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Johnny O’Connell landed his first World Challenge victory at the Mid-Ohio race track, giving Cadillac its first win since the final race of the 2007 season at Laguna Seca Raceway in California.
O’Connell’s number three car was in second place during Saturday’s race, but he lost control, slid off the track and finished in eighth place. O’Connell was eager to use the same plan for Sunday, but without the contact.
On Sunday he managed to slide through a crash on the last lap involving the leaders, squeaking through to beat Patric Lindsey to the finish line by a little more than a second. Andy Pilgrim in the number eight Cadillac fought a fierce battle with James Sofronas all day yesterday and finished in sixth place.
With O’Connell’s victory, he has moved up into fourth spot in the GT Series point standings, and Pilgrim is in fifth place. Porsche now leads with 56 points and Cadillac is in second place with 30.
“Today is really a culmination of an incredible amount of preparation, not only at the race shop but by our Cadillac team,” said Jim Campbell, General Motors U.S. Vice-President for Performance Vehicles and Motorsports. “What it shows you here today is that you have to be prepared, you have to pounce on every opportunity and when you have the chance, you’ve got to go. I am so proud of Johnny for being ready to take advantage and grab the win”.
Looking to improve upon some of the success the team found during rounds five and six of the SCCA World Challenge series, Cadillac Racing is competing with its duo of CTS-V Coupe race cars at Mid-Ohio this weekend.
So far the podium has been elusive, with the No. 3 car piloted by Johnny O’Connell forced off track only to battle back to 8th place. The No. 8 car of Andy Pilgrim came close, finishing fourth in the seventh round of the series. The race was won by Alex Figge in the Volvo S60, with Patrick Long in the No. 45 Porsche GT3 second and James Sofronas in the Porsche GT3 coming 3rd.
O’Connell and Long will have a second chance during the 8th round later this afternoon. Currently O’Connell sits 4th in the driver points while Pilgrim is 7th with Cadillac second in the manufacturer’s championship.
If you’re looking to get a feel of what it’s like to ride along with these pros. You’re in luck. Cadillac Racing has provided a narrated hot lap by O’Connell and Pilgrim, with an amazing display of speed and some excellent tips from two pros.
GALLERY: Cadillac Racing CTS-V Coupe Mid Ohio
Watch the video after the jump:
After a consistent season with five trips to the podium in six races, Huntington Beach, California native Brandon Davis finally took the checked flag this past weekend at Mid-Ohio in his Applied Computer Solutions/Sun Microsystems Ford Mustang Cobra.
Davis started from pole and had excellent competition from the K-PAX Racing Volvo S60 driven by Andy Pilgrim, until lap 17 when Pilgrim’s car suffered mechanical issues.
“I think Andy [Pilgrim] would have been tough, had he stayed around,” said Davis. “Getting out front, I was able to breathe a little bit and just run laps. When I saw that Andy dropped out, I was able to conserve tires a little bit.”
“After being so close for so long, it feels great to finally win this year. We’ve been on the pole but in the races, we just didn’t have the pace to win. So it feels pretty good.”
Rounding out the podium was Tony Rivera, of Missouri City, Texas, and James Sofronas, of Newport Beach, Calif, both driving Porsche 911 GT3s.
The win for Davis further solidifies his lead in the Drivers’ Championship with 733 points, leading Safronas with 656.
Full race results after the jump:
Corvette Racing today unveiled its new GT2-spec C6.R racer and invited folks to listen in on a conference call with those responsible for running the team as well as one of the drivers of the No. 3 car, Johnny O’Connell.
For years Corvette Racing has ran a team of cars in the top-level GT1 category in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) and at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, but decided to move to the lower GT1 class for several reasons, namely the competition and the marketing potential. For starters, the GT2-spec C6.R is closely based on the new ZR1, whereas the old GT1 cars had little in common with their road-going counterparts. Being so closely related to a street car is ideal for marketing.
“With the international regulations converging around a single GT class, Corvette Racing will continue its motorsports heritage by racing against manufacturers and marques that Corvette competes with in the marketplace, while also increasing the production content of the C6.R race car and the relevance of racing to our customers,” said Mark Kent, GM Racing manager. “This is truly a step that positions Corvette Racing for the future of production-based sports car racing worldwide, and a move that is perfectly aligned with GM’s marketing and business objectives in racing.”
As for the competition, the GT1 class has heated up over the past few years. Traditionally dominated by Porsche, Ferrari is now a major contender. Additional players include BMW, Aston Martin and Panoz. Competition on GT1 is almost non-existent now as Corvette Racing has developed into such a dominating sport over the years (beating Ferrari, Aston Martin, Saleen and Dodge).
“There was literally very little competition on a global basis to race in the existing GT1 category,” said Doug Fehan, Corvette Racing program manager.
Under the hood, Corvette Racing has modified the 7.0-liter GT1 powerplant, adding a new crankshaft to decrease the displacement to 6.o-liters (as the rules demand). A new engine is also in development for 2010 when the rules change to limit the maximum displacement to 5.5-liters. According to Fehan this new engine will be based on a production 5.5-liter V8 that is planned for future GM products. The Corvette Racing GT2-spec C6.R will make its racing debut at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on August 6-8. Familiar faces Johnny O’Connell and Jan Magnussen will share the No. 3 Compuware Corvette C6.R, and Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta will drive the No. 4 Compuware Corvette C6. R.
GALLERY: GT2 Corvette C6.R
Read a transcript of the full teleconference after the jump: Continue Reading…