Cadillac Racing‘s next bout starts Friday, August 22 at the Cadillac Grand Prix of Sonoma for the Pirelli World Challenge Series through August 24.
This race, located at the gateway to California’s wine country, is the 13th of 16 in the series for Andy Pilgrim and Johnny O’Connell and their CTS-Vs. Pilgrim is currently fifth in GT point standings, while O’Connell has a 82-point lead from second place. With four races left, Cadillac is the point leader for all manufacturers and is beating Audi by three points.
Sonoma’s 2.3-mile 12-turn circuit is a favorite for both Cadillac Racing drivers: O’Connell was an instructor at the track back when it was known as Sears Point, and Pilgrim had his first professional win there.
“I had a great win at Sonoma last year and I am looking forward to another good race this weekend,” Pilgrim said. “Mid-Ohio and Toronto have shown us that we are no longer competitive for race wins. Johnny and I are running lap times around eighth and ninth quickest and we are doing well to finish fifth and sixth. Unfortunately we will probably be in the same boat for Sonoma, but we will be running flat out to over achieve again. Sonoma is the track where I won my first professional race back in 1986 in a Pontiac Trans-Am in the Firestone Firehawk Championship. We will have to watch many good drivers and cars this weekend around Sonoma. I think the Porsches, Audis, McLarens and Lamborghinis will all be tough. As far as drivers, Johnny and I were qualified on the same tenth of a second in eighth and ninth at Mid-Ohio, having run the fastest laps our Cadillac CTS.V.Rs ever ran at that track.”
Added O’Connell, “This has been a tough year. No doubt. At Mid-Ohio our best lap was 1.3 seconds behind the leading GT-3 cars. The only place we’ve been strong was Long Beach and Detroit where the corners are mostly second gear. The three adjustments (balance of performance) have basically taken us out of contention. We have been able to hang on to the championship by luck with the rain at Mid-Ohio and a lot of yellow running at Road America. It’s frustrating … Anyone in an Audi should be tough at Sonoma. Anthony Lazzaro in the Ferrari should be strong and Ryan Dalziel, of course, in the 31 Porsche. I think the McLarens are right on the edge of getting it right, so Alex Figge could be one to watch.”
The weekend’s race from the Cadillac Grand Prix of Sonoma will air on NBC Sports Network on August 30 at 1 pm EST and will be streamed live at world-challenge.com.