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Cadillac V-Performance Racing drivers Michael Cooper (Syosset, N.Y) and Johnny O’Connell (Flowery Branch, Ga.) finished the Pirelli World Challenge Long Beach Grand Prix in 14th and 20
th respectively this morning.
Both Cadillac drivers had issues going into the dicey Long Beach Turn 1. Cooper started from the fifth row in his No. 8 Cadillac ATS-V.R Coupe and was hit several times at the entry to Turn 1 and was relegated to 15th position. O’Connell started his No. 3 Cadillac ATS-V.R Coupe two rows back in 12th and drove deep into Turn 1, couldn’t get the car turned and hit the wall causing heavy damage to the front of this Velocity Red ATS-V.R Coupe, but was able to continue. On lap eight a caution flag flew, due to water gushing onto the back straight from a broken fire hydrant. The race then went to a red flag stoppage and restarted with Cooper in 14th and O’Connell in eighth. With two laps to go O’Connell tried a pass on the seventh place runner and got into the wall and took the checkered flag in 20th. Cooper recorded a finish of 14th.
“The start was a tough,” Cooper said. “The entry into Turn 1 is wide and the inside is very inviting, but then the corner is a sharp left hander. One of the Acura’s came sailing into Turn 1 on the inside and got into me then there were cars bouncing off each other, the inside lane was stacked up. The car then popped into neutral and by the time I was able to get back going I was behind the GTA field. The Cadillac ATS-V.R Coupe was handling well, but we just don’t have the power to make up positions.”
“The first thing that comes to mind is Cadillac’s motto Dare Greatly,” O’Connell said. “I Dared Greatly today. I left everything I had out there on track today. It is unfortunate. All we can do is keep digging and win for Cadillac. We will put this one behind us and move onto Virginia. When you have one arm tied behind your back, what do you do?”
The Pirelli World Challenge Series will travel to Virginia International Raceway (VIR), April 28-30. The VIR round will include the season’s first SprintX race.
Cadillac Racing, since the team’s inception in 2004, has amassed 31 wins, 110 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.
Article by: Kyle Chura
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