Auspicious start for Callaway C7 GT3-R at St Pete
# 26 Daniel Keilwitz (Ger) took 4th and 2nd place in Saturday and Sunday in the Pirelli World Challenge doubleheader at St Petersburg FL, March 10 & 11.
Daniel drove chassis 002, formerly raced by Patrick Assenheimer (Ger) who opted for the Corvette in the ADAC GT Masters Series even though his family owns a string of Mercedes dealerships.
Per team owner Reeves Callaway at the PRI show, “We are happy to finally have the opportunity to demonstrate our Corvette C7 GT3-R in front of our North American fans.”
Callaway was authorized to present the C7 Corvette for FIA homologation, and to race and sell the car to teams worldwide on one condition - do not bring its GT3 Corvettes to North America during Cadillac's reign. The Cadillac program ended this year, opening the way because their winning record did not lead to more sales at dealerships. (Please note the exclusion of outside Corvettes did not apply to silhouette body tube frame chassis raced in the Trans am series).
The car was wrapped in graphics by Callaway Competition USA in Santa Ana CA.
It was then off for testing at the punishing Sebring airport circuit on March 5/6.
After which it put in a stellar performance at St Pete. Keilwitz survived a frantic start on Saturday and on Sunday was closing in and might have won were the race not red-flagged 10 minutes short of the end.
Looking back we note that a Callaway Corvette clinched its first US win in 1996 at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg with Almo Coppelli driving in the S2 class.
Callaway Competition, started in 1993, develops, constructs, and campaigns Corvette-based race cars with a long record of success at renowned tracks in Europe and the US like Le Mans and Nurburgring: and Daytona and Watkins Glen.
The PWC at St Pete was a treat for fans drawn by the Indy Car season opener. The Corvette C7 GT3-R competes in the GT class with exotics like Ferrari 488 GT3, Lamborghini Hurrican GT3, Porsche 911 GT3R, AMG Mercedes GT3, Audi R8 LMS, Bentley Continental GT3 and Aston Martin Vantage GT3.
The winner both days at St Pete was the # 96 Porsche GT3R of Scott Holbrook with 7 years of experience on the formula car racing ladder starting at age 16.
Photos thanks to Larry VanScoy and John Avery.
Daniel will be paired up with a “gentleman driver” in a different format on Mar 24/25 at CoTA.