Courtesy of GM Racing
Cadillac Rules Road Atlanta With 1-2-3 Finish
April 17, 2005 - Braselton, Ga. - Team Cadillac's maximum effort produced maximum results as Cadillac drivers Max Papis, Andy Pilgrim and Max Angelelli swept the podium in the SCCA SPEED World Challenge GT race at the Sportsbook.com Grand Prix of Atlanta. It was Cadillac's first 1-2-3 finish, and a repeat victory for the CTS-V luxury performance sedan at Road Atlanta. Today's race was only the second time in SPEED GT history that a single brand was on the podium.
"Mad" Max Papis took it to the max at Road Atlanta, taking the lead on the final lap after tangling with the Porsche of Robin Liddell.
"It was a fantastic race for Cadillac to finish 1-2-3 for the first time," Papis said after scoring his first SPEED GT victory in his third start. "I caught up to Liddell with four laps to go. My CTS-V was really strong in the braking zone, and when he protected his position in Turn 6, I went to the outside. We got tangled up coming out of the corner and I am very sorry for Liddell. He is a great competitor and I look forward to racing him again on the track."
Cadillac monopolized the front row of the grid as Angelelli and Papis qualified first and second for the 29-lap race. Angelelli, making his first start of the season in SPEED GT, grabbed an early advantage at the standing start and led the first 20 laps around the 2.54-mile road course. Papis and Pilgrim were running comfortably in the top five.
The complexion of the race changed dramatically when an apparent gearbox problem forced Angelelli to cede the lead on lap 21.
"I was patient and saved my tires, but when I saw my teammate's car backing off, that was my signal to push 100 percent," Papis reported. "The handling of the CTS-V was awesome. Finishing on the top step of the podium is a great satisfaction for me. My run for the championship starts today."
Angelelli maintained his pace in spite of the mechanical problems and was heading for a fourth-place finish when the last-lap drama unfolded.
"I stayed out because we had a huge gap over the next car," Angelelli reported. "My No. 1 goal was to support Team Cadillac."
Cadillac general manager Jim Taylor was at Road Atlanta and witnessed Team Cadillac's historic day.
"This is huge for Cadillac," said Taylor. "This is exactly what we're trying to accomplish with Cadillac's motorsports program - to produce the positive results that gets Cadillac noticed. When Team Cadillac sweeps the podium, it demonstrates that Cadillac produces exceptional performance cars. That's the whole reason we're here."
Team Cadillac's three-car strategy produced the best possible outcome at Road Atlanta.
"We used teamwork to try to wear out the Porsches," revealed Team Cadillac program manager Dave Spitzer. "We knew the 911s were going to be strong because historically this is a Porsche track. It was a great achievement to bring three cars to Road Atlanta and put all three on the podium. It's rare to have a day like this in the SPEED World Challenge."
Pilgrim finished on the podium for the second time in 2005. He was second in Sebring, fourth in St. Petersburg and runner-up today at Road Atlanta.
"It was great racing today, but the 90 pounds of REWARDS ballast I'm carrying does make a difference," Pilgrim explained. "My teammates, the two Maxs, had no REWARDS weight at this race so they were fast, but now they're going to share my pain with extra weight at upcoming races. I could stay with them for a few laps, but the weight does take its toll on the tires. We're going to have to work very hard at the next event."
The SPEED GT race from Road Atlanta will be televised on the SPEED Channel at 1 p.m. EDT on Sunday, April 17. The next round of the 11-race series will be held at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio, on May 21.