NEW YORK – Cadillac Racing drivers Johnny O’Connell and Michael Cooper are heading to Barber Motorsports Park looking for a little better results at the Pirelli World Challenge Long Beach Grand Prix presented by Porsche to run April 22-24.
O’Connell (Flowery Branch, Ga.) was put back to second place after taking the checkered flag first last weekend at Long Beach. Teammate Cooper (Syosset, N.Y.) started 22nd and made it to fourth before having to pit ending his day early. Both drivers are glad that the series is running back-to-back weekends so they can make up lost ground from last weekend. With his second place finish on Sunday O’Connell (458 points) takes over the GT points lead (458 points) with Cooper in third (407 points).
“Well it’s not easy to put Long Beach in the rearview mirror, I mean literally the amount of time we were over boosted was the blink of an eye,” said O’Connell. “So going to Barber just five later will help and for sure we are very motivated. The first race at Barber last year was awesome. We went from last to fourth. The fire was, of course, bad, but we learned from it and I expect this year we will be just as competitive. Last year the McLaren was super strong there and I suspect that once again they will have the package most suited for that circuit. The Nissan was also very good and I know those guys are hungry. Needless to say I am as well.”
Cooper likes the 2.3-mile, 15-turn Barber circuit and is looking to rebound after Long Beach.
“It is never easy to put a race like Long Beach behind you, but heading straight to the next race makes it a little easier,” said Cooper. “The focus has to be forward and I am highly motivated for Barber. I really enjoy the track layout at Barber, but I’ve only got to race there one time, which was in GTS last year. I think our Cadillac ATS-V.R Coupe will be good at Barber, but you also have to look at Alvaro Parente in the McLaren to be very tough. That layout proved to suit their car quite well last year. An interesting story, I actually got a handful of test laps in the CTS-V.R at Barber a couple years ago. That was back when I was still driving touring cars and not quite acclimated to the speed of a GT car. It was quite the experience to say the least.”
The Pirelli World Challenge series will travel directly to Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama for rounds six and seven to run next weekend, April 22-24. The race from Barber will be televised Sunday, May 1 at 4 p.m. ET.