NEW YORK — Cadillac has placed its championship-winning Pirelli World Challenge V-Performance Racing GT team into hibernation.
The program concluded following a doubleheader sweep in the GT class last weekend at California’s Sonoma Raceway.
Since the team first assembled in 2004 to take the first Cadillac CTS-V Sedan sprint racing against the toughest GT competition around, it has amassed 33 wins, 121 podium finishes and 25 pole positions. Cadillac competed in 332 races during 11 years of competition.
Drivers having contributed to the program include Johnny O’Connell, Michael Cooper, Ricky Taylor, Jordan Taylor, Andy Pilgrim, Max Angelelli, Ron Fellows, John Heinricy, Olivier Berretta and Lawson Aschenbach.
The team won World Challenge Manufacturer Championships in 2005, ’07, ’12, ’13 and ‘14. Cadillac Racing drivers earned the World Challenge Driver’s Championship in 2005 with Andy Pilgrim, and with Johnny O’Connell in ’12, ’13, ’14 and ’15. This year, Michael Cooper and copilot Jordan Taylor earned the first-ever SprintX Driver Championship honors.
“Throughout 11 years of competition with Cadillac Racing in the Pirelli World Challenge Series, we have taken tremendous pride in our successes, including 33 wins, 121 podium finishes and multiple manufacturer and driver’s championships,” said Mark Kent, director of motorsports competition for Cadillac Racing. “We also have taken tremendous pride in the level of technology transfer that has occurred between the Cadillacs competing on track and their showroom counterparts. This technology transfer has helped make the Cadillac ATS-V and CTS-V production models very track-capable and athletic.”
“Cadillac road cars are better than ever thanks to racing with World Challenge,” said Rich Brekus, global director of product strategy for Cadillac. “Equally importantly, the Cadillac Racing GT Team has earned the enthusiasm of thousands of fans around the world. You will see Cadillac Racing t-shirts in the crowd at Le Mans each year, thanks to the GT program. The team has provided excellent representation on and off the track, and perfectly reflects the core of passion in our brand. The drivers and crew have been true ambassadors as we introduced Cadillac V-Performance to the marketplace. In 2018, we will take a pause in Pirelli World Challenge as we focus completely on our effort in prototype sports car racing. However, we maintain a regular and open communication with Greg Gill, the World Challenge CEO, and hope to one day return to the Series in some form.”
Finishing in style befitting Cadillac, Michael Cooper punctuated the success of the Cadillac Racing GT program by winning both of the season-ending races at Sonoma Raceway in the Vector Blue No. 8 Cadillac ATS-V.R Coupe on Sept. 16-17.
In the program’s second and third chapters, rebuilding after the 2008-’10 stand down for the Great Recession, the team’s most competitive streak occurred from 2012-’15 when Johnny O’Connell earned four consecutive driver championships.
Three of those were secured in the mighty Cadillac CTS-V.R Coupe and one in today’s GT3-homologated Cadillac ATS-V.R Coupe. In the same period, O’Connell posted 13 wins in the CTS-V.R and five in the ATS-V.R.