Cadillac ATS-V.R Ready for Competition Debut at COTA

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O’Connell and Pilgrim ready to compete

DETROIT – Cadillac Racing is ready to put the all-new Cadillac ATS-V.R on the starting grid for the Pirelli World Challenge Series opening Nissan Grand Prix of Texas at the Circuit of the America’s (COTA) in Austin, Texas, March 6-8.

Johnny O’Connell (Flowery Branch, Ga.) and Andy Pilgrim (Boca Raton, Fla.) are eager to put their new Cadillac ATS-V.R race cars on the track. The ATS-V.R is the third generation of V-Series race cars and is the competition extension of the upcoming 2016 Cadillac ATS-V Coupe.  The team is excited to see how the new ATS-V.R will match up to the Pirelli World Challenge field at one of the country’s finest racing facilities.

Three-time Pirelli World Challenge GT champion O’Connell is enthusiastic about running the next generation of V-Series race cars at COTA this weekend.

“The car is without a doubt far more advanced than the previous CTS-V.R,” said O’Connell.  “This places more challenges on the engineering staff and the GM Powertrain team with tuning the LF4.R twin-turbo engine.  I am confident that the new car will prove itself to be a worthy successor to our previous car in all aspects.”

O’Connell and the team gained valuable data at the COTA test last week.

“Unfortunately with the track being so big I never really found myself on the circuit around someone to judge ourselves against at the test,” he continued. “I’m sure we will have plenty of opportunities to see how we stack up against the other teams. Just about everyone in the field will be tough this year. Naturally Porsche will be tough with Ryan Dalziel, but you also need to recognize that both Dyson Racing with their Bentleys and Flying Lizard with the McLaren should be very fast.  Let’s also not forget that my old friend Olivier Beretta who is lightning quick will be in a Ferrari and Mike Skeen I expect to once again be the guy to show how fast the Audi can run.  It should be an epic season.”

Teammate Pilgrim has been impressed with ATS-V.R in testing.

“The most impressive aspect of the ATS-V.R so far is the balance,” Pilgrim said. “We just tested in horrendous damp and freezing conditions at COTA.  The chassis gave me the ability to control and catch the slides at a level that was very surprising and more than a little entertaining.  The conditions at COTA were so difficult due to the cold that it is tough to say where we are in relation to our competition.  I think we are in the ball park.  I’m really looking forward to the COTA races to find out for sure.”

Pilgrim knows that the series will take another step in competitiveness this season.

“I hear factory drivers are coming from Porsche, Ferrari and McLaren,” he continued.  “These guys will be very tough.  The Bentley team has been testing nonstop and will be a solid force. I cannot say if we will be competing for a podium spot right out the box at COTA, but I do know for sure, no other team will be trying harder than Cadillac Racing.”

Cadillac Racing competed at the 3.4-mile, 20-turn COTA circuit located southeast of Austin in 2013. O’Connell won the first race (classified 17th in the second) and Pilgrim finished second in race two (third in race one) on that weekend.  The first visit to COTA in 2013 had the series running the abbreviated track layout. This weekend the 48 car GT field will race on the full length Formula 1 circuit.

The Pirelli World Challenge Series season opening Nissan Grand Prix of Texas at the Circuit of the America’s will run March 6-8.  The GT races from COTA will be televised on the CBS Sports Network Sat., Mar. 14 at 11 am.