Callaway Corvette C7 GT3-R at Sebring
[VIDEO] Callaway Competition USA Unveils Racing Livery for the No. 26 Corvette C7 GT3-R
Callaway Competition Reveals Callaway C7 GT3-R Racecar and Announces Two Full-Time Drivers