Aschenbach Takes Second for Cadillac in Sebring Reigning SPEED GT Champion Scores Podium Finish in Team Cadillac Debut SEBRING, Fla., March 16, 2007 - For the fourth straight year, Team Cadillac was on the podium in the season-opening round of...
Aschenbach Takes Second for Cadillac in Sebring
Reigning SPEED GT Champion Scores Podium Finish in Team Cadillac Debut
SEBRING, Fla., March 16, 2007 - For the fourth straight year, Team Cadillac was on the podium in the season-opening round of the SCCA SPEED World Challenge GT series at Sebring International Raceway. After three consecutive runner-up finishes by Andy Pilgrim, this year it was Lawson Aschenbach who claimed runner-up honors in his first race with Team Cadillac.
"We had a great run today and my Cadillac CTS- V race car was flawless," Aschenbach declared. "This is a great way to start the season with a podium finish. We'll see if we can get to the top step at the next race in Long Beach."
Aschenbach combined solid race strategy with savvy driving to begin Team Cadillac's pursuit of the SPEED GT manufacturers championship in style. The race began with standing water on portions of the track following a thunderstorm of biblical proportions, but the racing line was drying rapidly when the field took the green flag in a single-file rolling start.
Aschenbach, the 2006 SPEED GT champion, started his No. 1 Cadillac CTS- V fifth in the queue, one spot behind his teammate Pilgrim. The twin Cadillacs steadily gained positions in the opening laps and were running third (Pilgrim) and fifth (Aschenbach) after five circuits. After the second-place Corvette suffered an apparent mechanical problem on the ninth lap, the Cadillac drivers moved up to second and third.
A restart following a full-course caution from lap 11 to lap 13 proved decisive. Aschenbach put the hammer down when racing resumed and moved to second, while Pilgrim was having problems with his gearbox and fell to sixth. Aschenbach pursued Eric Curran's Corvette relentlessly to the end of the 18-lap race, finishing 1.429 seconds behind Curran's red Corvette. Pilgrim was sixth across the stripe after a spirited duel with a pair of Porsches in the closing laps.
"We really wanted to win this race, but the Corvettes are tough to pass," Aschenbach reported. "They're 125 pounds lighter than us and use the same engine as our Cadillac CTS- V race cars. I can't say enough about Andy. He had a bout of bad luck this weekend, and he deserves to be up here along with me. I'm sure he'll be back."
Pilgrim saw his streak of podium finishes at Sebring end at three. "Unfortunately I had a gearbox problem so I was nursing the car," he explained. "I couldn't shift gears if there was any lateral load on the car. I figured out what was happening, but I couldn't race like that, so I just tried to stay out of trouble. It's disappointing, but sixth is better than seventh."
Cadillac is now second in the manufacturers championship and Aschenbach is second in the drivers' standings.
"Today's race was a fantastic start to the season," said Steve Wesoloksi, GM Road Racing Group manager. "Lawson made us proud and proved that he has the skills of a champion. If Andy hadn't had a mechanical problem, I think we could have had two Cadillac drivers on the podium."
-credit: gm racing