The final rounds of the 2015 Pirelli World Challenge season take place this weekend, at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Leading the championship heading into the sole GT round on Sunday afternoon is reigning champion Johnny O’Connell, who has 1625 points at the moment with his #3 Cadillac Racing entry. His main competition comes from Olivier Beretta, who led the championship for most of the season. In the #61 Ferrari, he is only 26 points down on the leader.
Meanwhile, James Davison is in third place in the standings and, although he has a mathematical chance at the drivers’ championship, both O’Connell and Beretta would have to have very poor finishes. Ryan Dalziel sits in a similar position, and is currently fourth.
Last time out, at Sonoma Raceway, Kevin Estre and Renger van der Zande both scored a race win. Estre is fifth in the championship, whilst van der Zande was filling in for Dalziel.
Frank Montecalvo won the GTA championship at Sonoma Raceway, but the DragonSpeed driver will be wanting to solidify his lead by taking his eighth win of 2015.
195 points behind him is Henrique Cisneros, and third position is held by Martin Fuentes. The Sonoma rounds were won by Christina Nielsen and Montecalvo.
Colin Thompson leads GT Cup, but doesn’t need to worry about securing the championship – that’s something he’s already done. On 2160 points, the Porsche of Bucks County driver is an impressive 626 points clear of Sloan Urry.
Last time out, Thompson and Alec Udell – who is fourth in the standings – shared the GTC victories.
An exciting battle between Michael Cooper and Andrew Aquilante is promised in GTS. The former extended his championship lead at Sonoma, and is now 107 points clear of Aquilante. The Phoenix American Motorsports driver is still within reach of the title, however.
Andy Lee and Cooper took the wins two weekends ago, with Aquilante finishing 3rd and 4th, and beginning to bounce back following some miserable luck at Miller Motorsports Park.
There are three races scheduled for the Touring Car classes, which didn’t take part in the Sonoma Raceway round. This means that the TC title is still very much up for grabs. On 1342 points, Corey Fergus is in the lead, but Ernie Francis Jr., Vesko Kozarov, Adam Poland, John Weisberg and Alex Welch are all with a chance of taking the honours.
Last time out, at Miller Motorsports Park, Kozarov took a clean sweep, and so he will be looking to continue this run of good form heading into the all-important Laguna Seca rounds.
Jason Wolfe will face competition from Patrick Seguin and Tony Rivera in TCA for the championship, although the defending champion comes to California with a strong lead. He also won all three races in Utah.
Finally, TCB sees a battle between Johan Schwartz, who has already won nine races this season, and Glenn Nixon, who is 199 points down on the leader’s Chevy Sonic.
Both drivers took a Miller Motorsports Park victory, whilst the most recent round was won by Joey Jordan, but he is out of contention, currently 14th in the championship.
Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca
The Pirelli World Challenge returns to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for the first time since 2012, meaning that many drivers, even some of those in the running for championship titles, have none or little experience of the circuit.
A relatively challenging but fast circuit, Laguna Seca was opened in 1957 and has been a favourite amongst fans and drivers alike for many years. Overall, the 2.2 mile course has an elevation change of 55 metres, characterised by its infamous ‘Corkscrew’ corner.
The TC races take place at 14:25 local (22:25 UK) on Friday, 13:45 (21:45 UK) on Saturday and 08:45 (16:45 UK) on Sunday, whilst the sole GTS race is scheduled for 10:35 (18:35 UK) on Sunday. The action closes with the GT race on Sunday afternoon at 13:35 (21:35 UK).
The Checkered Flag will have individual reports for each race.