In November, Cadillac Racing announced it had parted ways with veteran racing driver Andy Pilgrim. Now, the 2015 Pirelli World Challenge GT champions have announced Pilgrim’s replacement: 26-year old Michael Cooper.
Cooper, who won the 2015 World Challenge GTS championship in his No. 10 Blackdog Racing Chevrolet Camaro Z/28, will replace Pilgrim in the No. 8 Cadillac ATS-V.R in 2016. He’s someone that General Motors has had their eye on, and with his strong performance in 2015, he was a shoe-in for the spot.
“Michael will be a great addition to Cadillac Racing,” said Cadillac Racing director Mark Kent. “He really captured our attention in the second round of the series at the Circuit of the Americas in March where, in the pouring rain, he started ninth and drove his Camaro Z/28 to the lead by the end of the first lap and went on to capture the win.”
“Since that race he continued to impress us with three more wins, two podiums, a couple of fourth place finishes and winning the GTS driver’s championship.”
2015 PWC champ, Johnny O’Connell, is also excited to welcome Cooper to the team.
“I remember clearly the first time I saw Cooper drive, I was impressed enough to let his father know the kid has very good skills,” O’Connell said.
“To have watched him progress through the ranks, observe his speed and race craft, speaks volumes to the fact that you can still make it to the top based on talent.”
“I am confident he’ll be a great addition to Cadillac Racing, and I look forward to working with him.”
Cooper is expectedly happy about locking down the drive and can’t wait to get to work with O’Connell, whom he first met back in 2009 when he was in his early 20s.
“Back in 2009 Johnny saw me drive at the CTS-V Challenge where, then GM president, Bob Lutz challenged civilians to try and beat the CTS-V around a race track,” Cooper said.
“After seeing my effort, Johnny said ‘this is the type of kid you hope pursues racing.’ Being Johnny’s teammate just six years later makes me feel like my racing career has really come full circle.”
“The opportunity to work with the team and represent the Cadillac brand is the stuff dreams are made of for a driver,” he added.