Cadillac V-Performance drivers Johnny O’Connell (Flowery Branch, Ga.) and Ricky Taylor (Lake Mary, Fla.) drove to a second place finish in race one of the Pirelli World Challenge (PWC) weekend at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA). Teammates Michael Cooper (Syosset, N.Y) and Jordan Taylor (Apopka, Fla.) came to the checker in sixth.
Ricky Taylor had the wheel of the wheel of the No. 3 Velocity Red Cadillac ATS-V.R Coupe for the start of the 60-minute race. The elder Taylor was able to hold the lead during his stint and handed the Cadillac off to O’Connell around 27 minutes into the race. The four-time PWC champion was able to exit pit road still in the lead but was soon passed by the eventual winning No. 31 Ferrari. O’Connell had to navigate a restart with just 22 seconds remaining to hold off the field to bring the Red Cadillac ATS-V.R Coupe home in second.
Cooper took the start in the No. 8 Vector Blue Cadillac ATS-V.R Coupe from third. He was able to hold the position to hand the car over to Jordan Taylor in the top three. The team performed a solid driver change getting the Blue Cadillac ATS-V.R Coupe back out in podium contention. On the restart, the younger Taylor had lap traffic in front and got bottled up and hit into Turn 1 relegating him back to sixth at the checker.
“All things considered and where we were yesterday, the second place finish is pretty good today,” O’Connell said. “I thought I had a good stint. I was able to get through traffic and negotiate that restart with two back markers in front of me. We just didn’t have anything for the Ferrari. Ricky did a good job. At the end of the race the Porsches were running a second-and-a-half faster than us. Tough to compete with that here today. The Cadillac Racing guys gave us a good a car and we had a good stop and we were able to stay toward the front.”
“This is as much as we could have expected for the No. 3 Cadillac ATS-V.R Coupe,” Ricky Taylor said. “I am happy for Johnny he drove a great race. I am hoping for more of the same tomorrow, but we are starting further back, so we have our work cut out for us. It was tough on Jordan with that late restart, there was not much he could do on old tires and those lapped cars in front of him.”
“I had a good start,” Cooper said. “The No. 31 Ferrari made a few crazy maneuvers down into the hairpin and down the back straight to try and to get bye. The tires were going a little toward the end as we expected, but I had a good run. Then at the end the No. 16 Porsche stopped on the track and the driver got out which brought out a yellow flag. On the restart with seconds left and lapped cars between us and the leader they restarted the race. Jordan got held up behind those guys and was put back to sixth. That cost us valuable points.”
“My stint was going well, I was pretty comfortable in third,” Jordan Taylor said. “I was holding off the No. 99 Porsche. The yellow came out at the end, for some reason. There were lapped cars in between us and the leader. They didn’t go to a wave around, so that hurt us. I went into Turn 1 and got hit by a couple of guys and got bounced back to sixth. Not a great ending, but we go again tomorrow.”
Source. Cadillac Racing/Kyle Chura