AUSTIN, Texas – Team Cadillac driver Andy Pilgrim finished second May 19 in GT in his No. 8 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe in the Pirelli World Challenge Series Cadillac Sports Car Challenge GT race at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA). Teammate Johnny O’Connell had a steering issue and was classified in 17th place.
O’Connell (Flowery Branch, Ga.) started from the pole position for the second of two races on the weekend based upon running the fastest lap of the first race yesterday, which he won. O’Connell got another strong start and raced into the lead. On the second lap, O’Connell pulled off the track in Turn 12 with a steering issue on the CTS-V Coupe.
Teammate Pilgrim (Boca Raton, Fla.) also got a good start following his teammate into Turn One, making it a Cadillac one-two on the first lap. As the race progressed, Pilgrim managed to lead 13 laps while being hounded by the Audi competitors. He was passed on lap 14 by the eventual winning Audi R8 of James Sofronas. Two laps later he was passed by the No. 24 Audi of Duncan Ende. On lap 20 the only caution of the race flew. The restart on lap 24 was the opportunity Pilgrim needed to get second place back for his second podium finish of the weekend.
“The Cadillac guys made the right adjustments last night and I was able to get a good start,” Pilgrim said. “I was pretty aggressive going into Turn One and managed to get the two Audis that were in front of me on the start. As the race went on, my tires started to get really hot. The Audi R8s are very strong. I really had nothing for James. I am very happy with second today and my third-place yesterday.”
The heat was affecting the handling of Pilgrim’s Cadillac CTS-V racer.
“The car was going on me as the race progressed,” he said. “The late yellow really helped me. I was able to cool the tires and make that last run to get second place back. With the new tires, the car got really tail-happy towards the end of the race. I think that is all we really had today. Everyone was really sliding around out there this afternoon.”
O’Connell had an up and down weekend. He finished on top of the podium, winning yesterday’s race and finishing 17th today.
“We had another really good start,” O’Connell said. “At that point I thought I had a really good hot rod. I was leading the race with Andy right behind me. On the second lap, I went through Turn 12 and as I unwound the steering wheel heading to 13 it froze in position. I am not sure what happened. The Team Cadillac guys are the best and we will get it fixed for Detroit.”
The Pirelli World Challenge Series will run the Cadillac V-Series Challenge on Detroit’s Belle Isle, May 31-June 2.
The Pirelli World Challenge Cadillac Sports Car Challenge races from the Circuit of the America’s will be televised on NBC Sports, Sunday, June 16 at 5 p.m. ET.