Cadillac Racing is looking for a second consecutive win on the tight 1.968-mile, 12-turn street circuit at Long Beach this weekend. Driver Johnny O’Connell raced the CTS-V.R to a victory there last year and is hoping the new ATS-V.R will be just as competitive on the historic Long Beach track.
Both Cadillac Racing drivers have good report cards at Long Beach. Andy Pilgrim also won the street race in 2012 and shuffled in behind O’Connell in second place last year. The team stands a good chance of putting the ATS-V.R on the podium, however O’Connell admits they are still learning everything there is to know about the new V6-powered race car.
“We have four races under our belt with the new Cadillac ATS-V.R. I’m hopeful that Long Beach will be a good event for us,” O’Connell said. “We literally learn more about the car and what it likes with each lap that we run and we’re building a strong database. I’m hoping we show ourselves to be very competitive this weekend.”
Qualifying on the tight street circuit at Long Beach is critical, as there is little room for passing once the race starts. A caution flag will almost certainly be put out at some point, too, shortening the amount of time a driver has to make a move.
“I have to really assume that it’s going to be a green race,” said O’Connell. “Most important thing is to not let yourself get caught up in any incidents. No doubt qualifying this year is always going to be critical. I know that I’m going to go into the qualifying on full attack mode. Focused on putting in the perfect lap.”
Pilgrim is also hoping for a qualifying spot near the front of the grid, recognizing the threat of a caution.
“There is a lot of risk when qualifying on a street course,” added Pilgrim. “You have to be inch perfect and the walls don’t give. With 11 or 12 cars within half a second at St Pete, we will have to get it perfect minus a tenth at Long Beach, which will be tricky. I am very confident in my ATS-V.R so I’ll be putting it on the edge and see where we end up. There is no doubt at all that qualifying will be critical. I hope we can give the great California fans a caution-free race.”
Cadillac Racing will hit the track for the Pirelli World Challenge Series Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on Sunday at 4:30 PT. CBS Sports will then air the race on Sunday, April 26 at 3:30 p.m., however it can be streamed live from PWC’s website.