Cadillac Drivers O'Connell and Pilgrim Ready for Lime Rock
O'Connell has roots in region
DETROIT, (July 2, 2013) - Team Cadillac drivers Johnny O'Connell and Andy Pilgrim are ready for the Pirelli World Challenge Cadillac Grand Prix of Lime Rock, July 4-6.
After a month off, Team Cadillac comes into Lime Rock Park tied with Audi for first in the manufacturer standings, seven races into the 14-race schedule. O'Connell (Flowery Branch, Ga.) is 146 points behind series leader James Sofronas. Pilgrim (Boca Raton, Fla.) is 59 points behind his teammate. O'Connell has had a strong first half of the year winning two races, the first at Circuit of the America's (COTA), the second at Detroit. Pilgrim has also had a stout first half of the season, posting six top-five finishes with two second-place runs at Long Beach and Detroit.
O'Connell is a native of the northwest Connecticut area, born in nearby Poughkeepsie, New York. His father grew up there and later moved to Riverside, Connecticut. The O'Connell family burial plot is in Berry Town, about 20-miles from the track.
"I saw my first car race at Lime Rock Park," O'Connell said. "I must have been maybe seven years old. I just remember being captivated by all of the action. We sat atop the hill overlooking turns two, three and four."
The defending GT Champion will run the 1.5-mile, seven turn circuit without the chicane for the first time.
"Lime Rock Park is so short, we will have to deal with a lot of traffic," he said. "So having a Cadillac CTS-V that is nimble will be critical. Since we are not using the chicane, and I've never run the circuit without it, I've found in the past that if I like my car going through West Bend, I tend to like it everywhere. I would for sure expect the Audi to be competitive this weekend. When I broke in the second race at COTA I had the opportunity to watch them through the fourth gear carousel portion of the track. Simply put, they were in a different league than every other car out there."
Pilgrim likes the short layout of Lime Rock Park.
"I have always enjoyed Lime Rock. It's a very different type of road course," Pilgrim said. "The downhill right hander onto the front straight is one of my favorite turns. I believe car setup on this track is key, more so than on most road courses. There is no one corner that I focus on for setup of the Cadillac, but getting through the fast downhill right hander onto the front straight is key to a quick lap for sure."
The Floridian has a history at Lime Rock.
"My best memory at Lime Rock was running about 60 cars in a Firestone Firehawk race there in the late 1980s," he said. "That series was so popular. We had 60 cars in one class running for six hours. It was traffic insanity!"
The Pirelli World Challenge GT Series will run a double race weekend, July 5 and 6. The races from Lime Rock will be televised on NBC Sports, Saturday, July 20 at 4 pm ET.