Cadillac Racing has announced its program for the 2017 Pirelli World Challenge season in the GT class which includes Jordan and Ricky Taylor coming aboard for the five SprintX rounds.
Both Johnny O’Connell and Michael Cooper will return to the team to pilot the pair of Cadillac ATS-V.R Coupes for the full season, with O’Connell’s carrying the Velocity Red livery and Cooper sporting Vector Blue during his sophomore season with the team.
O’Connell, a four-time GT class champion, enters the 2017 season having won a single race at Circuit of The Americas and two at Sonoma Raceway last year.
“We had one bad weekend last year that really cost us, and I’ve been training hard all winter looking for some redemption,” O’Connell said.
“Amazing strides have been made the last several years in PWC that have made it a destination for top drivers.”
During his first year competing in the GT division with Cadillac last year, Cooper won races at Barber Motorsports Park and Mid-Ohio.
“Being back with Cadillac Racing is still very exciting to me and I can’t wait to get my sophomore season in the GT class started,” Cooper said.
“I’ve already heard of some other high-caliber efforts being launched for this year, which is great news. I think we are going to see the competition take another step up in PWC, which means it will be that much more exciting to watch.
“All of the Cadillac fans should be as excited as I am to have Jordan and Ricky with us for the SprintX races this year.”
The Taylor brothers teamed with retiring driver Max Angelelli and NASCAR legend Jeff Gordon to take the all-new Cadillac DPi-V.R of IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship team Wayne Taylor Racing to the overall win at the Rolex 24 at Daytona at the end of last month.
“Ricky and Jordan are doing a great job proving themselves on the world stage, especially with that great win at Daytona two weeks ago,” O’Connell added. “I am very much looking forward to working with them this season in the SprintX races.”
Jordan joins his brother Ricky in holding excitement over adding a few shorter races to their calendar this year.
“It’s been a few years since I’ve been with [Cadillac Racing] in competition, but I’ve always kept in contact and kept my eye on them during their race weekends,” Jordan said.
“These races have more of a sprint-race feel from what we’re used to. Our shortest race is 100 minutes … Those races also have just one pit stop, so I feel like we can draw from those experiences.
“You’re going to have to be on top of your game to win these races, there is no room for error in such short events.”
Ricky is just as ready to drive the Cadillac ATS-V.R Coupe under race conditions at the SprintX events, which will be held at Virginia International Raceway, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, Lime Rock Park, Utah Motorsports Campus and Circuit of The Americas.
“I have always been a huge fan of the ATS-V.R program and of Johnny and Michael so getting a chance to contribute to the team and hopefully another championship is a great opportunity,” Ricky said.
“I haven’t done a real sprint race in quite a few years now so it is very exciting. It will be more like a qualifying session than what I am used to, where tire wear is not a factor and the race is flat out from start to finish.”
“Three of the five tracks where we race this year in PWC are places that I really miss going to. Lime Rock is an extra special one for me as I have won there three times and it was my first professional win while driving with Max Angelelli. But they are all great circuits and all present very different challenges.”
The Cadillac team will look to add to the 31 wins, 109 podium finishes and 24 pole positions it has collected since debuting in 2004.
“The championship-winning Cadillac ATS-V.R Coupe has established itself as a clear winner in the Pirelli World Challenge series,” said Rich Brekus, Global Director of Product Strategy at Cadillac.
“Competing with and beating other top brands demonstrates and confirms the Cadillac V-Performance abilities on racetracks across North America.”
O’Connell and Cooper will kick off their 2017 campaign with Cadillac Racing during the weekend of March 10–12 on the streets of St. Petersburg.