The 2017 Pirelli World Challenge season is the twenty-eighth consecutive year for the championship. There are eleven race weekends. The Grand Touring Sport category title chase kicks-off in March at Saint Petersburg. This event is followed by races at Virginia International Raceway, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, Lime Rock Park, Road America, Mid-Ohio and Utah Motorsport Complex. The penultimate rounds are held a Circuit of the Americas with the finale taking place at Sonoma Raceway in mid-September.

An additional class was added to the Grand Touring Sport category in 2017:

  • Grand Touring Sport (GTS) – The cars in this group are similar to the Grand Touring vehicles but have more preparation restrictions. Drivetrain layouts include all-wheel-drive and front and rear-wheel drive. These cars may be powered by forced induction or normally aspirated motors. In previous years, the Grand Touring Sport class was mainly comprised of Ford, Chevrolet and Porsche products. In 2016, this category witnessed an influx of FIA GT4 vehicles which proved to be very competitive – Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport, KTM Xbow GT4, Ginetta G55 GT4 and SIN R1 GT4.
  • Grand Touring Sport Amateur (GTSA) – This class was introduced in 2017 and is created to accommodate drivers that are not considered professionals. However, competitors in this group are evaluated after each event and based on their performance may be elevated to the Grand Touring Sport category.

    Sonoma Raceway hosted the GTS season finale - rounds seventeen and eighteen in mid-September. During the Grand Prix of Sonoma, drivers would compete in two 50-minute races around the 12-turn 2.385-mile road course.

  • Round eighteen and final GTS race for the 2017 season. The pole-sitter, Ian James in the Team Panoz Racing Panoz Avezzano GT leads the field of fifteen starters through corner one. Slotting in behind James in the new GTS champion, Lawson Aschenbach who was gridded third in the Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro GT4. Trailing the two leaders are Martin Barkey in the KTM Xbow GT4 and the Porsche Cayman of Rodrigo Baptista.
    The No. 007 Aston Martin Vantage GT4 was prepared by The Racer’s Group. Driving the car in the GTSA category was Derek DeBoer. Deboer had competed in SprintX but this was his first weekend in the Sprint class. He was the quickest GTSA competitor and took the victory in race one. The following day, DeBoer started sixth but he was penalized for contact - working way through the field he was involved in another incident and was classified second.
    Ian James driving the Panoz Avezzano GT gave notice setting the quickest time in both practice sessions. James followed this performance up by qualifying on the pole for round seventeen. At the start, he shot into the lead and was never challenged winning by a margin of 1.368-seconds. It appeared that it would be much the same on Sunday when again he was the fastest qualifier. However, on the races first restart he was passed by Lawson Aschenbach.
    In the previous rounds at COTA, Lawson Aschenbach became a five-time Pirelli World Challenge series champion. The new GTS champ qualified fourth for round seventeen driving the Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro GT4. During the race, he was passed by Parker Chase and Derek DeBoer and finished sixth. On Sunday, Aschenbach fared much better – passing Ian James on a restart and scoring his second win of the season.
    A winner in 2016, Martin Barkey had not made it to the podium in 2017. It appeared that there might be an opportunity at Sonoma when he qualified the Mantella Autosport KTM Xbow GT4 on the front row. Barkey was unable to match Ian James’ pace but fended off some challenges to finish second – earning his first podium of the season. On Sunday, he started second but a late race incident with Chase Parker caused him to drop down the order.
    Rodrigo Baptista drove the No. 3 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR. He was third on the grid for the weekend’s first contest but could not hold off challenges from Parker Chase and Derek DeBoer and was fifth at the checkered flag. On Sunday, Baptista started fifth and during the race, he battled with Martin Barkey and Parker Chase. When these two made contact, he inherited the final spot on the podium.
    Compared to Sunday’s GTSA contest, Tony Gaples had a relatively uneventful third-place finish in round seventeen. Driving the No. 11 Camaro, Gaples was gridded fifth in class for the season’s last event. A penalty for Derek DeBoer and incidents during the race moved him into the lead. On lap-18, Gaples and DeBoer made contact in the ‘Esses’ – Gaples made heavy contact with the wall and officials ended the contest - giving Gaples the victory.
    In 2017, Parker Chase ran a limited schedule – he only competed at St. Petersburg, Mid-Ohio, Circuit of the Americas and Sonoma. But driving the Performance Motorsports Group Ginetta G55, Chase was always a threat to finish on the podium. In round seventeen, he was gridded sixth and captured the last spot on the rostrum. Starting fourth in the finale he raced with the leaders until contact with Martin Barkey dropped him to an eighth-place finish.
    The GTS podium for the 2017 season finale at Sonoma Raceway. In the center is the new GTS champion and driver of the Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro GT4, Lawson Aschenbach. To Aschenbach’s right is the runner-up and Saturday’s winner, Ian James. Completing the podium is Rodrigo Baptista who was victorious four times during the season.

    1GTSIan JamesTeam Panoz Racing / Panoz Avezzano GT30
    2GTSMartin BarkeyMantella Autosport / KTM Xbow GT430
    3GTSParker ChasePerformance Motorsports Group / Ginetta G5530
    4GTSADerek DeBoerTRG-AMR / Aston Martin Vantage GT430
    5GTSRodrigo BaptistaFlying Lizard Motorsports / Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport30
    6GTSLawson AschenbachBlackdog Speed Shop / Chevrolet Camaro GT430
    7GTSNate StacyFlying Lizard Motorsports / Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport30
    8GTSDrew StaveleyIan Lacy Racing / Ginetta G5530
    9GTSAlex LloydCRP Racing / Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport30
    10GTSAMark KleninKPR / McLaren 570S GT430
    11GTSATony GaplesBlackdog Speed Shop / Chevrolet Camaro GT430
    12GTSABob MichaelianRacers Edge Motorsports / SIN R1 GT430
    13GTSCarter YeungGMG Racing / Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport30
    14GTSAGeorge KurtzGMG Racing / McLaren 570S GT421
    NCGTSFrank GannettIan Lacy Racing / Ginetta G558

    1GTSLawson AschenbachBlackdog Speed Shop / Chevrolet Camaro GT418
    2GTSIan JamesTeam Panoz Racing / Panoz Avezzano GT18
    3GTSRodrigo BaptistaFlying Lizard Motorsports / Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport18
    4GTSNate StacyFlying Lizard Motorsports / Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport18
    5GTSDrew StaveleyIan Lacy Racing / Ginetta G5518
    6GTSATony GaplesBlackdog Speed Shop / Chevrolet Camaro GT418
    7GTSADerek DeBoerTRG-AMR / Aston Martin Vantage GT418
    8GTSParker ChasePerformance Motorsports Group / Ginetta G5518
    9GTSAGeorge KurtzGMG Racing / McLaren 570S GT418
    10GTSAMark KleninKPR / McLaren 570S GT418
    11GTSAlex LloydCRP Racing / Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport18
    12GTSCarter YeungGMG Racing / Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport18
    13GTSMartin BarkeyMantella Autosport / KTM Xbow GT418
    14GTSFrank GannettIan Lacy Racing / Ginetta G5511
    NCGTSABob MichaelianRacers Edge Motorsports / SIN R1 GT48

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