Cadillac Racing’s Johnny O’Connell finished third in Sunday’s World Challenge GT Race 2 at St. Petersburg, with teammate Michael Cooper bringing the second Cadillac ATS-V.R on grid home in fifth.
Race winner Patrick Long assumed the lead in his No. 58 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 Porsche 911 GT3 R after passing pole sitter Alex Riberas in his No. 61 R. Ferri Motorsport Ferrari 488 GT3 at Turn 1 on the first lap. Long held the rest of the pack behind him for the remainder of the race but had work hard to keep a hard-charging O’Connell at bay.
“Alvaro (Parente) and (Riberas) went way long and that opened up the opportunity for me to fall right into second,” O’Connell said. “In the early couple of laps, I thought I may have had something for Patrick, but, by half distance, my rear tires were just not there. The last 90-degree corner here just does not suit our car. We are great under braking and overall handling, but, that last corner, I just couldn’t match his speed through there this weekend. I couldn’t be more proud of this team to come away with a second and a fourth place finish. A good start to the year for us.”
Riberas rounded out the podium, slotting in behind O’Connell in third, while reigning GT champion and GT Race 1 winner Alvaro Parente finished fourth.
The 2017 World Challenge season will continue when the series follows the Verizon IndyCar series to Long Beach from April 7th to 9th.