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DETROIT, (July 9, 2013) – Team Cadillac drivers Andy Pilgrim and Johnny O’Connell are headed to the Pirelli World Challenge Toronto Grand Prix with a lot of momentum based upon their finishes last weekend at Lime Rock Park. The GT series will run a single race this weekend on Sunday, July 14.
Cadillac has earned the manufacturers points lead in the Pirelli World Challenge GT category. With help from a win and a third place in last weekend’s races at Lime Rock Park O’Connell (Flowery Branch, Ga.) is second in points, 31 back from first. Teammate Pilgrim (Boca Raton, Fla.) is third in the GT standings, 95 back from O’Connell.
The series is making a return to the streets of Toronto after a three-year hiatus. The track that traverses around Exhibition Place is not new to the Cadillac duo. O’Connell has turned laps there in an open-wheel Atlantic car and Pilgrim last raced in the Canadian city in 2010 and before that in 2007 in the first-generation Cadillac CTS-V.
“I ran the Cadillac back in 2007,” Pilgrim said. “I qualified fourth and finished fourth in the first-generation CTS-V race car. In 2010, I drove the Volvo and finished third. Toronto is a lot like the track in St. Petersburg. It is not as wide as the Long Beach circuit. More like St. Pete without the straight-away. It is narrow and there are not a lot of passing zones. You really have a lot of mid speed and sharp turns connected by narrow alley ways. It is a challenging track, not a lot of room to pass, which means bumping and rubbing.”
“You have to have a car that can turn in well and then get the power down quickly,” he continued. “You also have to carry a lot of momentum through the mid speed turns. It think the Audi should have the advantage at Toronto.”
Although O’Connell last raced at the 1.7-mile, 11-turn circuit in the early 90s, the track has remained basically the same.
“They haven’t changed the layout of the circuit really at all since I raced Atlantics there in 1990,” O’Connell said. “Maybe little nuance things here and there. Team Cadillac has done well on the street courses and we hope to show well in Toronto this weekend.”
“At this time in the season and where we are at in the points we have to attack every race,” he continued. “Team Cadillac has a lot of engineering expertise and that gets us off of the trailer fast at these tracks. The biggest challenge of this series is not having a lot of track time, especially at these shared street events with IndyCar. You have to be pretty close on your setup right off of the truck. Team Cadillac is deep and that is an advantage for us. The crew is well practiced. We rarely have car issues that keep us off the track.”
The Pirelli World Challenge GT race will take the standing start on Sunday, July 14 at 12:30 p.m. ET in Toronto. The Toronto race will be televised on NBC Sports, Saturday, August 18 at 2 p.m. ET.
The races from Lime Rock will be televised on NBC Sports, Saturday, July 20 at 4 pm ET.
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