Why You Should Be Watching Pirelli World Challenge Racing

It's exciting, competitive racing with sports cars that are almost identical to the ones you see on the street. What's not to love?

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YouTubeWorldChallengeTV

Maybe I’m biased, but I don’t understand why Pirelli World Challenge sports-car racing isn’t even more popular with the fans than it is. Pretty much every complaint I’ve ever heard about being a motorsports spectator has been comprehensively addressed by the World Challenge head honchos and their teams. Don’t think there’s enough passing? In PWC they're passing everywhere: At the start, in the middle, on the grass, and in the final corner of the race. Don’t think you have enough time to watch the endurance races? Most PWC events are just 40 minutes long, from fractious start to furious finish. Don’t have any interest in watching spec racers or formula cars? The cars in PWC are directly related to the cars that you and I drive on a daily basis.

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In my case, that’s literally true. I drive a Honda Accord V6 six-speed coupe to work every day, but I also just got done racing a Honda Accord V6 six-speed coupe in the Touring Car class of the Pirelli World Challenge at Watkins Glen. You can . I won’t spoil the finish for you, other to say that I didn’t finish last and I won at least one award in Saturday’s race.

Since you’re here, though, I’ll explain PWC to you quickly so you know what to look for. There are five classes. The GT class is the top dogs, cars based on FIA GT3 specifications. This is where the big iron can be found; in the case of the Bentley Continental GT3, that’s literally true, but there are also entries from Acura, Porsche, Ferrari, Aston Martin, and Audi.

GTS is where you'll find FIA GT4 cars like the McLaren 570S GT4, BMW M4 GT4, Ford Mustang GT4, the AMG GT4, the Panoz Avezzano GT4, and others.

TCR is the newest class, containing the new generation of global-spec front-drive 2.0-liter turbocharged touring cars from VW, Audi, Honda, Alfa Romeo, and pretty much anybody else who wants to get in on the ground floor. The rule set is intended to work worldwide, so if you have a favorite car in the Pirelli World Challenge you can also cheer for it in overseas races from the UK to Japan.

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TC is the traditional bread and butter of World Challenge, featuring a broad mix of everyday cars including the BMW M235i, Nissan 370Z, and of course, the Honda Accord V6!

Last but definitely not least, we have TCA, which is the closest to a “showroom stock” class. Here you can watch the Civic Si, Mazda MX-5 Miata, Subaru BRZ, Toyota GT86, and other entry-level sporty cars running nose-to-tail at 120mph and above.

Our own race at Watkins Glen looked like it was going to be pretty tough. The Accord is no longer a front-running spec for this class; that torch has been passed to the lighter, more powerful Honda Civic Type-R and BMW M235i. We also were decidedly short on everything from spare parts to familiarity with the rules. To find out how we did, you can watch some of the included videos, check out the highlight show on CBS Sports tonight … or come back tomorrow! Even if you don’t particularly care about Honda Accords in professional motorsports, you'll definitely want to watch some of the absolutely crazy crashes and passes that happened at the final race weekend of the PWC year.

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