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O’CONNELL: Lime Rock Debrief

Johnny O’Connell files his latest Sportscar365 column…

Photo: Richard Prince/Cadillac

Photo: Richard Prince/Cadillac

It’s early in the week and post-Lime Rock and I’m reflecting on what was a trying weekend on track, but right now, my mind is on Jorge De La Torre and Andrew Palmer.

Hoping that when everyone’s head hits the pillow tonight they include them in their prayers.

I think it was Doug Fehan who once told me that nothing ever good happens in morning warmups. That was the case on Saturday morning.

Jorge had run into the run-off at Turn 1 and had turned around and was waiting to rejoin the circuit. Palmer’s Bentley came into one and there was a huge wreck requiring both guys to be taken to the hospital.

A bit about each of these guys. Jorge is a young kid learning and doing a good job. His speed is coming along, and that morning I was really pleased and surprised to see him really going fast.

In the races he is very aware and when leaders come up he does an excellent job of letting guys through without interrupting the race. I would guess he’s another year or so before he begins getting very competitive.

Andrew Palmer, well he’s really stepped up his game since I last raced him. Very fast and getting faster as well as being a good and fair racer. Great talent and someone with a bright future.

In this age of advanced technology, where driving cars is becoming easier and easier, and the cars safer and safer, it’s easy to allow ourselves to be lulled into a false sense of security that when we are racing, we’re safe. Nothing bad can happen.

I’ve often wondered what Sir Isaac Newton would think if he were able to watch current day race cars that seem to defy the laws of physics.

I’m sure he would be impressed, but he would also realize his laws, no matter how far stretched do still apply, and racing cars though safer, can always be improved upon.

I’m very lucky to be racing for Cadillac. They go above and beyond in providing me a safe race car, which goes beyond the rulebook.

When there is a wreck, they examine every aspect and then make improvements. They realize that inside the car is a person. Family. For that I’m grateful.

So prayers out to Jorge and Andrew. Next up for me is Le Mans. I am stepping back into a Corvette, the No. 57 Team AAI Corvette, and focused on the job at hand.

We open up this Sunday with the test day and the race in three weeks June 18-19.

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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