Cadillac V-Performance Racing drivers Johnny O’Connell (Flowery Branch, Ga.) and Michael Cooper (Syosset, N.Y) will start the first race of the 2017 Pirelli World Challenge (PWC) GT season from seventh and tenth (unofficial) on the GT grid for tomorrow’s first race of a double-header weekend at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
Under near perfect 80-degree temperatures the Cadillac Racing drivers took to the 1.8-mile, 14-turn modified street course that circulates through the city streets of St. Petersburg to set the grid for the first race of the season. The 20-minute session was very active at the top of the time sheet. Some track changes, Turn Three, overnight caught some competitors off guard. O’Connell ran a 1:14.286 that will have him starting his No. 3 Cadillac ATS-V.R Coupe on the fourth row. Teammate Cooper posted a time of 1:14.621 good for row five in his No. 8 Cadillac ATS-V.R Coupe for tomorrow’s 9:35 a.m. ET start.
“You always want to be closer to the front in qualifying at these street races,” O’Connell said. “We are a little bit back for the first race tomorrow. We will start seventh. The guys did a great job to make the Cadillac better, we zeroed in on it a little more and will make a few more adjustments for the race tomorrow. I think I’ll have a decent race car. There is an adjustment to this new track configuration, but that is the same for everyone. If that is the race car I have for tomorrow I am not disappointed at all.”
Cooper was a little surprised by the Turn Three adjustment (a track reconfiguration overnight that changed the location of the apex) but has confidence in his Cadillac race car.
“The No. 8 Cadillac ATS-V.R Coupe is handling really well around this St. Pete course,” Cooper said. “There is a bunch of new cars and a lot of new competition at the top of this field. So we are learning the tendencies of these new competitors and cars here this weekend. They made some adjustments to Turn Three, so that took some getting used to this morning. The crew did a great job to adjust on the car and made it better than we were yesterday. It is going to be a hot race tomorrow and I will have to manage the car and the tires during the race. I have a very solid race car and I am sure I will be able to move forward tomorrow.”
The Pirelli World Challenge Cadillac Grand Prix of St. Pete can be viewed via live stream at http://bit.ly/2n6TZ8T.
Source. Kyle Chura/Cadillac Racing