Cadillac V-Performance drivers Johnny O’Connell (Flowery Branch, Ga.) and Ricky Taylor (Lake Mary, Fla.) finished the first of two Pirelli World Challenge (PWC) SprintX races in fourth today at Utah Motorsports Campus (UMC). Teammates Michael Cooper (Syosset, N.Y) and Jordan Taylor (Apopka, Fla.) came home in eighth.
In this morning’s qualifying session, Ricky Taylor had the wheel of the No. 3 Velocity Red Cadillac ATS-V.R Coupe and turned a time of 1:48.386 that had him and O’Connell starting fifth on the GT Pro/Pro grid. In the No. 8 Vector Blue Cadillac ATS-V.R Coupe Cooper put in a lap of 1:48.497 that had him and Jordan Taylor starting seventh. The duo lead the PWC SprintX points coming into the weekend.
At the drop of the green for the 50-minute, two driver race, the field of 23 cars were spread across the wide UMC front stretch into Turn 1. Cooper was pushed wide in the No. 8 Cadillac ATS-V.R Coupe and got shuffled around losing a couple of positions. Ricky Taylor was able to hold onto the front runners as the first laps cycled through. Cooper was the first to pit for the driver change handing off to Jordan Taylor 30-minutes into the race. Ricky Taylor pitted about a minute later and gave the controls of the No. 3 Cadillac ATS-V.R Coupe to O’Connell. The race went caution free. O’Connell and Ricky Taylor just missed the podium in fourth and Cooper and Jordan Taylor finished eighth.
“All things considered we have a lot to be proud of,” O’Connell said. “We didn’t expect to be too close to the front with our weight and lack of straight line speed. In my stint you saw what the difference is when you are weighted down, it really eats the tires. I just couldn’t catch the Porsche. Ricky did a great job in qualifying and the start. Once I got in we went slippery pretty early. I thought the Acura might have been coming on me, but we worked traffic a little bit better.”
“The team performed well,” Ricky Taylor said. “The car handled well in qualifying and the race. I don’t think we have the pace of the Acura or the Ferrari here. It is a nice clean weekend for me and Johnny so far. We are working well together and we were able to get a solid result of fourth today.”
“It was a decent race,” Jordan Taylor said. “Judging by the speeds we have seen all weekend we knew it would be a tough race. At the start Michael got pushed wide and was shuffled around a little and that cost a couple of spots and then he got one back. We were able to get another position on pit strategy. We finished in front of the No. 2 car [Mercedes] which is a close competitor in the championship and the 58 [Porsche]. We have a good idea of what the car is like in race conditions and we can work on it for tomorrow.”
“The start was pretty hectic,” Cooper said. “Every time I made a move to gain a position it seems like I lost two. By the time I got to Turn 6 I was ninth. I got stuck there. We had a good battle with Dalziel in the Mercedes. I couldn’t get by him on the track, but we did in the pits. That was good as they are our closest rival in the SprintX Championship. We will take the positives and move on to tomorrow.”
Tomorrow, O’Connell will start the No. 3 Cadillac ATS-V.R Coupe from fourth and Jordan Taylor will start the No. 8 Cadillac ATS-V.R Coupe from eighth on the grid.
Pirelli World Challenge GT Pro/Pro SprintX race two will take the green tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. MT.
Source. Kyle Chura/Cadillac Racing