Cadillac V-Performance drivers Michael Cooper (Syosset, N.Y) and Johnny O’Connell (Flowery Branch, Ga.) are ready to get back to the Pirelli World Challenge (PWC) sprint format this weekend at the World Challenge Grand Prix of Road America, June 23-25.
The long and undulating four-mile, 14-turn Road America circuit located an hour north of Milwaukee is a driver favorite. With the high-speed turns and long straights it rewards a driver’s courage and a good handling race car.
On the strength of his strong runs with teammate Jordan Taylor in PWC SprintX competition, Cooper comes into Road America as the GT driver points leader with 145. Four-time series champion O’Connell is in eighth with 101 and looking to make-up ground this weekend in central Wisconsin.
“I am really excited to get back to the all-out sprint races that PWC is known for, but I’m even more excited that we are heading to Road America,” Cooper said. “A lot of the aspects of the Elkhart Lake track suit the Cadillac ATS-V.R. Last year the No. 8 Cadillac ATS-V.R Coupe handled really well there, so we’ll be looking to replicate and improve on that set-up. I believe Road America is a track where we can collect a lot of points. Some other track configurations that we have yet to face may not be as kind to us. We have to do our best to capitalize on our strengths and minimize any weaknesses if we want to accumulate the most points.”
Road America is home to the famous Kink turn. Cooper likes the Kink section and the challenge it presents to drivers.
“The Kink is real, the fastest corner we encounter all year. In our cars it tickles 140 mph and just a minuscule breathe of the throttle. It could potentially be flat-out in the right conditions, we’ll see.”
“I’m very excited to get back to our normal sprint races,” O’Connell said. “These past three SprintX rounds have cost me a lot in the championship, so I am looking forward to fighting back. In our normal format, PWC is a lot like DTM – some of the most exciting racing going on in the world today. Last year we had a really good balance with the No. 3 Cadillac ATS-V.R Coupe, and, but for electrical issues, I’m confident we would have been on the podium for both races.”
The Kink holds a special place in racing lore for O’Connell.
“The Kink is one of the last great corners in racing. Tracks these days are often sanitized with lots of runoff everywhere. The Kink is old school, like the Nurburgring. If you get things wrong, make a mistake, it’s going to bite you hard.”
The Pirelli World Challenge Grand Prix of Road America will run June 23-25. The GT cars will qualify on Saturday, June 24th at 8:35 a.m. with race one running later in that day at 4:30 p.m. Sunday’s race two will take the green at 9:55 a.m. Follow the action at MotorTrendOnDemand.com. The race will be broadcast on the same day, Sunday at 3 p.m. ET on the CBS Sports Network.
Cadillac Racing, since the team’s inception in 2004, has amassed 32 wins, 114 podium finishes (including wins) and 24 pole positions. The team won the World Challenge Manufacturer Championship in 2005, 2007, 2012, 2013 and 2014. Team Cadillac drivers have won the World Challenge Driver’s Championship in 2005 with Andy Pilgrim and in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 with Johnny O’Connell.
Source. Kyle Chura/Cadillac Racing