Racing twice around the clock at Daytona in the new Cadillac DPi-V.R prototype
and slugging it out for 50 no-holds-barred
minutes on the streets of Long Beach or
Detroit might seem worlds apart, but
each offers valuable learnings as Cadillac
uses the intensity of competition to
develop and prove crossover technologies
that will help build a better road car.
Those 50-minute sprints are the calling
card of the Pirelli World Challenge, a
series that Cadillac first entered more
than a decade ago. Five drivers’
championships and four manufacturers’
championships later, it’s still going strong.
The ATS-V.R is the third generation of
road car-based Cadillac GT racecar to
compete in World Challenge. Built to
internationally-adopted GT3 rules that
limit the modifications a manufacturer
can make, the ATS-V.R brought a fourth-consecutive drivers’ championship to
Johnny O’Connell in its 2015 debut season.
“Fans can really relate to a car like the
ATS-V.R,” says O’Connell. “We’re going
head to head with some of the world’s top
performance brands – Mercedes, Porsche,
Audi, McLaren – and demonstrating the
performance credentials of Cadillac. The
racing’s insane and we’re winning, too.”
While O’Connell and his teammate, rising
star Michael Cooper, are rubbing fenders
with some of the best road racers on the
planet, Cadillac engineers are gaining
relevant knowledge from the ATS-V.R
that they can apply to future road cars.
“The Pirelli World Challenge program is a
With two wins in 2016, Cadillac’s new recruit
huge opportunity for technology transfer,”
explains Laura Klauser, Cadillac’s program
manager for World Challenge. “The ATS-V.R
is an ATS-V that’s been adapted to be a
racecar. It has the same 3.6-liter, twin-turbo
technologies, which we do get learnings
from, especially in heat management. And
as we move forward where fuel economies
are going, we’re constantly looking for
opportunities to take mass out of the car.
“Our learnings from racing go directly
Michael Cooper (LEFT) earned the respect
of his storied teammate, Johnny O’Connell.
Welcome to the club
The ATS-V.R racing in the Pirelli World Challenge is helping make a better Cadillac road car.
In 10 seasons of GT
competition in Pirelli World
Challenge with three
– CTS-V.R sedan (RIGHT),
CTS-V.R coupe (FAR
RIGHT), and now the
ATS-V.R GT3 (MAIN) –
Cadillac’s earned 31 race
wins, four manufacturers’
championships and five
including one for Andy
Pilgrim in 2005 and four
straight for Johnny
O’Connell from 2012-’ 15.
In 2016, the second
season with the ATS-V.R,
O’Connell and teammate
Michael Cooper took a
combined five wins and
13 other podiums.
“It’s all the people who
comprise the team,” says
O’Connell when asked why
Cadillac Racing has enjoyed
such long-term success.
“For me, to be a part of it
and to play a principal role
in getting out the message
that speaks to the
that are Cadillac is a
pretty cool thing.”
“We’re going head to head with some
of the world’s top performance brands
– Mercedes, Porsche, Audi, McLaren”
into improvements and enhancements
for the production car,” she adds, citing
Performance Traction Management as
one key area of development that is
moving from racecar to road car.
As well as the knowledge Cadillac gains,
racing the ATS-V.R is ongoing proof of the
potency of the road car it’s based upon.
“These V racecars are very similar to
the ones that a customer can buy,” says
Klauser. “It’s an opportunity to say, ‘We’ve
proven this car on the race track and we
have the championships to back it up.
You’re getting a supreme machine.’”
THREE GENERATIONS OF SUCCESS