One of the most ambitious projects in the Pirelli World Challenge Series will race for the first time at the Cadillac Sonoma Grand Prix, the season finale of the 2012 Pirelli World Challenge Championship.
With sports car veteran Craig Stanton at the wheel, the no. 24 MBBS - Evosport Engineering AMG CLK63 Black Series will compete for the first time in the Pirelli World Challenge's headlining GT class. Doing battle with race-prepared Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, Audi R8 LMS, Cadillac CTS-V, Chevrolet Corvettes, and Nissan GT-R's that race in the GT class, the no. 24 MBBS-Evosport CLK63 Black Series will be the only Mercedes-Benz to be raced professionally in North America. The team will compete full-time in Pirelli World Challenge in the 2013 season.
The car, which began life as an Evosport-tuned AMG CLK63 Black Series street car, is the culmination of a years' worth of development, fabrication, testing, and refinement by Evosport Engineering. The bespoke components created and developed by Evosport Engineering for the Pirelli World Challenge race car will be available to customers for a variety of Mercedes Benz/AMG street car models, adding to an already long list of leading performance parts Evosport has sold since 1999.
Stanton, from Long Beach, Calif., has one World Challenge start - and one victory - on his resume, winning at Long Beach in 2009. He is known as one of the fittest and fastest sports car drivers in North America. A former champion in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge and the Rolex Sports Car Series, he is a multi-time class winner in the American Le Mans Series including a win at Petit Le Mans.
"It has been a long road to get here, but I am very excited that we get to finally take our AMG CLK63 Black Series racing,"said Stanton. "The car is absolutely gorgeous and I can't wait for the racing world to see what the guys at Evosport Engineering have been working on this year. It is a work of art, and in my experience, cars that look fast ARE fast. I'm so proud of our build team. They have taken a true street car - a car that that was registered, insured, everything - and turned into a World Challenge race car. I can't wait to show everyone what it can do. World Challenge is very exciting - sprint races, standing starts, and lots of action with multiple classes. I can't wait!"
Team crew chief Chris Willis, who previously engineered ACS Express Racing to a World Challenge GT championship, is equally enthused about the debut of the no. 24 MBBS - Evosport Engineering AMG CLK63 Black Series.
"We have done a number of things that haven't been done before, including the development of a stand-alone ECU for the AMG M156 engine,"said Willis. "Functionality in concert with exceptional fit & finish were key in this development. We are approaching Sonoma with eyes wide open, as the car is still under development. From my experience in this series, the competition in the Pirelli World Challenge GT class is incredibly tough, and we are coming to it with a new build. Our goals are modest; to finish out the weekend in solid fashion and to show the reliability and potential of the car. We certainly have the right guy in the car."
The Cadillac Sonoma Grand Prix will be streamed live online at www.world-challengetv.com on Saturday, August 25, at 3:00 PM ET and Sunday, August 26, at 3:00 PM ET. The television broadcast on NBC Sports will be shown on Sunday, September 9th at 3:30 PM ET.