2015 was the twenty-sixth consecutive year for the Sports Car Club of America’s (SCCA) Pirelli World Challenge series. There were twelve race weekends – at some of these events, the series shared the venue with IndyCar and the United Sportscar Championship. On the other weekends, the World Challenge championship served as the feature event.

For the first time, the season opened in early March at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA). In support of the IndyCar series, the second event of the season was at Saint Petersburg - in previous years, St. Pete marked the start of the championship. Following Saint Petersburg were races at Long Beach, Barber Motorsports Park, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, Detroit, Road America, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Miller Motorsport Park, Sonoma Raceway and the season finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

In 2015, the series introduced two new classes – Grand Touring Sportsman (GTA) and GT Cup (GTC). Drivers and teams were now vying for titles in seven categories.

  • Grand Touring (GT) – This is the series quickest class and is predominantly cars that would compete in the FIA GT3 category. Examples of vehicles racing in this group include: Acura TLX-GT, Aston Martin Vantage V12, Porsche 911 GT3 R, Nissan GT-R GT3, Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3, McLaren 650S GT3, Cadillac ATS-V.R GT3, Bentley Continental GT3, BMW Z4 GT3, Audi R8 LMS, Lamborghini Gallardo GT3 FL2 and Ferrari 458 Italia GT3.
  • Grand Touring Sportsman (GTA) – This class includes the same vehicles as GT. However, the drivers are not considered professionals. Competitors in this category are evaluated after each event and based on their performance may be elevated to the GT class.
  • GT Cup (GTC) – This is a spec class for Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars.
  • Grand Touring Sport (GTS) – The cars in this group are similar to the GT vehicles but have additional preparation restrictions. This class is mainly comprised of Ford (Mustang Boss 302), Chevrolet (Camaro Z28) and Porsche (Cayman) products. In 2015, the GTS category witnessed an influx of new manufacturers: Maserati Gran Turismo, Lotus Evora GT4 and Aston Martin Vantage GT4.
  • Touring Car (TC) – This class is for smaller sedans and sports cars which are allowed some performance modifications. Examples of vehicles competing in this group include: Honda Accord, Mazda MX-5, Volkswagen Golf, Nissan Altima, Volkswagen Jetta, Nissan 370Z and Porsche Boxster.
  • Touring Car A (TCA) – Many of the cars competing in this class are the same as those found in Touring Car. What sets them apart is the minimum amount of modifications that can be made – most changes are to improve the safety of the vehicles.
  • Touring Car B (TCB) - The slowest of all the World Challenge categories is based on the Sports Car Club of America’s B-Spec class. Examples of vehicles competing in TCB include: Chevrolet Sonic, Honda Fit, Kia Rio, Mazda 2 and Mini Cooper.

Rounds eight and nine for the Grand Touring division of the 2015 Pirelli World Challenge series were held at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. Drivers in the Grand Touring, Grand Touring A and Grand Touring Cup classes would compete in two fifty-minute contests around the ten-turn 2.459-mile road course.

