Cadillac V-Performance Racing drivers Johnny O’Connell and Michael Cooper are returning for the 2017 Pirelli World Challenge (PWC) GT season. Joining the duo will be Jordan Taylor and Ricky Taylor for the five SprintX rounds behind the wheel of the Cadillac ATS-V.R Coupe.
The Taylor brothers are celebrating an exciting IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship win at the Rolex 24 at Daytona where they drove the all-new Cadillac DPi-V.R prototype to the overall victory. The PWC season will open with a sprint round in the streets of St. Petersburg at the Cadillac Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on March 10-12.
O’Connell is coming off a three-race win season in 2016 (wins at Circuit of the Americas, two at Sonoma Raceway) and a pole position (Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca). O’Connell is a four-time PWC GT driver champion and drives the Velocity Red No. 3 Cadillac ATS-V.R Coupe. Teammate Cooper posted two wins last year (Barber Motorsports Park and Mid-Ohio) and a pole at Barber Motorsport Park. Cooper will start his sophomore season with his No. 8 Cadillac ATS-V.R in a new Vector Blue livery.
Jordan and Ricky Taylor will join the team for the PWC SprintX rounds. The SprintX rounds will take place at Virginia International Raceway, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, Lime Rock Park, Utah Motorsports Campus and the Circuit of the Americas. The dynamic of two-driver racing in the PWC series is an exciting prospect for the four Cadillac drivers. Driver pairings for the April 28-30 SprintX opening round at VIR are forthcoming.
“I’m very much looking forward to the 2017 PWC season,” O’Connell said. “We had one bad weekend last year that really cost us, and I’ve been training hard all winter looking for some redemption. Ricky and Jordan are doing a great job proving themselves on the world stage, especially with that great win at Daytona two weeks ago. I am very much looking forward to working with them this season in the SprintX races. Amazing strides have been made the last several years in PWC that have made it a destination for top drivers. I plan to keep an open mind heading into the first SprintX round at VIR in April.”
Cooper is eager for the season to start.
Ricky Taylor is looking forward to running in a sprint format again.
“I am extremely excited to share the ATS-V.R with the guys,” Ricky Taylor said. “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. 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. I think it will be a different mindset than I am used to. While we have to be aggressive and track position is important, we still have to give the car off to our teammate in good condition to go win the race. 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.”
Jordan Taylor is excited about running at VIR and Lime Rock again.
“It’s been a few years since I’ve been to VIR and Lime Rock,” he said. “Those are tracks that I always enjoyed. They are true, old-school race tracks in America. The layouts are very enjoyable for a driver and present a big challenge for the engineers. VIR has always been one of my favorite tracks, so I can’t wait to get back there.”