Cadillac V-Performance drivers Michael Cooper (Syosset, N.Y.) and Johnny O’Connell (Flowery Branch, Ga.) will start race one at the Pirelli World Challenge Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio from the second and third grid positions respectively at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course tomorrow.
Cooper in the Vector Blue No. 8 Cadillac ATS-V.R Coupe paced the first official practice this morning followed closely by teammate O’Connell in the Velocity Red No. 3 Cadillac ATS-V.R Coupe. The duo set out for the 20-minute qualifying session on different strategies, Cooper went out right away and O’Connell held choosing to see some times come in first. Cooper laid down a lap early that had him on pole. O’Connell went out and took over the number one spot only to surrender it to Alvaro Parente in the McLaren in the last moments of the session. Cooper posted a time of 1:19.841 and O’Connell laid down a lap of 1:19.945.
“That is probably the most intense qualifying session I have been involved in since I’ve been in GT,” Cooper said. “Everyone was just getting faster and faster each lap. I had to hit the fuel reserve late in the session to get just one more lap in. I had to be careful not to cause a red flag by stopping on track. I laid the lap down and then had to go slow and stay out of everyone’s way on my in lap. I think the race will be the same as the qualifying session – very close. The track will get faster every lap.”
O’Connell is starting behind pole sitter Parente.
“We knew the laps at the end would be the best,” O’Connell said. “We went light on fuel so we had a fixed number of laps. I was P1 for a while on my in lap. Then by the time I got out of the car I am P3. That is ok. Everyone at Cadillac is doing a great job. Michael and I are still very much in the championship hunt. We dig deep on this team and execute. I think it will be very tight at the front tomorrow. It has been a long time since Parente has been at the front. The Porsche with Patrick Long and the Ferrari will be there as well. Hopefully this weekend will go our way.”
Source. Kyle Chura/Cadillac Racing