Cadillac Racing’s Michael Cooper won Sunday’s Pirelli World Challenge Alabama Grand Prix presented by Porsche, marking his first-ever win in the series’ professional GT class.
Cooper qualified first for Sunday’s event, which was the second of two GT races held at Barber Motorsports Park this weekend. His Cadillac Racing teammate Johnny O’Connell, meanwhile, started from the second row after qualifying third. When the race went green, O’Connell got a good start and attempted to pass second place’s Alvaro Parente in his McLaren on the inside, forcing him to block the Cadillac ATS-V.R and allowing Cooper to easily drive away in first.
The 50-minute affair ran under green flag conditions for its entire duration, with Cooper putting in strong laps and preserving his tires well to stay out front. O’Connell didn’t have the pace to keep with Cooper or Parente Sunday, but after carefully conserving his tires, he was able to reel the pair back in for a close third place finish.
“I knew early on that I didn’t have the car that Michael and Alvaro had today,” said O’Connell said post-race. “Congratulations to Michael on his first win. We just didn’t have the overall speed. I was able to really look after my tires so when we got to 10-minutes to go I could get back to them. I was able to reel them back in, but I needed a couple more laps. Great weekend for Cadillac getting four podium finishes. That is a good all-around team result.”
In Saturday’s race, Cooper again started from pole position but was unable to keep Parente at bay as they approached Turn 1. The McLaren driver managed to scoot out in front of the Cadillac and drove away with the win while Cooper finished second and O’Connell came home third.
Rounds six and seven of the 2016 Pirelli World Challenge series will take place at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville, Ontario on the weekend of May 19th.