SONOMA, Calif. - Cadillac Racing driver Johnny O'Connell won the first race of a double race weekend at the Pirelli World Challenge (PWC) Grand Prix of Sonoma presented by Cadillac this afternoon. Teammate Cooper followed in third.
In qualifying this morning, O'Connell (Flowery Branch, Ga) drove to a third place starting position with a time of 1:32.337. Cooper (Syosset, N.Y.) started next to O'Connell on row two in fourth based upon his time of 1:32.350.
At the start of the 50-minute race, O'Connell was able to move up a position into second behind pole sitter Austin Cindric's McLaren. As the caution free race progressed the four-time PWC Champion was sizing up the McLaren driver. On the last lap he was able to get to the apex of Turn 7 first and take the position and the win by leading the last half of the last lap. Cooper also made a run for second place, but was not able to make the pass stick. It is O'Connell's second win on the season, the first coming at the Circuit of America's season opening race weekend in March.
"The entire race I was sizing up the McLaren, seeing where he was strong and where our Cadillac was strong," O'Connell said. "We were faster in the carrousel and I thought if I see him wiggle and I am close enough I can make a move into 7 and that is what happened. I couldn't be more proud of everyone at Cadillac Racing. I had what I thought was my 60th win for GM at Long Beach and it got taken away, so this one is legit."
"I am pretty familiar with the Pirelli tires," Cooper said. "Once we got going I knew the pace of the front two would be tough to keep the tires under them. I made the call about five minutes into the race to be conservative and save the tires. Once I got to about the 15-minute mark of the race I started to push a little more. I didn't want to overdo it and fall back. It ended up working out, I just needed a few more minutes. A great result for Cadillac with the win for Johnny."
The Pirelli World Challenge Sonoma Grand Prix presented by Cadillac will run the second race, tomorrow at 4 p.m. ET. Live streaming can be viewed at MotorTrendOnDemand.com, live timing at via livetiming.net/pwc/. The race will be televised on the CBS Sports Network September 25 at 4:00 p.m. ET.
Cadillac Racing, since its inception in 2004, 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, 2014 and 2015 with Johnny O'Connell.
Cadillac has been a leading luxury auto brand since 1902. Today, Cadillac is growing globally, driven by an expanding product portfolio featuring dramatic design and technology. More information on Cadillac appears at www.cadillac.com. Cadillac's media website with information, images and video can be found at media.cadillac.com.