Cadillac Duo Set for Daytona-Lime Rock Double-Header Team Cadillac's Papis and Angelelli to Do Double Duty in Grand American and SPEED World Challenge Races LAKEVILLE, Conn. - While many Americans celebrate the Fourth of July with fireworks...
Cadillac Duo Set for Daytona-Lime Rock Double-Header
Team Cadillac's Papis and Angelelli to Do Double Duty in Grand American and SPEED World Challenge Races
LAKEVILLE, Conn. - While many Americans celebrate the Fourth of July with fireworks and family gatherings, two fiery Italians driving for Team Cadillac will be pulling double duty in GM-powered race cars. Team Cadillac regular Max Papis and guest driver Max Angelelli will kick off the holiday weekend driving Pontiac-powered Daytona Prototypes in the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series race at Daytona International Raceway on Thursday night, June 30. The pair will then fly to Connecticut and join Andy Pilgrim in the first practice for Saturday's SPEED World Challenge GT race at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Conn. Team Cadillac goes into the sixth round of the 11-race series leading the drivers and manufacturers championship.
Commuting between race tracks is becoming routine for Papis. In April, he competed in an IROC race at Texas Motor Speedway, and then won at Road Atlanta in his black Cadillac CTS-V, leading a 1-2-3 podium sweep for Team Cadillac. The versatile driver also competed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans with Corvette Racing on June 18-19, finishing second in the GT1 class.
"Lime Rock is a very demanding track, and I think it is going to be a very physical race with close action on the track," Papis predicted.
Papis hasn't competed at Lime Rock Park for nearly a decade, but he vividly recalls his success there in 1996 when he won an IMSA World Sports Car event on Memorial Day weekend driving a Ferrari 333.
"I remember two things: the traffic was very difficult, and the people were very enthusiastic," said "Mad" Max, who now resides in Miami. "Lime Rock is a race track that fans really care about; it's one of those historic places that has years and years of tradition. This year is like a welcome back tour for me because I'm going to many race tracks where I've raced before."
While Papis and Angelelli are dealing with the effects of jet lag, Pilgrim will be relishing his status as the leader of the SPEED GT drivers' standings. A third-place finish in Cleveland last Sunday gave Pilgrim the lead in the championship race.
"Lime Rock is a short track, but it has a lot of fun corners," Pilgrim reported. "There are three fast turns that I love: the corner before the hill, the corner at the top of the hill, and the turn going onto the front straight. The track is a bit rough, but the bumps just don't seem to affect our Cadillacs' suspension.
"It's a very tight track and passing is difficult," Pilgrim explained. "That means that it's critical to qualify well and to get a good start. You want to be in the lead pack early."
Team Cadillac has a two-point lead over Porsche in the SPEED GT manufacturers championship after five races. GM Racing program manager Dave Spitzer anticipates another exciting ride on the Lime Rock roller coaster.
"Team Cadillac will be competitive at Lime Rock because of the skill of our drivers," said Spitzer. "It's a track that traditionally favors Porsche, and we don't have the downforce package that the Vipers enjoy, so we'll rely on three great racers. We have guys who are courageous and capable, and they'll be able to hustle the CTS-Vs through the fast corners."
Mother Nature may stage her own fireworks display at Lime Rock, as thunderstorms are as much a holiday tradition as hot dogs. If it's a wet race, the CTS-V's production-based traction control system will come into play when the field gets the green light for the traditional standing start at 12:40 p.m. on Saturday afternoon.
"Last year we had a deluge during practice and cars were spinning on the front straight," Spitzer recalled. "Max Angelelli ended up 50 yards off the track with water rising up to the axles. He radioed to the crew that there was a snake in the car. It turned out to be a worm. We learned a little about translating Italian that day."
The 50-minute race will be televised on Sunday, July 3, at 5 p.m. EDT.