Cadillac Takes a Pair of Podiums From First SprintX Round

Michael Cooper and Jordan Taylor took home a pair of third-place finishes from the weekend of Pirelli World Challenge racing at Virgina International Raceway.

It was a mild miracle the pair managed to drag the No.8 Cadillac ATS-V.R onto the rostrum after the car’s battery died a mere 50-yards from the starting stand. Luckily the team was able to turn the car around before Cooper lost a lap, getting him out just 2 turns before the pack came around. A full course caution just after the driver changes helped the No.8 car get back on the lead lap, where Jordan Taylor would drive it home to a fifth place finish overall, but third in class.

“At the start the car just stopped, the battery just failed,” Cooper said. “To finish fifth overall and third in class is pretty good considering I was in last place about 200 yards in front of the leader around this 3.2-mile track.”

“The driver change went pretty well,” said Jordan. “We beat our 30-second minimum. I was able to get all my belts and hoses on in that time. The first couple of laps I was running by myself. We thankfully got a caution.”

The sister No.3 ATS-V.R driven by Johnny O’Connell and Ricky Taylor was unfortunately taxed with a drive through penalty for being a half-second too quick during the driver changes, the Pratt & Miller-run squad was far from the only team to be caught out by driver changes. Ultimately O’Connell and Taylor would finish eighth overall, sixth in class.

“I was able to go from 11th to sixth on the first lap,” O’Connell said. “I had a great start. I am very pleased with my stint in the Cadillac ATS-V.R Coupe. We were in third when I brought it to pit lane. We were just short of the time in the pits. Ricky had to come in and do a drive thru, but so did a lot of the other front running cars.”

“The driver change went well, maybe a little too well,” Ricky quipped. “Unfortunately we were less than a half of a second off on the count. I had to do a drive thru penalty. We were in a position to do well, but we had a mistake and that probably cost us the race. We go again tomorrow, I will have some work to do at the start to move the car up the field. Anything can happen.”

Race two would run much smoother for Cooper and Jordan. Starting from fourth on the grid Jordan quickly slid into third coming through the first turn where the No.8 ATS-V.R would remain for the rest of the afternoon.

“I think it was a good race,” Jordan Taylor said. “When we started the weekend in practice we were seventh or eighth. This was my first time starting a race in three years. I was able to get by the No. 4 Audi in Turn 1 and get behind the Mercedes. They were fast all weekend and I knew if I could hang them it would be good.”

“We had a really smooth driver change,” Cooper said.  “I had a big battle on the out lap and was able to get a position. There was a lot going on with the traffic. Jordan did a good job moving us up from fourth to third. We came in as soon as the pit window opened, we were able to gain that last podium position. It is nice to get a second podium finish on the weekend for everyone at Cadillac Racing.”

Meanwhile O’Connell and Ricky saw their weekend go from bad to worse. At the start of the race, Ricky was knife fighting in a phone booth with a swarm of cars thanks to his 12th-place grid position, he would manage to make up several spots before the mandatory driver changes. Unfortunately for Johnny O’Connell debris from an on-track incident would cut one of his car’s tires, forcing him to stop a second time, and dropping the No.3 Cadillac to 12th

“It was an eventful start,” Ricky Taylor said. “It was my first start with the Cadillac ATS-V.R. I learned a lot and I know what to do different the next time. I settled into the stint and was able to make up a couple of positions. We suffered from the track position that we lost from yesterday. You really have to put in a full weekend here in PWC. We were having a pretty good run, Johnny was pushing his way into the top five and then the flat took that away. The encouraging thing is that the team really executed well with no mistakes in this first SprintX weekend.”

“Congratulations to the guys in the No. 8 Cadillac, they had a great weekend,” O’Connell said. “We had a great race car both days. We moved up in our run today like we did yesterday. The Mercedes checked out, the rest of us were in a nice pack. Unfortunately during that last wreck I picked up a puncture and had to pit for a tire. We were running seventh and I was ready to make a move toward the end, then that crash happened. We have had three tough race weekends.”

The team next heads to Canadian Tire Motorsport Park just outside Toronto May 19-21, while the Taylor brothers are back in action this weekend as IMSA heads to Texas.