Cadillac V-Performance drivers Michael Cooper (Syosset, N.Y), Jordan Taylor (Apopka, Fla.), Johnny O’Connell (Flowery Branch, Ga.) and Ricky Taylor (Lake Mary, Fla.) are heading the Utah Motorsports Campus (UMC) for the Pirelli World Challenge (PWC) SprintX weekend, August 11-13.
In the PWC SprintX driver standings, Cooper and Jordan Taylor lead with 107.
O’Connell and Ricky Taylor are eighth with 58. The 3-mile, 24-turn UMC circuit located 25 minutes from Salt Lake City is very flat with a long straight that will reward a fast exit off of the last turn and big horsepower. The Cadillac ATS-V.R received a Balance of Performance (BoP) adjustment coming into the race that reduces turbo pressure to the Cadillac LF4.R twin-turbocharged engine. The team will have to manage Utah’s thin air and make the Cadillac ATS-V.R handle through nearly every kind of corner found in racing.
“UMC has a lot of nuances that make it challenging, from big curbs to a low grip surface and high tire wear to a very long high-speed straight,” Cooper said. “It takes a lot of compromise in the set-up of the car to create a package that works well everywhere. That’s exactly what we worked on in our testing there, so we’ll be ready. There are so many moving parts in a Sprint-X race that the team has to keep their eyes on to maximize our track position. From a fans perspective, that is what makes the racing more exciting. We are confident going into the weekend because we have the best team possible behind us when it comes to recognizing and adapting to unusual or unforeseen circumstances.”
“I competed in IMSA Lites for the first time back in 2008, and then was able to go back in 2009 and 2010 with Grand-Am at UMC,” Jordan Taylor said. “The 2010 race was a very memorable weekend, because it was my first race in a GM race car, which sort of launched my career with Chevrolet and Cadillac. I was teamed with Johnny, which was an awesome experience. We were running quite well, but had a fueling issue if my memory is correct. UMC is pretty unique. The elevation is way up there and the track is lined with sand. You often come through a corner one lap and it’s fine, then the next time you hit a patch of sand either from the wind pushing it on track or another car dragging it on. It makes it tough, but it’s the same for everyone. It has a nice mix of high and low speed corners, chicanes, hairpins, sweepers, so it can be a tough compromise with the set-up for the engineer to find a balance between the different sections.
“We are in a good spot in the championship heading into the weekend. We just need to keep doing what we’ve been doing this year, just running our own races and staying out of trouble. There are so many cars in the championship that a mistake in the race can cause a big swing in points. We need to just run our own race and have a clean weekend.”
O’Connell and Ricky Taylor are trying to make up ground in the SprintX points standings and will need a strong run this weekend at UMC.
“The SprintX races have been very helpful to the Michael’s championship run,” O’Connell said. “Not so fortunate for us on the No. 3 Cadillac ATS-V.R Coupe. My hopes are that everyone comes into the race with less of a video game approach and that fans are treated to good clean racing. UMC is a circuit I enjoy. In many ways we’ve just been unlucky. All that’s in the past though, so we need to execute and be mistake free this weekend. I’m confident our Cadillac will have a great set-up and together Ricky and I will execute. Naturally you always hope for BoP that works in your favor until we get on circuit it’s difficult to judge how we will compare.”
“It has been a while since I have been to UMC, but I won there in IMSA Lites in 2008 and I also raced there twice in GRAND-AM in 2009 and 2010,” Ricky Taylor said. Utah is a long and technical track with some fast flowing portions and some tight technical corners that require a lot of patience. Putting together a good lap means taking risk in some of the high-speed corners, but switching your mindset into a more patient one to get through the final sector. We need to make sure to start the weekend off strong and focus on having a good car in race one to not get behind in the weekend so we can qualify and race well in race two. These weekends are very challenging to overcome a poor day one and turn around for day two. You really have to execute all weekend long.”
Pirelli World Challenge GT Pro/Pro qualifying from Utah Motorsport Campus will run Saturday at 11 a.m. MT, race one will take the green at 1:40 p.m. the same day. Race two on Sunday will start at 12:30.
Source. Kyle Chura/Cadillac Racing