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O’CONNELL: Le Mans Debrief

Johnny O’Connell files his latest Sportscar365 column post-Le Mans…

Photo: John Dagys

Photo: John Dagys

Naturally I’m pretty disappointed, but man do I love racing at Le Mans.

The fight and intensity of every moment, the focus, it’s all unreal. Big thanks to team Rudi Penders and his whole AAI/Prospeed team who delivered a car that made it all the way with as we crossed the line in 9th place in GTE-Am.

The car in morning warmup was the best it had been the entire time we’d been running.

Unfortunately some changes were made to the setup before the race, once again giving me a really loose and difficult car to drive, especially when the race started under caution and in the rain.

I was pretty proud that we were able to go from 12th to 5th. I handed it over to Oliver Bryant who did a good job keeping it honest and just doing laps. That is how you win. No mistakes, which was hard to do the way the car was set-up at that time.

After Mark Patterson’s off, the guys put the car back to where it was for warmup and we could run some laps where we needed to be time wise.

As the race progressed, there were a couple of more offs during the event that really took us out of contention. Like I said you need to be perfect at Le Mans even if the car isn’t.

As I reflect, I can look in the mirror and say I executed, got everything out of the car every lap and can leave France hungry to get back.

Finally, for all the Corvette fans, yeah it was sweet being back in the Corvette.

It was about 1:30 a.m. on Sunday and as I ripped through the gears between the chicanes, man the note of the engine, the change of the gears and I literally said to myself this is so cool. Another great Le Mans memory.

So it’s back to the States for me and I’m really looking forward to getting back in my Cadillac ATS-V.R Coupe and racing one of my favorite tracks, Road America.

We go back to the same Balance of Performance we had at Barber Motorsports Park, so we should be able to once again be competitive.

Once again it will be a tough to fight back for the championship, the Cadillac Racing guys up to the challenge.

Johnny O'Connell (@JohnnyOConnell1) is a three-time American Le Mans Series champion and four-time class winner at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, driving for Team Cadillac in the Pirelli World Challenge.


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