YOKOHAMA, Japan: The Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 will return to the Pirelli World Challenge Championship in 2017 in the two-driver SprintX events with Always Evolving/Aim Autosport.
Mexican ace and former GT Academy winner Ricardo Sanchez will team up with young American star Frankie Montecalvo for a single car title assault starting at the first SprintX round at Virginia International Raceway on April 29 and 30.
The GT-R NISMO GT3 was a race winner in Pirelli World Challenge competition last year with another GT Academy winner Bryan Heitkotter taking a pair of wins at the Utah Motorsports Campus.
Sanchez heads to the US championship after spending the past two seasons racing in Europe in the Blancpain GT Series with Nissan.
“After racing for the past two years in Europe, it’s really exciting to get the chance to race the Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 in the US,” Sanchez said.
“It’s a completely new chapter for me. I’ve got a whole new set of tracks to learn but the GT-R has been really strong in the U.S. and I’m looking forward to continuing my career in a new country.”
Sanchez has been preparing for his US debut by going back to his racing roots.
“I have been training on most of the tracks in the simulator and I’ve been looking at on-board videos from VIR,” Sanchez said.
“I think the GT-R could be really strong there because of the fast corners and the track is really quick. I really can’t wait. I know the car well and Frankie knows the tracks – I think we’ll make a great combination.”
Montecalvo is no stranger to success in the Pirelli World Challenge Championship, the American driver won the GTA class championship in the series in 2015 with seven victories. His racing resume also includes two assaults on the 24 Hours of Le Mans, a full season in the European Le Mans Series in 2013 and runner-up finish at the Dubai 24 Hours.
“I’m very excited to team up with Always Evolving and AIM Autosport in the Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 for the Sprint X Series,” Montecalvo said.
“I’ve always been a fan of the GT-R, both as a racecar and the streetcar version, and I’m very, very excited to be working together this year."
The SprintX Championship began last season with a limited number of races. For 2017, there will be 10 races over the course of five weekends – following a similar format to the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup which Sanchez raced in last season for Nissan in Europe.