The biggest

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Pirelli World Challenge: the pride of America
What’s the biggest and most closely fought motorsport championship in the world? Not rush hour on the ring road in Rome, as some people have suggested. Unsurprisingly, given that we’re talking big, it’s in America. So step forward the Pirelli World Challenge. Now in its 28th year, this is arguably the biggest championship in the world, involving more than 20 manufacturers with around 100 cars (split into seven classes) at each round. And every car runs on Pirelli tyres.
The season consists of 11 race weekends on well-known tracks throughout the United States and Canada, including Laguna Seca, Saint Petersburg, Long Beach and of course the Circuit of the Americas: the venue for this weekend’s grand prix. 
And just like the United States Grand Prix, the Pirelli World Challenge is watched all over the world (as the name suggests) thanks to a broadcast deal with CBS Sports. There’s also live streaming and on-demand video, meaning that anyone can see it at any time.

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Tyred and emotional
The tyres used on the Pirelli World Challenge this year are actually the same DHD slicks that are used on the Blancpain GT series: another massively successful championship, firmly based on cars you can buy in the showrooms, which is contested by a multiplicity of manufacturers (10 of them at the Spa 24 Hours, for example). 
While Formula 1 will always be the peak of the world motorsport, it remains a rarefied atmosphere that has about as much to do with the cars that people drive on the road as a paper plane does with the space shuttle. Just getting into the paddock is an achievement in itself, which makes the atmosphere either exclusive or elitist, depending on your point of view. 
But that’s not the case in the Pirelli World Challenge, where everyone is welcome – both in the paddock, on the grid, and in the driving seat. Amateur drivers as well as professionals regularly take part: which means that wherever you look on any circuit, there’s more movement going on than at a Pokemon convention. 
As any visitor to the United States will know, America really gets motorsport promotion. And the whole point of the Pirelli World Challenge is that it’s easy for both competitors and spectators. There’s a wide range of classes and prizes, including special awards for rookies and crew chiefs. Points are on offer down to 30th place in each race. No wonder so many top manufacturers and sponsors get involved.

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The perfect fit
Because of its high-level popularity and prestige, the Pirelli World Challenge is a perfect fit for the company, mirroring the style of cars and drivers that Pirelli equips every day with P Zero tyres for performance driving. There’s also an element of tyre strategy, with mandatory driver and tyre changes introduced this year during the extended sprint races.
As Pirelli’s head of car racing Mario Isola puts it: “The Pirelli World Challenge is at the very heart what we are about as a company: the enjoyment of driving the world’s most prestigious cars, at some of the best-known circuits in motorsport. The tyre technology that we use in the Pirelli World Challenge is derived from that seen in Formula 1, which is why we are the world leader in Ultra High Performance products.”
So for Pirelli there’s one championship that’s even bigger than Formula 1 in the United States. And that’s the Pirelli World Challenge: a thrilling global festival of American motorsport. 

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