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Sebring: Team Cadillac preview

Aschenbach and Cadillac Eager to Begin World Challenge Championship Quest in Sebring Team Cadillac Returns to SPEED GT with New Driver and New Look SEBRING, Fla. - It's said that the past is a mirror that reflects the future. If that adage is...

Aschenbach and Cadillac Eager to Begin World Challenge Championship Quest in Sebring

Team Cadillac Returns to SPEED GT with New Driver and New Look

SEBRING, Fla. - It's said that the past is a mirror that reflects the future. If that adage is true, then the future looks bright for Team Cadillac in the SCCA SPEED World Challenge GT championship. The Cadillac factory road racing team will return to action with the 2005 and 2006 SPEED GT champions - Andy Pilgrim and Lawson Aschenbach, respectively - on its roster. They'll begin the season at Sebring International Raceway on March 16, the track where Team Cadillac scored a 1-2 finish in its competition debut in March 2004. If history repeats itself, Team Cadillac could make a fast start in its run for the 2007 SPEED GT championships.

While Pilgrim has been with Team Cadillac since its inception, Aschenbach is the new kid in town. The 23-year-old brings impressive racing credentials and the No. 1 that signifies the reigning SPEED GT titleholder. After an 11-year racing career in karts, open-wheel formula cars and rear-engine sports cars, he'll make his first start in a front-engine race car at Sebring.

"I had a three-day test with the team at Sebring in February, and by the end of the third day I was feeling really comfortable in the Cadillac CTS- V ," said Aschenbach. "My engineer made a series of changes so that I could experience how the adjustments affected the car. Then on the final day we put on all of the things that I had liked, and the car felt perfect.

"The conditions during race week in Sebring will be much different than they were in the test session," Aschenbach explained. "With hotter temperatures and different kinds of rubber on the track, we'll certainly have to change the setup, but now we have a good idea of where we want to go with it.

"I learned that I can really hustle the car through the fast corners at Turn 1 and Turn 17, and it's good in the tight and twisty sections as well," he reported. "The CTS- V race car takes the bumps very well, and that's important on a rough track like Sebring. The Cadillac also fits my driving style - I try to be smooth and consistent with the steering wheel, and the car responds to that."

Much has changed since Team Cadillac made its competition debut in March 2004. Racing against two-seat sports cars, Cadillac's potent CTS- V performance luxury sedans have won nine races, captured seven poles, posted 30 podium finishes and swept the 2005 manufacturers and drivers championships. The two-car Cadillac team will have a new look in its fourth season in the SPEED GT series with a graphics package that combines the famous Cadillac script with the team's familiar red and black colors. But beneath their wings and flared fenders, the race cars still retain close ties to the production CTS- V s that travel city streets and highways.

"During the off-season, the team focused on updates to improve reliability over the long run," said Steve Wesoloski, GM Road Racing Group manager. "These are the same chassis that raced in 2006, with the addition of some new race-proven components and a slightly smaller intake restrictor that's required by SCCA.

"With Andy and Lawson on board, we have two of the best racers in the paddock in the Cadillac camp," he continued. "Lawson has already clicked with the team, and with an engineering degree from Vanderbilt University, he speaks the language of racing. Andy is a great mentor, and Lawson is willing to learn - and because they live only a few miles away from each other in Florida, they stay in close contact away from the track as well."

-credit: gm racing

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Series PWC
Drivers Andy Pilgrim , Lawson Aschenbach