Cadillac V-Performance Racing driver Johnny O'Connell finished second in race two of the Pirelli World Challenge (PWC) GT Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Teammate Michael Cooper came home in fifth.
"At the start you always expect guys to get in this Turn One hot and run a little long," O'Connell said. "Alavaro [Parente] and the Ferrari went way long and that opened up the opportunity for me to fall right into second. In the early couple of laps I thought I may have had something for Patrick, but by half distance my rear tires were just not there. The last 90-degree corner here just does not suit our car. We are great under braking and overall handling, but that last corner I just couldn't match his speed through there this weekend. I couldn't be more proud of this team to come away with a second and a fourth place finish. A good start to the year for us."Based upon their fast laps from race one, O'Connell took the green flag from the sixth position and Cooper went away in ninth. Down into the first turn the six cars ahead of O'Connell's No.3 Cadillac ATS-V.R Coupe all showed a lot aggression trying to navigate the tricky right hander. O'Connell showed measured aggression and exited the turn in a solid second position behind eventual winner Patrick Long's Porsche.
Cooper had a good start and moved up to sixth from his ninth place starting spot. On lap 14 he passed the Porsche of Alex Udell for fifth. A late race caution had the young Cadillac driver run up alongside his nemesis from last year, Alvaro Parente's McLaren, for fourth but couldn't complete the pass and finished in fifth.
"I would have taken the fifth place without the late race caution," Cooper said. "But that just made it more exciting for everyone, including me. On the restart I let it roll of the last corner and I got into Alvaro a little. We then slipped and slid down through three and into four side-by-side. Today was a good recovery for us, from the ninth place starting spot up to fifth. I am pretty happy with that today."
The weekend's races will be televised on Saturday, March 18 at 2 p.m. ET on the CBS Sports Network.
Next on the schedule, the team will travel to California for the Long Beach Grand Prix, April 7-9.
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