PREVIEW: Pirelli World Challenge returns to Road America
All six series categories of competition are set for Rounds 7 and 8 of the 2014 Pirelli World Challenge season, the 25th Anniversary of the championship, and the return to picturesque Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis. It marks the series' first trip there since 2009, and over 70 total cars across GT, GTA, GTS and TC, TCA and TCB categories will be in action on the same weekend for only the second time all year.
In four of the six categories, championship battles are beginning to develop as drivers and teams fight for supremacy. There's only a handful of drivers who have had prior Pirelli World Challenge starts at Road America, but the number increases when you consider drivers who have raced at the track in other racing series.
GT, GT-A and GTS will race once on Friday, once on Saturday for a pair of 50-minute shootouts while TC, TCA and TCB have a Friday doubleheader scheduled at the 4.048-mile permanent road course that is commonly referred to as "America's National Park of Speed."
Pirelli World Challenge GT: Cadillac's big Detroit weekend to be tested by GT3 might
Things could not have gone any better for Johnny O'Connell, of Flowery Branch, Ga., and Cadillac Racing last time out in Detroit, three weeks ago. (LEFT) O'Connell, driver of the No. 3 Cadillac Racing Cadillac CTS-V.R, won both races and pole positions on Belle Isle Park and has moved into the series points lead after six races. O'Connell has not raced in Pirelli World Challenge at Road America, but has a pair of GT1 class wins driving for Corvette Racing at the circuit in another racing series..
Teammate Andy Pilgrim, of Boca Raton, Fla., by contrast, has seven prior series starts in Elkhart Lake and a win in the S2 class in 1996. Driving the sister No. 8 Cadillac Racing Cadillac CTS-V.R, he's seeking his first win of the 2014 season this weekend. Pilgrim has three runner-up finishes in six races this season.
Second in points, 81 back of O'Connell, is Round 4 winner Anthony Lazzaro, of Atlanta, Ga., who races in the No. 61 R. Ferri Motorsports Ferrari 458 Italia GT3. Like Pilgrim, Lazzaro has a past win at Road America in the 1990s, a Formula Atlantic flag-to-flag triumph from pole back in 1998. Teammate Nick Mancuso, of Chicago, in the sister N