Cooper's new Vector Blue Cadillac. All photos: Cadillac Racing

Cadillac back for PWC season; Taylors join for SprintX rounds

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After a rare year knocked from the top of their perch in Pirelli World Challenge, the pair of Cadillac Racing Cadillac ATS-V.Rs will be back raring to go this season with a two-car effort confirmed for the full season.

Johnny O’Connell and Michael Cooper return, respectively, in the No. 3 and No. 8 Cadillacs. O’Connell retains the Velocity Red livery while Cooper’s No. 8 car shifts from the standard black to a new Vector Blue colors.

Meanwhile, they’ll have the Taylor brothers on board for the SprintX races at Virginia International Raceway (VIR), Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, Lime Rock Park, Utah Motorsports Campus and the Circuit of the Americas. Jordan Taylor has had occasional PWC starts with Cadillac in the past, normally at Mid-Ohio, while Ricky Taylor is new to the series. Specific pairings will be determined later.

“Ricky and Jordan are doing a great job proving themselves on the world stage, especially with that great win at Daytona two weeks ago,” said O’Connell, Cadillac’s four-time PWC champion. “I am very much looking forward to working with them this season in the SprintX races. Amazing strides have been made the last several years in PWC that have made it a destination for top drivers. I plan to keep an open mind heading into the first SprintX round at VIR in April.”

“The championship-winning Cadillac ATS-V.R Coupe has established itself as a clear winner in the Pirelli World Challenge series,” said Rich Brekus, Global Director of Product Strategy for Cadillac. “Competing with and beating other top brands demonstrates and confirms the Cadillac V-Performance abilities on race tracks across North America.”

O'Connell's No. 3 Cadillac.
O’Connell’s No. 3 Cadillac.
O'Connell, Cooper, Ricky Taylor, Jordan Taylor.
O’Connell, Cooper, Ricky Taylor, Jordan Taylor.

Toyota victorious in Bahrain on Porsche’s LMP1 swansong

Toyota Motorsport GmbH
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SAKHIR, Bahrain – Toyota denied Porsche a swansong victory in its final LMP1 appearance in the FIA World Endurance Championship by taking a commanding win in the 6 Hours of Bahrain on Saturday.

Porsche started from pole in the last competitive outing for the three-time Le Mans-winning 919 Hybrid car, only to lose out to Toyota’s Sebastien Buemi within the first half an hour of the race.

Porsche lost one of its cars from contention for victory after an errant bollard got stuck underneath Timo Bernhard’s No. 2 entry, leaving Nick Tandy to lead its charge in the No. 1 car.

Tandy moved into the lead just past half distance after a bold strategy call from Porsche to triple-stint the Briton after a fuel-only stop, vaulting him ahead of Anthony Davidson in the No. 8 Toyota.

Tandy’s win hopes were soon dashed when he tangled with a GTE-Am backmarker at Turn 1, sustaining damage that forced Porsche into an unplanned pit stop that put the car a lap down.

With the No. 7 Toyota losing two laps following a clash with a GTE-Pro car earlier on, Davidson, Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima went unchallenged en route to the car’s fifth victory of the season.

Porsche rounded out the podium with its cars, with the No. 2 leading home the No. 1, leaving Toyota’s No. 7 car to settle for P4 at the checkered flag.

Vaillante Rebellion clinched the title in LMP2 after a stunning fightback led by Bruno Senna, with the Brazilian securing his maiden motorsport championship win in the process.

GTE-Pro saw AF Corse complete a hat-trick of titles in 2017, with James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi wining the class’ first world championship recognized by the FIA, while Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy and Mathias Lauda sewed up the GTE-Am title.