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40 PWC Entries For St. Pete

GT3 numbers down, GT4 numbers up

The entry list for the 2018 Pirelli World Challenge next weekend’s season opener at St. Petersburg has been released, and includes 40 cars across the four classes.

For this year’s round in Florida, there’s just 12 GT3 runners, eight in GT, four in GTA and zero in GT Cup. The numbers are significantly down on on last year, when 14 GT runners raced with nine GTAs and a further two GT Cup entries.

This decline, which was trailed by Marshall Pruett in last week’s This Week In Sportscars Podcast, is due to the absence of some of the bigger two-car teams in the series. Cadillac Racing (its GT3 programme done), RealTime Racing (set to join the TC ranks), Wright Motorsports (now racing in IMSA) and GMG Racing (down to a single GTS entry) among others are not present.

There is however, still some notable world class GT driver talent still on the grid. 2016 champion Alvaro Parente returns with K-PAX Racing, (which hasn’t filled the seat in its third Bentley), Porsche factory driver Michael Christensen will drive in the Alegra Porsche, Toni Vilander will drive an R.Ferri Ferrari 488 and reigning GT Masters vice champion Daniel Keilwitz will steer Callaway’s single Corvette C7 GT3-R.

There’s still one TBA in GT, in the #2 CRP Racing Mercedes AMG GT3. The rest of the seats, including in the GTS ranks, are all filled.

It will be interesting to see if Michael Cooper, who was released from his contract with Callaway this week due to the team being unable to build its second car in time, will appear in the entry. He has stated that he will still be attending the meeting as part of his search for a new full-time PWC drive.

In GTA, The most notable addition is former IMSA GTD team Dream Racing, which has entered its Lamborghini Huracan GT3 for Yuki Harata, last year’s GT Cup champion.

GTS and GTSA meanwhile, will make for a packed grid, with 28 cars on the list, up from 20 in 2017.

There’s 10 GT4 marques represented on the entry, which includes teams running cars from Panoz, Audi, Chevrolet, Ford, Ginetta, Porsche, BMW, McLaren, Mercedes and Maserati. The weekend in Florida will serve as the debut in the series for the Mercedes AMG GT4, BMW M4 GT4 and Audi R8 LMS GT4.

The three-day meeting on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida, will run from the 9-11 of March.