Utah: Team Cadillac preview

Team Cadillac Ventures into the Unknown for Inaugural Salt Lake City SPEED GT Race Second Half of SCCA World Challenge Season to Begin at Miller Motorsports Park SALT LAKE CITY - Team Cadillac will venture into the unknown at the inaugural...

Team Cadillac Ventures into the Unknown for Inaugural Salt Lake City SPEED GT Race

Second Half of SCCA World Challenge Season to Begin at Miller Motorsports Park

SALT LAKE CITY - Team Cadillac will venture into the unknown at the inaugural Utah Grand Prix on July 15. Going where no racer has gone before, Team Cadillac will take on America's newest road course circuit, the immense Miller Motorsports Park near Salt Lake City. With 4.5 miles of virgin asphalt and 23 turns, it's the longest road course in America. The sixth round of the SCCA SPEED World Challenge GT series marks the start of the second half of the season for Team Cadillac, and the push is on to win the manufacturers championship for the second straight year.

Coming to terms with a new track is always a challenge, but Team Cadillac has the drivers, the engineering team and the race cars to do it. Reigning SPEED GT champion Andy Pilgrim will drive the No. 1 Cadillac CTS-V, and Ron Fellows will return to the No. 16 Cadillac CTS-V that he drove to victory on the streets of Long Beach, Calif., last April.

"The entire team is excited to go to a new racing venue," said Team Cadillac program manager Dave Spitzer. "We've heard that Miller Motorsports Park is a jewel, and the track will certainly become a highlight of the World Challenge calendar. With the SPEED GT race on Saturday, it will be a very compact and intense race schedule. Also, we look forward to working with Mitch Wright again. He is working hard as the track's director of racing, and in view of his experience and professionalism, this should be an awesome race weekend."

Pilgrim shares Spitzer's enthusiasm for the new venue: "I'm always excited to go to a new race track and take on a new challenge," he said. "We've heard that it is a fantastic facility. At 4.5 miles, it's certainly a long race track, but with 23 turns I anticipate it will be a very technical circuit.

"I love the mountains, so I'm excited to go to a new track in that part of the country," Pilgrim added. "We're certainly looking forward to supporting the efforts of Larry Miller and his staff at Miller Motorsports Park to bring professional road racing to this new market."

Fellows will again be doing double-duty, driving for Team Cadillac in the 50-minute SPEED GT race and sharing the driver's seat in the No. 3 Compuware Corvette C6.R with teammate Johnny O'Connell in the 2-hour, 45-minute American Le Mans Series race on Saturday night.

"I'm going to Salt Lake City a day early so that I can walk around the track and get to know the circuit," Fellows explained. "I'll be looking closely at how the surface changes from corner to corner, watching for small changes in elevation, and seeing how friendly the curbs might be. Then I plan to make a few laps in a street car to see how the circuit flows. After that it should take just a few laps in the Cadillac CTS-V race car to get up to speed."

Fellows' previous experience racing on high-altitude tracks has prepared him for the effects of thin air at 5,000 feet above sea level.

"When I raced with NASCAR in Mexico City, I learned that a driver has to get acclimated," he said. "Going to Salt Lake City early will help me to adjust, and I'll go for a long run to get my lungs working. Mexico City is nearly 2,400 feet higher than Salt Lake City, so racing at Miller Motorsports Park shouldn't be too difficult."

The Utah Grand Prix will mark the start of the second half of the 10-race SPEED GT schedule. With five races remaining, Cadillac is second in the manufacturers championship, one point behind Porsche. Pilgrim is third in the drivers championship, five points out of first place.

"I give Team Cadillac an A+ midterm grade," said Spitzer. "We've had terrific reliability so far and everyone on the team has executed at a high level. We were disappointed to lose the lead in the manufacturers championship at Infineon Raceway, so we're determined to keep pushing as hard as we can in the second half of the season."

"We're very proud of Team Cadillac and how our motorsports program is continuing to support our ongoing renaissance of the Cadillac brand," said Cadillac general manager Jim Taylor. "You can expect to see us showcase the accomplishments of Team Cadillac in upcoming marketing initiatives on the Internet and on television in the near future."

The SPEED World Challenge GT race at Miller Motorsports Park will start at 11:45 a.m. local time (1:45 p.m. ET) on Saturday, July 15. The 50-minute race will be televised tape-delayed on the SPEED Channel on Saturday, July 22, at 4 p.m. ET.

-tc/gm racing-

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About this article
Series PWC
Drivers Ron Fellows , Johnny O'Connell , Andy Pilgrim