On Monday, Cadillac Racing announced their 2017 Pirelli World Challenge driver lineup. Their full-time drivers will be unchanged. Four-time GT class champion Johnny O’Connell will return to the No. 3 Cadillac ATS-VR for his seventh year with the team. Meanwhile, Michael Cooper will return for his second year in the No. 8. Cooper’s No. 8 will carry a “vector blue” scheme as opposed to black.
The 54-year old O’Connell is excited about the upcoming season.
“I’m very much looking forward to the 2017 PWC season,” O’Connell stated in an official press release. “We had one bad weekend last year, that really cost us, and I’ve been training hard all winter looking for some redemption.
“I am very much looking forward to working with [the Taylor brothers] this season in the SprintX races,” O’Connell continued. “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.”
However, 2017 brings the expansion of Sprint-X to the primary show for Pirelli World Challenge’s five standalone weekends. As a result, second drivers are necessary for those races (VIR, Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, Lime Rock, Utah Motorsports Campus and COTA). For those events, Cadillac Racing has dipped into their IMSA bench and tapped Jordan and Ricky Taylor to join the program.
For Jordan, it is a return of sorts. The younger of the Taylor brothers has four career starts in Pirelli World Challenge with Cadillac Racing, the most recent of which coming in 2013. Jordan’s best career finish is a second in the first race of the weekend at Mid-Ohio in 2012. However, this was in the older CTS-V Coupe built to World Challenge standards.
Jordan is excited to return to Cadillac Racing.
“I’m really looking forward to getting back in the Cadillac ATS-V.R.,” Jordan stated. “It’s been a few years since I’ve been with the team in competition, but I’ve always kept in contact and kept my eye on them during their race weekends. These races have more of a sprint race feel from what we’re used to. Our shortest race is 100 minutes, at Detroit and Long Beach. 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.”
Racing in the Sprint-X events gives Jordan the chance to race at VIR and Lime Rock, tracks that host IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship races, but not for Prototype teams.
“It’s been a few years since I’ve been to VIR and Lime Rock,” Jordan continued. “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.”
For Ricky, VIR will mark his Pirelli World Challenge debut. Also, VIR will mark the first race for both of the Taylors in a GT3-spec race car.
None of the Pirelli World Challenge race weekends in 2017 clash with the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. The only weekend in which both series actually race is in April, but both series will be in Long Beach. There, the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship races on Saturday afternoon, while Pirelli World Challenge’s GT and GTA classes will race Sunday prior to the Verizon IndyCar Series Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.
The Pirelli World Challenge season is scheduled to begin Mar. 10 in St. Petersburg, Fla. There, the GT, GTA and GT Cup classes will run in support to the Verizon IndyCar Series.
About the author
Phil Allaway has three primary roles at Frontstretch. He's the manager of the site's FREE e-mail newsletter that publishes Monday-Friday and occasionally on weekends. He keeps TV broadcasters honest with weekly editions of Couch Potato Tuesday and serves as the site's Sports Car racing editor.
Outside of Frontstretch, Phil is the press officer for Lebanon Valley Speedway in West Lebanon, N.Y. He covers all the action on the high-banked dirt track from regular DIRTcar Modified racing to occasional visits from touring series such as the Super DIRTcar Series.
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