Cadillac Racing will be looking to hold on to its manufacturer points lead in the Pirelli World Challenge as the race series heads to the Honda Indy Toronto for a double-header race weekend. Johnny O’Connell is also first in overall GT standings and will be keen to finish at the front of the pack on the streets of Toronto, the final street course on the 2014 World Challenge schedule.
The 1.75-mile, 11-turn Toronto circuit that surrounds the city’s Exhibition place may play a pivotal role in the World Challenge championship, as the Cadillacs have won all three of the street course events to date. The rest of the schedule is occupied by prepared road courses, where the FIA GT3-spec cars, such as the McLaren 12C GT3, have made good use of their better aerodynamics and grip.
“Toronto is a critical event for us,” O’Connell said. “We’ve shown that on street circuits we can compete against the GT3 cars, so I cannot stress enough the need for us to execute and perform this weekend in Toronto. We have an advantage in knowing how our cars run on the Toronto circuit and we’ve had a good street set-up. I plan to use that to my advantage.”
The street circuits typically have imperfections and rough sections that the road courses do not, which has worked out to the Cadillac CTS.V.R’s advantage thus far.
“The Toronto circuit is very challenging,”P O’Conell said. “Lots of surface changes that test both driver and engineer. These surface changes are combined with bumpy areas that should work to the advantage of our Cadillac CTS.V.R.”
Pilgrim noted the track provides better chances at winning for Cadillac Racing, but does not guarantee them top spot on the podium, especially with the added competitiveness of the GT3 cars.
“The Toronto race this year should be one of the best remaining tracks for Cadillac,” Pilgrim said. “I don’t believe there is any guarantee we will do well, but we have done well there before and the track does suit our cars. We did not have any of the GT3 cars there last year and they are getting much faster by the race, so I think we will have to push really hard from practice one, turn one and keep pushing to through both races.”
The Pirelli World Challenge Series Honda Indy at Toronto commence with qualifying on Friday, July 18 at 4:35 p.m. The event is a double header, with race one taking place on Saturday, July 19 at 11:35 a.m. and race two going off on Sunday, July 20 at 12:15 p.m.