Cooper tied for points lead, O’Connell hungry
New York – Cadillac V-Performance drivers Michael Cooper (Syosset, N.Y.) and Johnny O’Connell (Flowery Branch, Ga.) are heading to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for the Pirelli World Challenge Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio, July 28-30.
Cooper in the Vector Blue No. 8 Cadillac ATS-V.R Coupe is tied for the GT drivers points lead with Porsche’s Patrick Long at 183. Cooper has had a strong run in the SprintX rounds with teammate Jordan Taylor, while Long has posted two DNF’s in the X rounds, but has excelled in the single driver sprint races. O’Connell in the Velocity Red No. 3 Cadillac ATS-V.R Coupe is currently fifth in points with 135 and needs to make up ground on the front runners with strong runs this weekend at the 2.4-mile, 15-turn track located an hour north of Columbus, Ohio.
“Mid-Ohio should be a decent track for our Cadillac, however it is probably more suited to the lighter Porsche and McLaren,” Cooper said. “Our car is a little heavier, so naturally it takes us a little more time to get to the same top speed through acceleration. We were still able to overcome an overall pace deficiency to win last year, when we capitalized on a unique set of circumstances. Still we had to hold off the field for 50-minutes to win, but we did so with a car that belonged in the back half of the top 10.
“At a lot of the tracks we visit, you can relate one corner to another or several. At Mid-Ohio, the corners are more unique, but they also have a flow from one to the other. That’s probably why it is so rewarding when you do a good lap around there, because it’s more difficult than some other tracks we visit.”
Cooper on being tied with Patrick Long for points lead in GT.
“It is a little perplexing that the Porsche has been able to match or beat our lap times at every track this year, even the tracks that you would think suit our car better. Knowing this we tested at Mid-Ohio, which was probably the best test in terms of set-up improvement that I’ve been involved with this year. If we do have a quicker car, I would attribute it back to the massive preparation that has gone into this weekend by the team.”
O’Connell is focused and will be betting on the strength that Cadillac Racing has showed in previous seasons as being a fourth quarter team.
“We’ve been good at Mid-Ohio in the past,” O’Connell said. “Last year Michael did a great job winning while I took third, so I think we could be ok. Porsche really being the strongest car result wise this season I expect things will be very tight. Our past shows that as the season winds down each year, Cadillac Racing always steps up. Really at this stage for myself there is no holding back. I plan to be aggressive and take risks. It’s the only way to make something happen.”
The Pirelli World Challenge Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio race one can be viewed live at MotorTrendOnDemand.com at 4:35 p.m. ET on Saturday, July 29. Race two will take the green at 12 p.m. on July 30 and can also be viewed on line. The combined races will be televised on CBS Sports, Sunday, July 30 at 2 p.m. ET.
Cadillac Racing, since the team’s inception in 2004, has amassed 32 wins, 115 podium finishes (including wins) and 24 pole positions. The team won the World Challenge Manufacturer Championship in 2005, 2007, 2012, 2013 and 2014. Team Cadillac drivers have won the World Challenge Driver’s Championship in 2005 with Andy Pilgrim and in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 with Johnny O’Connell.
Additional information can be viewed at Cadillac.com, GM.com, media.gm.com, world-challenge.com, johnnyoconnell.com; Twitter @MSCooper1, @JohnnyOConnell, @Jordan10Tyalor, @RickyTaylor_10, @Cadillac; Facebook, GM, Michael Cooper, Johnny O’Connell, Ricky Taylor, Jordan Taylor, Cadillac.
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The Cadillac Racing media guide can be viewed at media.cadillac.com. For additional information please contact Kyle Chura, firstname.lastname@example.org or (248) 821-0468.