Cadillac Racing’s Johnny’ O’Connell finished 12th in the final race of the 2015 Pirelli World Challenge at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca Sunday, but surprisingly, the effort was enough to net him his fourth ever championship in the GT racing series.
O’Connell went into the final round of PWC racing in first place, just barely leading R.Ferri Motorsports’ Olivier Beretta. He and the Monaco native were locked in a heated battle early in the race, knowing either of them could end up champion, however a clumsy mistake by Beretta ultimately cost him the championship.
Beretta, who’s come under fire for aggressive driving more than once this season, was following O’Connell through Laguna Seca’s corkscrew section when he tried to pass the ATS-V.R on the inside. The gap didn’t exist, however, and he ended up bumping himself and O’Connell off the track.
After getting his No. 61 Ferrari restarted, Beretta was able move into third, while O’Connell was only able to get his Cadillac restarted in time to claim seventh. Beretta was later given a stop-go penalty, and was hit with a dose of karma when his car broke down at Turn 11, forcing him to finish 35th overall.
The turn of events meant O’Connell ultimately finished in front of Beretta, netting him and Cadillac their fourth consecutive PWC championship. If Beretta would have exercised patience things may have ended up differently, as the Ferraris were notoriously fast Laguna Seca (Ferrari driver Alessandro Balzan won, followed by Ferrari teammate Alessandro PierGuidi in second).
O’Connell’s Cadillac Racing teammate Andy Pilgrim finished the race in fourth behind third place’s Ryan Dalziel, who also finished third in the championship standings. The result was a good end to what was an unlucky season for the Briton.
Click here for full results from the Mazda Raceway Grand Prix Presented by Cadillac.