The 2017 Pirelli World Challenge Touring Car Championships have reached the halfway point in the season, and Mazda racers are off to a strong start.
The Touring Car A (TCA) class has seen the series debut of the fourth-generation MX-5 Cup race car, and it has scored five wins from the first six races. In total, Mazda racers have earned 16 of 18 podium positions in the TCA class and are leading the drivers, team, and manufacturers championships after six of 12 races.
S.A.C. Racing Teammates Elivan Goulart and Matt Fassnacht have been setting the pace, chased by Dean Copeland (Copeland Motorsports) and Eric Powell (Tech Sport Racing). Fassnacht opened the season with a perfect birthday weekend at VIR scoring two poles, and two wins, to take the early points lead. He backed up the wins with a second and three third-places for a total of six podium finishes from the first six races.
Defending TCA Champion Goulart finished second, fourth, second, and second, before breaking through for a pair of wins at Lime Rock Park. Goulart is the points leader among drivers. Copeland scored a win at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and has scored a second, fourth, and a pair of fifths. Powell has scored a pair of podium finishes and has not been lower than sixth in any race.
“Thanks to all of the Mazda teams for a great start to 2017. Seeing the Global Cup car debut in PWC has been a fantastic addition for our customers,” said David Cook, business development manager, Mazda Motorsports. “We expect a great battle for the championship in the second half of the year and can’t wait to see who will be crowned as champion when we get to Mazda Raceway in October.”
In the TC class both John Weisberg (BERG Racing) and Patrick Gallagher (Hooverspeed) have challenged for podium positions, but have been frustrated by minor issues while in TCB, Ted Sahley and Blake Thompson have been learning the ropes in their series debuts competing with Mazda2’s.
Also, Hale Motorsports has initiated an engineering intern program with a third-year engineering student from Smith College joining the team at Lime Rock Park.
The Remaining 2017 Pirelli World Challenge (TC/TCA/TCB) Race Schedule:
Aug 11-13 – Utah Motorsports Campus – Tooele, Utah
Sept 1-3 – Circuit of the Americas – Austin, Texas
Oct 13-15 – Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca – Monterey, California
Each event is a double-header, with two races per weekend, for a 12-race season.
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