Virginia track challenge highlights versatility of Pirelli's tires

Jan. 1, 2020
A record-setting 65 competitors from all facets of the racing world battled for cash payouts and fastest-car bragging rights during the recent Pirelli Ultimate Track Car Challenge at Virginia International Raceway.

A record-setting 65 competitors from all facets of the racing world battled for cash payouts and fastest-car bragging rights during the recent Pirelli Ultimate Track Car Challenge at Virginia International Raceway.

Pirelli partnered with event organizers Grassroots Motorsports magazine to host the fourth running of the on-track competition, which “supports our strong interest in the tuner and grassroots sectors,” says Rafael Navarro III, director of motorsports and media relations.

“The event had great value to both Pirelli and the racers,” he recounts, “as we can provide material, the latest R&D and fast, durable product to myriad teams in a variety of platforms and powertrains. This year’s record entries were made up innovative and fast machines from locations as disparate as home garages to factory-supported professional efforts.”

Navarro notes that “any time Pirelli can bring its heritage of experience, innovation and speed to bear in the motorsports community to advance the sport it is a good thing.”

The battle to determine the ultimate track car competitor in the country “came down to a contest between two generations of mighty Mopars and a pair of road racing talents from different eras,” he says.

Veteran road racing champion Phil Currin returned in Glenn Bunch’s 800-horsepower 1974 Dodge Hemi Challenger while young French-Canadian star Kuno Wittmer strapped into his factory Dodge Viper ACR-X to compete. Knowing the Challenger had a nearly 1.5 second gap on the field, Wittmer took to the track in the day’s final session and pushed his 640-horsepower Viper to within .036 of a second of Currin’s overall winning lap time of 1:54.428. It was the closest fight for the overall ultimate title in event history.

 

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Currin also took top honors in the Über Varsity class as Wittmer’s narrow overall loss was cushioned by a nearly six-second margin of victory in the Shop Varsity category.

Other class winners included veteran John Meyers and his home-built Stalker powered by a Chevy LS3 V8 in the Independent Study class. Pablo Crespo is the only driver to compete in every Pirelli Ultimate Track Car Challenge event to date, and he finally hit the win column this year driving his Porsche 968 in the Shop Junior Varsity class. Independent Junior Varsity division honors went to Pete Challinor in his Caterham Super 7.

All class winners received a $500 bonus from Pirelli, which were just part of a prize pool amounting to more than $11,000. Other contributors included HRE Wheels, Dodge, Exedy, AEM Performance, StopTech Brakes, Koni, Redline Oils, SafeRacer and the Grassroots publication.

Results, photos and videos can be viewed at http://grassrootsmotorsports.com/utcc.

For more information, visit www.us.pirelli.com.

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