CADILLAC’S RISING STAR
ichael Cooper’s ascent through the
Pirelli World Challenge ranks to racing
the No. 8 ATS-V.R GT3 for Team Cadillac
might seem like one of those overnight
success stories, but it took way more time
and a lot more work, including winning a
few championships along the way.
The way it begins ought to be the stuff
of legend. To hear Cooper’s teammate and
four-time PWC GT champ Johnny O’Connell
tell it, it started at an event called the Bob
Lutz Challenge, where drivers were invited
to Monticello Motor Club in New York to
try to best the infamous auto executive’s
time around the track in a Cadillac CTS-V.
“I was watching this young guy in a
BMW M3 on a damp track, and I was
shocked to see how smooth he was and
how he worked the car,” recalls O’Connell.
“In my entire life, even when I was, like, VP
of Bondurant, I never went up to a parent
and told them, ‘Your kid is gifted.’ I told his
dad, ‘Listen I am not kidding you, your kid is
really, really good; he should pursue racing,’
and I think his dad was like, ‘Yeah, right.’ I
was serious. He just had a very nice, natural
touch with the car, and that was visible.”
If you think this might be O’Connell
embellishing the story a bit, Cooper
confirms its veracity. But it continues.
Michael Cooper’s racing
background – “momentum
cars,” as he says – sees him
able to carry fearsome corner
speed in his driving style. It’s a
technique that’s working well at
the wheel of Cadillac’s ATS-V.R.