Cadillac Racing has two third-place trophies to show for their efforts at the Pirelli World Challenge St. Petersburg Grand Prix this weekend after Johnny O’Connell’s podium in Round 3 Saturday and Michael Cooper’s in Round 4 Sunday.
O’Connell started from third place Saturday in the Cadillac ATS-V.R and maintained the spot heading into Turn 1 with teammate Cooper slotting in behind him in fourth. The race ran under green flag conditions for its entire duration, surprising considering the tight confines of the St. Petersburg circuit, and O’Connell managed to finish exactly where he started.
“That was hard work,” O’Connell said post-race. “The fact that the race went green the entire distance speaks to the level of driving talent in the series. I think I got everything out of the Pirelli tires today. With about five laps to go I was sliding the Cadillac ATS-V.R Coupe around pretty good. There are certain circuits that will suit our car and St. Pete is not really one of them.”
Cooper, who lost one spot and fell down to fifth, said he might’ve pushed harder had he not been saving his tires in anticipation of a yellow flag and an ensuing restart.
“I was surprised that the race went green the whole way,” he said. “At the start I just slid in behind Johnny. He was very strong in the opening laps. I was focused on taking care of the tires during the race. I was anticipating a caution and a restart so I wanted to make sure I had some car left to take advantage of a redo.”
Joining O’Connell on the podium was race winner Michael Lewis of Effort Racing and second place’s Alvaro Parente of K-Pax Racing.
O’Connell started Sunday’s race from third, while Cooper started from eighth. Things didn’t go as smoothly as in Round 4, with the caution being put out almost immediately for a shunt involving Porsche Cup driver Corey Fergus. The race resumed on lap 16, but another caution flew in lap 22. Upon the restart on lap 27, Cooper cleared O’Connell around the outside to take fourth. He then dipped on the inside of the No. 31 Porsche of Patrick Long on the final lap to claim third, giving Cadillac their second podium of the weekend. Lewis was again first, followed by Nissan GT Academy’s JD Davison in second.
Click here for full results from Round 3 at St. Pete and here for results from Round 4. The Pirelli World Challenge series will head to Long Beach the weekend of April 15thf or the Grand Prix of Long Beach presented by Cadillac.