Cadillac Racing is preparing to head west to Sonoma for rounds 18 and 19 of the 2016 Pirelli World Challenge Championship.
Drivers Michael Cooper and Johnny O’Connell currently sit third and fourth in the PWC driver’s championship, respectively. Cadillac Racing is second in the team championship behind the McLaren crew of K-Pax Racing, while Cadillac is third in the manufacturer’s championship behind Porsche in first and McLaren in second.
Rounds 18 and 19 represent the third- and second-last races of the PWC season, with the championship round set to take place in early October at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Cooper is eager to score some points at the 2.2-mile, 12-turn circuit in California’s wine country, but he knows he’ll have a to deal with competitive mid-engine cars like the McLaren 650S of Alvaro Parente to do it.
“The Sonoma layout should suit our Cadillac ATS.V-R Coupe, which really likes tight twisty tracks and quick transitions – but so does the McLaren,” Cooper said. “This weekend is unusual for us in the sense that our practice time is limited and it is the last PWC weekend with double races. I see it as the last chance to make up a lot of points on our championship rivals. We are still in the championship hunt, in third and I do not want to finish second, third or fourth. Our goal is to win this championship.”
O’Connell is similarly mindful of the mid-engine cars and thinks the ATS-V.R will be at a slight disadvantage, but with his experience at the track, he just might be able to score some much-needed points for the Cadillac camp.
“From last year’s results Sonoma seems to favor a car with a mid-engine layout,” O’Connell said. “Those cars that are rear or mid-engine should have a big advantage getting off of Sonoma’s three very tight corners,” O’Connell said.
Having spent so many years there as a Bondurant instructor I know the circuit very well. One of the very cool things that we used to do was try to use the curb in Turn 3A to get the car up onto two wheels. Luckily none of us ever tipped over.”
Round 18 of the 2016 Pirelli World Challenge at Sonoma will kick off at 1:45 p.m. on Saturday, September 17th, while Round 19 will go green at 1:15 p.m. on Sunday, September 18th. Live streams of both races will be available via world-challenge.com, along with live timing at livetiming.net/pwc/. If you miss out on the streams, CBS Sports will host a re-run of both rounds on September 25th at 4:00 p.m. ET.