Cadillacs start 2017 Pirelli World Challenge at St Pete Race 1

Johnny O’Connell led the two Cadillac ATS-V.R entries for race 1 of Pirelli World Challenge GT class at the Grand Prix St Petersberg today.

The preliminary final results — O’Connell in 4th and Michael Cooper in 7th for Cadillac.  The best lap times of today’s race determine qualification placement for tomorrow’s race.  The Cadillacs appear to be a bit off pace for the St Pete street track.  St Pete is a 1.8 mile, 14 turn temporary circuit.

The Cadillac ATS-V.R is a racing extension of the street car.  It uses a production based LF4.R twin turbo V6 engine making ~600 hp in the race cars.  The ATS-V.R’s also feature wider bodies and accommodation for wider tires.

Cadillac expected to offer full-spec GT3 customer cars as well, but so far we have not seen independent teams in the field.  Later in the year the Taylor brothers plan to join the fray, so we should see a 4 Cadillac team.

The Sunday GT race 2 will be at 3:15 ET.

Cadillac ATS-V.R Ready for Race Debut

DETROIT – Cadillac Racing is ready to debut the all-new Cadillac ATS-V.R race car in the opening round of the Pirelli World Challenge Series at the Circuit of the America’s in Austin, Texas, March 6-8.

2015 bottom photo

The ATS-V.R is the racing extension of the upcoming 2016 Cadillac ATS-V Coupe. The race car encompasses more than a decade of V-Series engineering experience into the brand’s first compact performance model. The new ATS-V.R meets international FIA GT3 specifications, a pedigree that allows it to potentially run in more than 30 different GT series around the world. New to the program is the revolutionary twin turbocharged V6 LF4 engine. The race version, named LF4.R developed by GM Powertrain, has received race specific modifications to meet the demands of the FIA GT3 specification.

Throughout the 24 month development cycle, which used the already performance built ATS-Coupe as the baseline, the team took answers from computer simulations, data from the previous generation CTS-V.R and the latest in racing technology to create the ATS-V.R. In September of 2014 the all-new car hit the track for the first time. Since then the team has progressed through a testing plan that will continue through the racing season. While accumulating test miles over the fall and winter at various locations, the teams at GM and Pratt & Miller Engineering were simultaneously building the two primary race cars.

“A lot of details had to come together since last September,” said David Caldwell, Cadillac Racing program manager. “The entire team has been digging deep non-stop and I’m happy with the progress we have made. Our focus has been testing on and off track and getting the drivers and engineers comfortable with the new car.  We are very excited to be able to finally debut the car in its first race at the Circuit of the America’s on March 7.”

“We are still learning about the ATS-V.R,” said O’Connell.  “It has a very nice and direct turn down to the apex. Which is a natural evolution over the CTS-V.R. You also don’t notice the mass as much. The downforce from the FIA GT3 parts gives you a little bit more confidence with the car in the faster corners. Developing a new car is always challenging, especially when you combine the development of a new engine as well. The engines definitely have different characteristics when comparing the last generation V8 to the twin turbo V6. I’m sure Andy and I will adjust to the nuances of the new engine and don’t expect to have any issues. Development of a new car is something I’ve always enjoyed doing, and I look forward to seeing what the true potential of the car is on a race weekend.”Three-time defending Pirelli World Challenge GT Champion Johnny O’Connell, driver No. 3 Cadillac ATS-V.R , knows there is still some mystery with the new ATS-V.R.

“The thing I am noticing most in the new car is the shifting,” said Pilgrim. “This is the first race car I have driven with paddle shifters and I’m really enjoying it. I am practicing by putting my CTS-V Sport into manual mode every time I drive it. I want to make sure the left/down, right/up shift pattern becomes second nature. I am not noticing the ground effects to any degree in the slower to mid-speed corners, which makes sense, but as the speed gets up there, I notice the car sticking to the track, which is making fast sweepers a blast. I think the most interesting element about testing, so far, has been how comfortable I was in the car from the very beginning. Even though the ATS-V.R has stiffer suspension it was very balanced right off the trailer, which makes giving accurate feedback much easier. The new engine is pulling well off the slower corners with little turbo lag. It’s very hard to tell if the cars are different in respect to speed, but I’m very happy we’re not dealing with a bunch of turbo lag at this point.”Andy Pilgrim, driver Cadillac ATS-V.R No. 8, holds the distinction of being the only driver to race, and develop, all three generations of Cadillac V-Series race cars as well as being the 2005 World Challenge Series Champion.

