2012 marks the 23rd season of the World Challenge Championship. It has been named the most competitive road racing series by AutoWeek, Car & Driver and RACER Magazine. The series is all about world-class drivers piloting production-based cars that come from more than 10 auto manufacturers. It’s a formula that has and will continue to serve the interests of manufacturers, drivers, automotive enthusiasts and race fans. Cadillac Racing’s potent Katech-powered CTS-V.R Coupe race cars return to the track in 2012 to compete for the Pirelli World Challenge Series title. They finished 2011 with victories in two of the season’s final four events and a flurry of podium finishes. Both the # 3 and # 8 Katech-powered CTS-V.R Coupes have been updated with advances in body work and powertrain. The team is focused on capturing both the Driver and Manufacturer titles. No strangers to the checkered flag of a race, veteran racecar drivers Johnny O’Connell and Andy Pilgrim bring a fierce sense of competition to the Cadillac Racing team. O’Connell is behind the wheel of the # 3 car, and Pilgrim drives the # 8 car, and both cars are based on the critically acclaimed Cadillac CTS-V Coupe production car.
The 2012 WCC season kicked off this previous weekend with the season opener in St. Petersburg, Florida. Katech engines performed flawlessly and propelled the Cadillac CTS-V.Rs to the top of the podium. During race 1 on Saturday, Johnny O’Connell finished right behind Porsche 911 of Aschenbach. But after official review O’Connel was declared the winner of race one. The officials revealed that Aschenbach passed multiple cars and took the lead at the scene of a local yellow between turns three and four for the stalled # 23 Mustang Boss on the final lap. As a result, Aschenbach was penalized 60 seconds, dropping him to 11th in class and 27th in the final race standings. This marked the sixth career victory for O’Connell in World Challenge competition and his third St. Pete win. The second race on Sunday showed how well the Cadillac’s were running, with a 2nd and 3rd podium finish.
O’Connell will move on to Long Beach with the early GT points lead, 265-239, over Aschenbach. This marks his second consecutive victory in the Katech-powered # 3 Cadillac Racing CTS-V.R on Saturday night after winning the 2011 season finale at Road Atlanta. O’Connell states, “It really shows all the hard work that Cadillac did in the offseason. We had really good cars. I actually had a better car today. We had made some changes to it overnight to make it more nimble and it was, but the added weight that we got from winning yesterday made a difference. That is the hardest I’ve driven in a long time. I was just pushing so hard.”
Andy Pilgrim, of Marina Del Rey, FL., made it two Cadillacs on the Race 2 podium with a third-place run in the Katech-powered # 8 Cadillac Racing CTS-V.R Coupe. Pilgrim was at the center of a number of wild starts and restarts but he managed to keep it clean and secure another solid result. Pilgrim finished fourth in Race 1.”It was very wild,” Pilgrim said. “The restarts were especially wild. I was hoping we’d both get top fives this weekend and get out of here, because you never know with this place. It’s a street course and there’s a lot of damaged equipment. It’s just a street race. I’m very happy with top three today. Johnny got a great win yesterday and for me, it’s always a team deal, but I’m glad to be on the podium. What can I say? It’s St. Pete and we’re out of here with two top fives, so I’m happy.”
-Mike Kasatkin, Marketing Dept.