Cooper gets first GT win, O’Connell third

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Cadillac Racing driver Michael Cooper won race two of the Pirelli World Challenge Alabama Grand Prix presented by Porsche today. The win is Cooper’s first for Cadillac and in the GT class.

Cooper (Syosset, N.Y.) started on the front row in second on the World Challenge grid. Teammate O’Connell (Flowery Branch, Ga.) took the green from the third position. At the start O’Connell was able to get a good run that caused Alvaro Parente to take his McLaren to the inside of the track to block the No. 3 Cadillac ATS-V.R Coupe. This allowed Cooper to run up alongside the McLaren and take the lead at the exit of Turn 1. The 50-minute race went without caution as Cooper led the race from the start, managed his Pirelli tires, and took his first win for Cadillac and his first as a GT driver.

“After making a slight mistake at the start yesterday, I was determined to get it right today,” said Cooper. “I knew that the race was going to be won or lost at the start, so I *Dared Greatly to move on the outside and I was able to take the lead heading into Turn 2. I knew from being behind Alvaro yesterday how hard it would be to put a move on and get passed. I just tried to be aware that he might be setting me up for big dive-bomb maneuver, but he is a pro and it never came. It is still a little surreal that I just got my first win for Cadillac. I think it will set in later. It is absolutely awesome to come through the ranks of World Challenge and get a win at the top level.”

O’Connell was able to manage his car and make it a three-way battle at the end.

“I knew early on that I didn’t have the car that Michael and Alvaro had today,” said O’Connell. “Congratulations to Michael on his first win. We just didn’t have the overall speed. I was able to really look after my tires so when we got to 10-minutes to go I could get back to them. I was able to reel them back in, but I needed a couple more laps. Great weekend for Cadillac getting four podium finishes. That is a good all-around team result.”

The Pirelli World Challenge series race from Barber Motorsports Park will be televised Sunday, May 1 at 4 p.m. ET on the CBS Sports Network. The series will travel to Canadian Tire Motorsport Park for rounds six and seven April 22-24.

*The Dare Greatly tagline is drawn from Theodore Roosevelt’s famous Citizenship in a Republic speech which is celebrating its 106th anniversary this week.

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.