Cadillac Racing is hoping for a strong points weekend as the Pirelli World Challenge heads to Barber Motorsports Park following a rough race in Long Beach Sunday. Both Johnny O’Connell’s and Andy Pilgrim’s ATS-V.Rs have had to undergo repairs after being involved in two separate accidents in the caution-filled grand prix, forcing them to turn up 22nd and 23rd, respectively.
Pilgrim was forced into the wall at Long Beach first, putting out one of many yellow flags throughout the race. Eventual race winner Olivier Beretta also nudged O’Connell into the wall as him and Kevin Etre were racing for second, sending both the Cadillac and Estre’s McLaren into the tire wall. Surprisingly, O’Connell was fined $3,000 and 30 points for the incident.
“In the history of motorsports the responsibility for a safe pass has always rested on the overtaking driver,” O’Connell said. “That I have been fined and docked points from what happened at Long Beach is hard for me to understand. We, as a team, will pay the fine and continue to race hard and represent Cadillac with pride and passion.”
The outcome of the race in Long Beach would likely have been much different if O’Connell and Estre, two of the most competitive drivers on the grid, weren’t taken out so early on. O’Connell knows this, and is looking to bring the momentum the team had before the crash to Alabama.
“Based upon our practice times and Long Beach and our race set-up, I am looking to carry that competitiveness over to Alabama,” O’Connell said. “I expect the McLaren to be especially strong at Barber. Redemption from Long Beach will be very easy, the drivers need to do their jobs and not hit anybody. I am sure the driver’s meeting at Barber will be one for the record books.”
Pilgrim is also looking forward to having a more professional race at Barber, and elaborated on why him and O’Connell think the driver’s meeting in Alabama will be notable.
“I am sure this will be a driver meeting to remember at Barber and it needs to be after what happened last weekend at Long Beach,” Pilgrim added. “I am not sure I have ever seen a more ridiculous race in my whole professional career in motorsports. The officials of our series will do all they can to address this, but each individual driver also has their part to play to get things back on track. We have 15 races to go and that is a lot of races. I will need to do all I can to claw my way back up the standings and it starts at Barber Motorsports Park this weekend. The Barber track is not a great place for passing and it will test every driver’s patience, especially after Long Beach. This will hopefully be a character building weekend for the series, I believe we can pull it off.”
You can view all Pirelli World Challenge races live as they happen on the series’ website.