Team Cadillac Finishes Fourth and Fifth in Mid-Ohio SPEED GT Aschenbach and Pilgrim Keep Cool in Hot Championship Race LEXINGTON, Ohio -- On a perfect day for road racing, the manicured Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course hosted the seventh round of the...
Team Cadillac Finishes Fourth and Fifth in Mid-Ohio SPEED GT
Aschenbach and Pilgrim Keep Cool in Hot Championship Race
LEXINGTON, Ohio -- On a perfect day for road racing, the manicured Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course hosted the seventh round of the SCCA SPEED World Challenge GT series. Despite the scenic setting, the 29-lap race was no romp in the park for Team Cadillac as drivers Lawson Aschenbach and Andy Pilgrim finished fourth and fifth respectively.
The victory went to Eric Curran, who led every lap in his Corvette. Tommy Archer was second in a Dodge Viper and points-leader Randy Pobst third in a Porsche 911 GT-3.
Aschenbach and Pilgrim gained two positions before the start of the race when the qualifying times of Doug Peterson and Lou Gigliotti were disallowed following post-qualifying inspection. Consequently the Cadillacs moved up to fifth and sixth on the starting grid after qualifying seventh and eighth on Saturday.
Pilgrim had to take evasive action at the start to avoid hitting the stalled Porsche of Michael Galati. Aschenbach was on the inside and moved into fourth position as Pilgrim slotted in behind him.
"That was a close call," Pilgrim reported. "I had to make a violent left turn to miss the guy. He was no more than a car length in front of me, and I'm going full bore at the start. You've got to ease off the throttle but not lift completely because then you'll be passed by everyone."
The three frontrunners steadily pulled away from the two Cadillacs in the opening laps. Pilgrim was being pursued by James Sofronas' Porsche, but Sofronas was passed by Brian Kubinski's Corvette and Michael Galati's Porsche on the 10th circuit. Galati then got around Kubinski on the 11th lap and began to close on Pilgrim. The margin narrowed to less than one second in the closing laps.
"That was a lot of pressure," Pilgrim said "This series produces that kind of great competition, when you have a serious battle for fifth place. Michael was probably frustrated because of his problem at the start of the race, and I was just happy to hold him off at the finish.
"I knew he was coming, but my car was loose from the get-go," he explained. "It was pitch-and-catch throughout the race - every time I turned in, the back end would let go, and that's no way to drive Mid-Ohio. I got into big slides four or five times, but fortunately I caught it."
While Pilgrim was fending off Galati, Aschenbach had a relatively uneventful day. With the leaders out of sight and a four-second margin over his teammate, Aschenbach drove a steady race.
"I got a good start, and my Cadillac really took off," Aschenbach said. "We have to set up our cars so they'll come in after a few laps because the rules require us to carry so much weight, so the leaders were able to break away. At the end of the race, I was slipping and sliding. I didn't have anything for the Corvette, Viper and Porsche, so we were just trying to bring the car home in the points."
Team Cadillac now leads the manufacturers championship by two points after seven of 10 rounds. Chevrolet moved to second in the standings, two points ahead of Porsche. Pilgrim is now 18 points behind Pobst in the drivers championship, and Aschenbach is third, 12 points behind Pilgrim.
"The Team Cadillac drivers and crew did a great job today on a track that doesn't favor the Cadillac CTS- V ," said Steve Wesoloski, GM Racing Road Racing Group manager. "Both drivers ran a clean race, and Andy did an awesome job to get around the stalled car at the start and then hold off Galati's Porsche at the end. Cadillac continues to lead the manufacturers championship, and we're looking forward to the next race in Mosport."
The Mid-Ohio SPEED GT race will be televised tape-delayed on Saturday, July 28, at 4 p.m. EDT on the SPEED Channel. The next event for Team Cadillac is the Grand Prix of Mosport at Mosport International Raceway in Bowmanville, Ontario, on Saturday, August 25 at 6:35 p.m. EDT.
Aug. 25, Mosport International Raceway, Bowmanville, Ontario
TV: SPEED, Sept. 1, 2 p.m. EDT
-credit: gm racing/tc