After placing eighth at Sonoma Raceway late last month, Cadillac Racing’s Johnny O’Connell moved into the Pirelli World Challenge Championship points lead. With only one race left, O’Connell’s chances at once again winning the series championship are good, however he must hold off R.Ferri Motorsports’ Olivier Beretta, who sits just 26 points behind O’Connell in second.
Speaking to RACER, O’Connell noted that he and Beretta used to both race for Corvette Racing in the C6.R and frequently got into to heated on-track battles. The two drivers’ intense history may flare up again as the PWC heads to Laguna Seca for the last race of 2015, but either way, they will remain friends off the track.
“Though things sometimes got heated with each other on the racetrack, Olivier and I have always had high respect and great friendship off the racetrack,” O’Connel said.
The ATS-V.R, which is in its first full season of racing, has yet to lap Laguna Seca, so the Cadillac Racing team will have plenty of work to do in practice ahead of qualifying Friday. O’Connell and teammate Andy Pilgrim will also have their hands full, as the Pirelli World Challenge did not visit Laguna Seca in 2014 or 2013, so the track may take some getting used to at first.
“The only strategy I can have is to do everything I can to try to win the race,” O’Connell said. “If I enter an event with that mindset things usually work out well. Since the Cadillac ATS-V.R will run Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for the first time, I’m hopeful that, together with the Cadillac Racing team, we can get it set up to get the job done. There are several third- and fourth-gear corners where I think the ATS-V.R will be fast. With that said, there’s other manufacturers that I know will have good cars as well.”
Cadillac Racing will hit the track at Laguna Seca this Saturday for qualifying before the final round of the 2015 Pirelli World Challenge goes green on Sunday at 1:35 p.m. PDT . The race will later be aired on CBS Sports Network on September 20 at 3:30 p.m. ET.