The start of Sunday’s race, round nine of the 2015 Pirelli World Challenge series, at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. Leading the field into corner one is the defending Grand Touring champion and pole-sitter, Johnny O’Connell, driving the No. 3 Cadillac ATS-VR GT3. Behind O’Connell is the second place starter, Kevin Estre driving No. 9 McLaren 650S GT3 and the Ferrari 458 GT3 Italia of Olivier Beretta.
After seven rounds, the reigning Grand Touring champion, Johnny O’Connell, had only one podium finish to his credit. At Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, his luck would change. O’Connell set a new qualifying record to put the No. 3 Cadillac ATS-VR GT3 on the pole. Despite pressure, he led the weekend’s first race flag-to-flag. On Sunday, O’Connell started first and never lost the top spot - winning by a margin of 0.539-seconds.
Like Johnny O’Connell, Brian Heitkotter swept his category (Grand Touring A) at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. Unlike O’Connell, Heitkotter had a victory, which he scored in the previous round at Barber Motorsports Park. In race one of the weekend, he chased the class leader, Frankie Montecalvo. Montecalvo made an error and Heitkotter slipped by for the lead and win. In the finale, he went flag-to-flag for the victory.
After seven Grand Touring Cup rounds, Colin Thompson had six class victories and a comfortable lead in the standings. The driver of the No. 11 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup continued his winning ways in race one at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. On lap-22 of Sunday’s contest, Thompson had contact with Sloan Urry. He was eventually passed by Lorenzo Trefethen and Phil Fogg, Jr but still managed to finish in the runner-up position.
Kevin Estre entered round eight at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park with victories at Circuit of the Americas and Barber Motorsports Park. In the qualifying session for race one, he was fourth fastest. When the second-place starter, Olivier Beretta, went wide on the first lap, Estre slipped into his spot and held the position to the checker. Contact on lap-7 of round nine took Estre out of contention; he finished sixth.
The Grand Touring podium for round nine of the 2015 Pirelli World Challenge series at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. In the center is the defending class champion, Johnny O’Connell, who won his first race of the season. Standing on the rostrum’s left side is the runner-up, Butch Leitzinger, who recorded his best result of the year. The final position on the podium is occupied by the third-place finisher, Chris Dyson.
Two Bentley Continental GT3 were entered in the 2015 Pirelli World Challenge series. The No. 16 car was driven by Chris Dyson. To date, the highlight of his season was a runner-up finish at Long Beach. During qualifying for round eight, Dyson recorded the fifth-fastest time. After battling with Olivier Beretta and Robert Thorne, he finished fourth. In the finale, Dyson benefitted from contact between the leaders to finish third.
On Sunday, Lorenzo Trefethen was able to capitalize on his competitor’s errors and earn his first Grand Touring Cup victory. Contact between the leaders, Colin Thompson and Sloan Urry, took the two drivers out of contention. Then the race leader, Phil Fogg, Jr spun in turn eight on the final lap, handing first place to Trefethen. The previous day, he qualified and finished third in the No. 13 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.
The No. 66 Mercedes Benz AMG SLS GT3 was driven by Grand Touring A competitor Frank Montecalvo. Montecalvo had a class victory in round four at St. Petersburg. He qualified on the class pole for Saturday’s contest at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and led until a mistake in corner three dropped him to a runner-up finish. In the finale, Montecalvo could not maintain the pace set by Brian Heitkotter and finished second.
Sunday’s Grand Touring A podium for the 2015 Pirelli World Challenge series at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. In the center is the driver of the Nissan GT Academy Nissan GT-R GT3, Brian Heitkotter, who won both of the weekend’s races. On the left side of the rostrum is the runner-up, Frank Montecalvo, who earned a pair of runner-up finishes. Completing the podium is the third-place finisher, Henrique Cisneros.
Butch Leitzinger drove the No. 20 Bentley Continental GT3. In the qualifying for Saturday’s contest, Leitzinger was the third fastest. During the race, he chased Johnny O’Connell and Kevin Estre to the final spot on the podium. Leitzinger started Sunday’s event in the fifth position. Contact between Kevin Estre, Olivier Beretta and James Davidson on lap-7 allowed Leitzinger to move into second and capture a runner-up finish.
The No. 61 R. Ferri Motorsport Ferrari 458 GT3 Italia was piloted by Olivier Beretta. The sports car veteran made his Pirelli World Challenge debut in 2015 and kicked off the season with a victory at Circuit of the Americas. Beretta started the weekend’s first race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park on the outside of the front row but finished seventh. An incident in on lap-7 of the finale resulted in an eighth-place finish.
It was a difficult weekend for the 2005 Pirelli World Challenge Grand Touring champion, Andy Pilgrim. Pilgrim’s Cadillac ATS-VR GT3 stopped at Moss Corner on Friday. Despite the crew’s best efforts, the car had to be towed back to the paddock. Problems plagued the No. 8 Cadillac all weekend. He retired on lap-1 of round eight with a mechanical issue. On Sunday, the car completed eighteen circuits before exiting the contest.
The 2015 Pirelli World Challenge series Grand Touring Cup podium for round nine at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park. In the center is the winner, Lorenzo Trefethen, who was the beneficiary of fellow competitors’ mistakes. On the left side of the rostrum is the points leader and runner-up, Colin Thompson. The final spot on the podium belongs to the third-place finisher, Phil Fogg, Jr.

