O’Connell, Pilgrim Put Team Cadillac in Top Five Again at Mosport Speedfest

By Auto News Log • May 23rd, 2011

CTS-V Coupes of O’Connell 3rd, Pilgrim 5th in second of two Victoria Day races

- O’Connell finishes on the podium for second straight day
- Pilgrim gets top-five on last lap
- Team Cadillac moves up in driver, manufacturer points

BOWMANVILLE, Ontario– In what was nearly a stunning repeat of Saturday’s fifth round of the Pirelli World Challenge Series at Mosport International Raceway, both Cadillac CTS-V Coupes wound up in the top five at the end of the day.

Johnny O’Connell finished on the podium again in third, and Andy Pilgrim was battling for the top five on the last lap and got it when a rival ran out of fuel. O’Connell was second on Saturday, his best career finish in the series and the best for Team Cadillac this season.

O’Connell left the starting line in third place, and battled with early leader Mike Skeen’s Corvette and the Porsche of second-place Patrick Long over the 29-lap distance.
“We just didn’t have enough for those guys,” O’Connell said when it was over. “I don’t know whether Porsche found another number on their map switch or what, but they showed dramatic improvement overnight. We had a good car. Actually, we might have even run faster than we did yesterday.

A multi-car crash on lap 22 brought out a full-course caution, and the track never went back to green-flag racing. It finished under caution, as the white and yellow flags waved simultaneously.

“If they’d gone green, I think I might have had something, because on clear laps, we were pretty darn close, but it didn’t happen. I’m just stoked for everybody at Cadillac. I mean, we have moved forward. We are six races into this gig and to get on the podium twice this weekend, we’re constantly improving and that’s been our objective all along.”

Pilgrim still managed to pick up a position at the finish, due to James Sofronas running his Porsche out of fuel on the final circuit.

“Traffic really hurt me,” Pilgrim said. “I was with James (Sofronas) initially, and I just have a hard time running with the Porsches right now, despite the fact that we’ve had a little weight given back. It’s very, very hard to race with those guys. If I would have been ahead of him on the first lap, I could have stayed ahead of him, but I couldn’t run with him. It was very difficult.

“Once you get slowed down in traffic, you’re just screwed.”

Just 10 laps into the race, Pilgrim went three-wide on Sofronas with a lapped car to the outside. Even though he failed to close the pass, Pilgrim served notice that he—and Team Cadillac—were in it to win it.

Pilgrim lost a position in traffic to Jason Daskalos and was thinking he’d be ninth at the finish, but managed to claw his way back to sixth when the caution came out. When Sofronas ran out of fuel, he got the top five he’d been seeking.

“It’s just frustrating a little bit, but hey, we’re top-five again, got some more points and we’ll move on. What can I say? It’s not too bad.”

With the top-five finishes in both races, O’Connell gained ground on Sofronas in the GT Series points. O’Connell is fifth with 537 points, just 89 markers behind. Pilgrim fared even better, sitting seventh with 445 points, 70 ahead of eighth place at the season’s halfway point.

In the manufacturer’s race, Porsche still leads, but Team Cadillac is closing the gap. Third-place Volvo did not score for the fourth straight race and trails Team Cadillac by 15 points.

O’Connell was pumped after three straight top-five finishes.

“That’s great,” he said. “We have so many bright guys. All the people that are working on these cars on the laptops are the guys who got 1600s on their SATs. The guys that didn’t do that are driving them. We’ve got America’s best and brightest trying to make this car better. They’ve shown their ability to do it in the past, and when you have such an amazing platform on a street car like the Cadillac CTS-V, it really does give us a lot to work with on the race car.”

Next action for Team Cadillac on the Pirelli World Challenge is Aug 5-7 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio.

Cadillac has been a leading luxury auto brand since 1902. In recent years, Cadillac has engineered a historic renaissance led by artful engineering and advanced technology. More information on Cadillac can be found at media.cadillac.com.

Ron LeMasters
Cadillac Racing Communications
Phone 704-719-0521
ronlemasters@windstream.net

Source: Cadillac

 

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