O'Connell gives Cadillac ATS-V.R its first win

Dominates the Pirelli World Challenge round 8 race at CTMP

Three-time champ Johnny O’Connell gave the new GT3-spec Cadillac ATS-V.R its first win with a dominant performance at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park today, winning from the pole, and pulling away from second place at the drop of the checkered flag.

It appeared as though the 50-minute race would be decided under caution after a spin and crash by GT Cup driver Preston Calvert, who appeared to be trying to avoid the oncoming O’Connell and spun in a corner, skating across the grass into a tire wall. The tire wall came apart, requiring a lengthy repair, and even the track announcers thought the race would end under caution when the pace car suddenly dove for the pits, allowing for a green and white flag, and a one-lap dash to the finish.

Kevin Estre, in the No. 9 K-PAX/ Flying Lizard McLaren 650S GT3 mounted a charge for the lead, but in the end had his hands full fighting off veteran Butch Leitzinger in No. 20 Dyson Racing Bentley Continental GT3. Leitzinger’s teammate, Chris Dyson, made some decisive moves to reach fourth, ahead of Mike Skeen in fifth. Robert Thorne was shuffled back to sixth.

Favorites fade

Two favorites faded early: Ferrari driver Olivier Beretta finished seventh after starting second, while Porsche driver Ryan Dalziel finished 13th, never mounting a serious challenge. Nissan’s Bryan Heitkotter won in GTA, and Colin Thompson won in Porsche GT Cup. McConnell’s Cadillac teammate Andy Pilgrim went behind the wall with mechanical issues a lap after the 25-lap race began.

The field consisted of 37 cars. 

The ninth round starts Sunday at 3:00 p.m. ET, with O’Connell on the pole.

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series PWC
Event Canadian Tire Motorsport Park
Track Canadian Tire Motorsport Park
Drivers Butch Leitzinger , Johnny O'Connell , Kevin Estre
Article type Race report
Tags bentley, cadillac, ferrari