11GTJohnny OConnellCadillac Racing/Cadillac ATS-VR GT325
24GTKevin EstreK-PAX/McLaren 650S GT325
33GTButch LeitzingerBentley/Breitling/Mobil 1/Bentley Continental GT325
45GTChris DysonBentley/Breitling/Mobil 1/Bentley Continental GT325
510GTMike SkeenDeVilbiss/Hawk Performance/Audi R8 LMS Ultra25
66GTRobert ThorneK-PAX/McLaren 650S GT325
72GTOlivier BerettaFerrariOntario/Toronto/Alberta/Ferrari 458 GT3 Italia25
89GTAMichael LewisEFFORT Racing/Curb-Agajanian/Porsche 911 GT3R25
911GTJD DavisonAE/ReplayXD/Nissan Nismo/Nissan GT-R GT325
1012GTABryan HeitkotterNissan GT Academy GT-R/Nissan GT-R GT325
1114GTPeter CunninghamRealTime/Acura Motorsports/HPD/Acura TLX-GT25
127GTFrank MontecalvoBayshore Racing/Mercedes Benz AMG SLS GT325
1313GTRyan DalzielEFFORT Racing/World PMO/Porsche 911 GT3R25
1415GTAHenrique CisnerosMOMO/Ferrari 458 GT3 Italia25
1517GTRyan EversleyRealTime/Acura Motorsports/HPD/Acura TLX-GT25
1616GTDuncan EndeMerchantSrvLTD/Linospresso USA/Ferrari 458 GT3 Italia25
1718GTAMartin FuentesFerrari 458 GT3 Italia25
1819GTAEric LuxRembrandt Charms/Monticello MC/Mercedes Benz AMG SLS GT325
1920GTAChristina NielsenAston Martin Vantage GT325
2022GTADan KnoxACS MFG/Lone Star Racing/Dodge Viper GT3-R25
2224GTABret CurtisSpectra/United Steel Supply/BMW E89 Z4 GT325
2327GTABill ZieglerSwisher Racing/BMW E89 Z4 GT325
2423GTAHenrik HedmanDragonSpeed/MercedesBenzAMG SLS GT325
258GTAndy PilgrimCadillac Racing/Cadillac ATS-VR GT313
2621GTATimothy PappasMercedes Benz AMG SLS GT30
2725GTMarc MuzzoFerrariOntario/Toronto/Alberta/Ferrari 458 GT3 Italia0
2826GTAJeff CourtneyKenda/RecStuff.com/Audi R8 LMS Ultra0
2929GTMike HedlundScuderia Corsa/Ferrari 458 GT3 Italia0
3030GTCColin ThompsonPorsche of Bucks County/PenVal/Porsche 911 GT3 CUP25
3131GTCSloan UrryEngel & Volkers/Porsche 911 GT3 CUP25
3232GTCLorenzo TrefethenTrefethen Family Vineyards/Porsche 911 GT3 CUP25
3336GTCPhil Fogg Jr/Zoro/TruSpeed/Porsche 911 GT3 CUP25
3434GTCMitch LandryDeep South/VersaCrane/Porsche 911 GT3 CUP24
3533GTCEduardo CisnerosMOMO/Porsche 911 GT3 CUP24
3637GTCVictor GomezPorsche San Juan/Porsche 911 GT3 CUP24
3735GTCPreston CalvertCalvert Dynamics/PhoenixPerf/Porsche 911 GT3 CUP17

11GTJohnny OConnellCadillac Racing/Cadillac ATS-VR GT336
25GTButch LeitzingerBentley/Breitling/Mobil 1/Bentley Continental GT336
34GTChris DysonBentley/Breitling/Mobil 1/Bentley Continental GT336
48GTMike SkeenDeVilbiss/Hawk Performance/Audi R8 LMS Ultra36
59GTABryan HeitkotterNissan GT Academy GT-R/Nissan GT-R GT336
62GTKevin EstreK-PAX/McLaren 650S GT336
711GTFrank MontecalvoBayshore Racing/Mercedes Benz AMG SLS GT336
83GTOlivier BerettaFerrariOntario/Toronto/Alberta/Ferrari 458 GT3 Italia36
913GTRyan DalzielEFFORT Racing/World PMO/Porsche 911 GT3R36
1016GTRyan EversleyRealTime/Acura Motorsports/HPD/Acura TLX-GT36
1110GTPeter CunninghamRealTime/Acura Motorsports/HPD/Acura TLX-GT36
1212GTAMichael LewisEFFORT Racing/Curb-Agajanian/Porsche 911 GT3R36
1315GTDuncan EndeMerchantSrvLTD/Linospresso USA/Ferrari 458 GT3 Italia36
1417GTAHenrique CisnerosMOMO/Ferrari 458 GT3 Italia36
1519GTAEric LuxRembrandt Charms/Monticello MC/Mercedes Benz AMG SLS GT336
1614GTAMartin FuentesFerrari 458 GT3 Italia36
1718GTAChristina NielsenAston Martin Vantage GT336
1820GTAHenrik HedmanDragonSpeed/MercedesBenzAMG SLS GT336
1922GTADan KnoxACS MFG/Lone Star Racing/Dodge Viper GT3-R36
206GTJD DavisonAE/ReplayXD/Nissan Nismo/Nissan GT-R GT336
2124GTABret CurtisSpectra/United Steel Supply/BMW E89 Z4 GT335
2228GTAJeff CourtneyKenda/RecStuff.com/Audi R8 LMS Ultra35
2426GTATimothy PappasMercedes Benz AMG SLS GT333
257GTRobert ThorneK-PAX/McLaren 650S GT325
2625GTAndy PilgrimCadillac Racing/Cadillac ATS-VR GT318
2723GTABill ZieglerSwisher Racing/BMW E89 Z4 GT30
2833GTCLorenzo TrefethenTrefethen Family Vineyards/Porsche 911 GT3 CUP35
2930GTCColin ThompsonPorsche of Bucks County/PenVal/Porsche 911 GT3 CUP35
3032GTCPhil Fogg Jr/Zoro/TruSpeed/Porsche 911 GT3 CUP34
3131GTCSloan UrryEngel & Volkers/Porsche 911 GT3 CUP34
3234GTCMitch LandryDeep South/VersaCrane/Porsche 911 GT3 CUP34
3337GTCVictor GomezPorsche San Juan/Porsche 911 GT3 CUP34
3435GTCPreston CalvertCalvert Dynamics/PhoenixPerf/Porsche 911 GT3 CUP33
3536GTCEduardo CisnerosMOMO/Porsche 911 GT3 CUP30

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