Along with the new ATS-V.R race cars hitting the track, Cadillac will also debut the new Pirelli World Challenge Cadillac ATS-Pace Car.

“Cadillac is continuing its participation as the Official Pace Car of the Pirelli World Challenge Series for 2015,” said John Kraemer, Cadillac V-Series and racing marketing manager. “We will also have the new Escalade on track as the Official Medical Response Vehicle. Cadillac will continue to host V-Series owners at every racing event this season. With the all-new ATS-V and the CTS-V coming to market it is going to be as exciting in the Cadillac experiential zone as it will be on the track this summer.”

The Pirelli World Challenge Series season opening Cadillac Grand Prix of the Circuit of the America’s will run March 6-8.

Since the team’s inception in 2004, Team Cadillac has amassed 26 wins, 91 podium finishes (including wins) and 22 pole positions. The team won the World Challenge Manufacturer Championship in 2005, 2007, 2012, 2013 and 2014. Team Cadillac drivers have won the World Challenge Driver’s Championship in 2005 with Andy Pilgrim and in 2012, 2013 and 2014 with Johnny O’Connell.

Cadillac CTS-V.R: Racing and winning in the Pirelli World Challenge


Lead Photo CTS-Vs 02The Cadillac CTS-V series of vehicles are General Motors’ prestige performance cars that are challenging the best cars the world has to offer. Cadillac has thrown down the gauntlet in the marketplace and they’ve taken the offensive to the racetrack as well. Team Cadillac successfully competes in the Pirelli World Challenge with the CTS-V.R, a special racing version of the CTS-V Coupe. In 2014, Team Cadillac will be defending their manufacturer’s championships and the driver’s championships they won in 2012 and 2013.

Pirelli World Challenge Series

The Pirelli World Challenge (PWC) is a production-based road racing series that provides manufacturers a competitive arena in which to prove their products. PWC races are sprint races of 50 minutes duration. There are no scheduled pit stops, no driver changes and not a lot of racing strategy—if a driver is not starting at the front of the class, he or she has 50 minutes of flat-out driving to get there.

Cadillac CTS-V.R

The Cadillac CTS-V.R is a specially modified version of the CTS-V Coupe. Anything that does not contribute to the CTS-V.R accelerating faster, stopping quicker or handling better has been tossed out. It weighs in about 1,000 pounds lighter that the street-legal Coupe and is powered by a 6.2-liter V8 engine that is restricted by PWC rules to 505 horsepower. Brembo brakes provide enough stopping power to make your eyes bug out and Pirelli racing tires give it plenty of cornering grip.

CTS-V 02Team Cadillac Drivers

The CTS-V.R is undoubtedly a superb race car, but a team doesn’t win consecutive championships in the very competitive PWC without exceptional drivers, and Team Cadillac has two of the best—Johnny O’Connell and Andy Pilgrim. Both are experienced and talented, and both have won multiple drivers championships in the PWC for Cadillac in addition to being successful at Le Mans and Sebring. The competitive fire still burns intensely and once the green flag drops, no quarter is asked or given.

Here’s a video of Team Cadillac in action.

New Players for 2014

Team Cadillac’s quest for a manufacturer’s GT Class championship three-peat this year was thrown a potential stumbling block by a change in the PWC rules allowing FIA-homologated GT3 cars to compete in GT. The CTS-V.R will now have to go head-to-head against some of the best cars in the world—the Audi R8, McLaren 12C, Nissan GTR, Lamborghini Gallardo, Porsche GT3 R, Acura TLX-GT and the Ferrari 458 GT3 Italia.

After four races at three different venues this year, it looks like business as usual—Team Cadillac finds itself in first place in the manufacturer’s points, while Johnny and Andy are second and third in the driver’s standings.

The next race for Team Cadillac will be the V-Series Challenge at Belle Isle, in Detroit Mich. on the weekend of May 30-June 1. NBC Sports Network will broadcast the race on Sunday, June 15 at 2:30 p.m.

Tune in and root for Team Cadillac to extend their lead, and for Johnny and Andy to move up in the driver’s standings.