UPDATE: DSC reached out to Reeves Callaway, who said he is disappointed that Cooper will not race with the team, and gave an official explanation of the reason behind the decision to run one car:
“(The reason for the second’s cars absence is because) the build of car two for North America was hampered by a late start and late programme decision, plus the added load of two-car defence of GT Masters championship in Germany.
“Without question we are disappointed to learn that Michael will not race with us. And with the delay in the start we thought it best to release him to be able to search for the best possible ride.
“We think very highly of Michael Cooper and hope to have him race race with us in the future.”
Callaway Competition has had to scale back its PWC GT effort for the opening round at St. Petersburg, Florida to a single Corvette C7 GT3-R for Daniel Keilwitz.
This news means that Keilwitz’ teammate Michael Cooper will not make the trip to the season opener. RACER has reported that the former Cadillac Racing factory driver is now searching for another drive for the season on short notice as a result.
He does still have a PWC SprintX drive confirmed for the season however, racing with Blackdog Speed Shop in a GTS class Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R with Andy Pilgrim.
The reason for the team’s inability to field two cars for St. Pete is due to the on-going preparations for its two-car ADAC GT Masters title defence. It is not yet clear when the second car will be ready.
Callaway released this statement regarding the decision:
“We are proud that the Pirelli World Challenge Grand Prix of St. Petersburg will be the North American debut of our Corvette C7 GT3-R! This car was highly compeittive in Europe’s ADAC GT Masters last year, clinching the championship for Callaway Compeittion.
“The team has committed two cars to the championship-defending effort, which has delayed the production of the second Callaway Competition USA car competing in the Pirelli World Challenge.
“We will provide a status on that car in the coming weeks. Daniel Keilwitz will proudly represent our team in the first race.”
In addition to the news that Cooper’s car would not feature in Florida, the team also revealed the livery for its 2018 programme.
A video of the colour scheme being applied to the car can be seen below:
— Callaway Competition (@CallawayCompUSA) March 1, 2018
Elsewhere, Callaway Competition has also appeared on the provisional entry list for the IGTC Suzuka 10 Hours, with a single C7 GT3-R. The entry list features an impressive 27 cars, representing 12 manufacturers, six months ahead of the meeting itself.
Callaway confirmed to DSC that the car for Suzuka is for a new customer team, and that more details are expected soon:
“We have sold a new GT3-R Corvette into competition in Japan,” Reeves Callaway revealed. “We understand that the team will enter the season at Suzuka.”
That arrangement seems to have been explained this evening by SRO in their preview for the race: “The German team, which is working in partnership with Bingo Racing, received an invitation to the event as part of its prize for winning last season’s ADAC GT Masters title.”
The PWC curtain-raising Grand Prix of St. Petersburg is set to run from March 10-11.