Cadillac Racing’s Johnny O’Connell has been penalized for avoidable contact after he nudged Patrick Long during the last lap of Sunday’s 2016 Pirelli World Challenge season finale. The 2.1-second penalty shuffled the finishing order of the GT field, with O’Connell getting bumped from first to fifth and McLaren’s Leo Parente being awarded the win instead.
WC stewards decided to give O’Connell the penalty after he and Porsche driver Patrick Long made contact on the 27th lap of the 50-minute race. The coming together caused Long to go off at Laguna Seca’s turn five and into the gravel, allowing Parente to easily drive past and claim second.
“The penalty was assessed to Johnny O’Connell for avoidable contact entering turn five on the final lap of today’s GT/GTA/GT Cup Round 20,” said WC Vision CEO Greg Gill “The stewards looked at various angles of the incident and determined that Johnny had two wheels off the track and came back onto the track, making contact with Patrick. This contact knocked Patrick off the track in turn five. And the penalty was determined this evening after hours of review.”
O’Connell finished third in the PWC driver’s championship behind champion Parente and runner-up Long. His teammate Michael Cooper, who turned up fourth on Sunday, finished fourth in his first-ever season with Cadillac Racing and first season in the PWC’s GT class.