After a decade-plus long run that’s amassed numerous championships, Cadillac Racing has pulled the plug on its Pirelli World Challenge program with immediate effect.
The announcement came Thursday by the American manufacturer, which has reaffirmed its commitment to the Prototype class of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship for 2018, where it will continue to support its Cadillac DPi-V.R entries.
Cadillac’s withdrawal from PWC comes after an 11-year run in the series that began in 2004, when it debuted the CTS-V Sedan.
In all, the Pratt & Miller-led squad has claimed seven drivers’ championships, five manufacturers’ titles, 33 wins, 121 podium finishes and 25 pole positions in a total of 332 races entered.
The program has featured nearly a dozen drivers, including Johnny O’Connell, Michael Cooper, Ricky and Jordan Taylor, Andy Pilgrim, Max Angelelli, Ron Fellows, John Heinricy, Olivier Beretta and Lawson Aschenbach, with Cooper and Jordan Taylor claiming this year’s SprintX title.
Cooper also swept the season-ending Sprint weekend at Sonoma Raceway in his No. 8 Cadillac ATS-V.R, finishing second in the overall GT points.
“Throughout 11 years of competition with Cadillac Racing in the Pirelli World Challenge Series, we have taken tremendous pride in our successes,” said Mark Kent, Director of Motorsports Competition for Cadillac Racing.
“We also have taken tremendous pride in the level of technology transfer that has occurred between the Cadillacs competing on track and their showroom counterparts.
“This technology transfer has helped make the Cadillac ATS-V and CTS-V production models very track-capable and athletic.”
A reason for the program’s end was not given, although the manufacturer has left the door open for a possible future return.
Cadillac sat out of the 2008-10 PWC seasons due to the economic recession.
“In 2018, we will take a pause in Pirelli World Challenge as we focus completely on our effort in prototype sports car racing,” said Rich Brekus, Global Director of Product Strategy for Cadillac.
“However, we maintain a regular and open communication with Greg Gill, the World Challenge CEO, and hope to one day return to the series in some form.”
Any possible future return would unlikely come with the current-generation ATS-V.Rs, which were built to FIA GT3 specification but never raced in the hands of customer teams, or outside of PWC.
A Cadillac spokesperson confirmed to Sportscar365 that there are no plans to have the current cars be made available to customers.
According to a report by Autoweek, both the ATS and CTS production models appear to be on the chopping block for 2019, although not confirmed by the automaker.