NEW YORK – Cadillac Racing drivers Johnny O’Connell and Michael Cooper are ready to take the momentum from last weekend to the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida for rounds three and four of the Pirelli World Challenge GT Series Championship, March 11-13.
O’Connell (Flowery Branch, Ga) posted a win in race two at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) just two days ago. Teammate Cooper (Syosset, N.Y.) had podium finishes of second and third in his debut for the team. The Cadillac Racing drivers are looking to take carry the strong performance from COTA to the 1.8-mile, 14 turn modified street course that encompasses the city streets of St. Petersburg and a runway at Albert Whitted Airport.
“We are running two totally different circuits in a matter of four days, so there’s not a lot that is going to be applicable from one to another,” said O’Connell. “Every time we run the Cadillac ATS-V.R Coupe we gain data and that makes us stronger at every track. Street circuits tend to suit those cars that are mid or rear engined. So for sure I would think the Porsche and McLaren will do well, also the Audi was very good last year at St. Petersburg.”
O’Connell, a 2012 St. Petersburg winner, knows that qualifying is important. “Not just at St. Petersburg, but I think every circuit this year qualifying is going to be critical. The cars are so well matched every small detail and track position will be important.”
“COTA was a good learning experience for me in the Cadillac ATS-V.R Coupe as well as a very positive weekend as far as results go,” said Cooper. “It is only one weekend out of many, but we proved that the team is extremely capable, now we have to continue to execute and improve to stay ahead of the competition. I like the St. Petersburg track layout. With a lot of low speed corners I would expect the Porsche and McLaren to be strong.
Cooper also has won at St. Petersburg, posting double race wins in 2012. He also knows the benefit of qualifying well. “Qualifying up toward the front is hugely important on street courses as the opportunity to pass is limited. The restarts can be crazy. You want to be as far up on the grid as possible to stay out of the melee.”
Rounds three and four of the Pirelli World Challenge Series will take to the streets of St. Petersburg this weekend, March 11-13. Live timing and scoring can be found at worldchallenge.growsites.net. Live streaming can viewed at World-Challenge.com. The race from St. Petersburg will be televised on the CBS Sports Network on March 20 at 12:00 p.m. ET.
Cadillac Racing, since its inception in 2004, has amassed 27 wins, 93 podium finishes (including wins) and 22 pole positions. The team won the World Challenge Manufacturer Championship in 2005, 2007, 2012, 2013 and 2014. Cadillac Racing 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.
Cadillac has been a leading luxury auto brand since 1902. Today, Cadillac is growing globally, driven by an expanding product portfolio featuring dramatic design and technology. More information on Cadillac appears at cadillac.com. Cadillac’s media website with information, images and video can be found at media.cadillac.com.
Additional information can be viewed at Cadillac.com, GM.com, media.gm.com, world-challenge.com, johnnyoconnell.com; Twitter @MSCooper1, @JohnnyOConnell1, @Cadillac; Facebook, GM, Michael Cooper, Johnny O’Connell, Cadillac.
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.