Connect with us


O’CONNELL: Long Beach Debrief

Cadillac Racing’s Johnny O’Connell chimes in on incident-filled PWC race…

Photo: Richard Prince/GM

Photo: Richard Prince/GM

We need to face it, Long Beach was an ugly round of the Pirelli World Challenge series.

But none of it is the series fault. Had the drivers done their jobs and had they been respectful of their competitors, it would have been a good clean race and the fans would have loved every second of it.

I’m confident that all the fans of Pirelli World Challenge would agree with me. It’s time for the drivers to step up and lay off the video games.

In 1989 I was driving Indy Lights for Chip Ganassi. The second to last race was at Nazareth and while running second another driver attempted to pass me using the grass on entry into Turn Four.

The result of his stupidity was me being cut out of the car and getting a helicopter ride to the hospital where I stayed for four days. The driver that caused me to go airborne got nothing.

I get angry when I hear about guys training on a simulator. It’s not a simulator, it’s a video game. It’s a simulator when you actually get hurt and actually have to repair your equipment and not just hit reset.

Sadly too many drivers these days actually think they are getting better using simulators. And you can see it in the driving with all of these video game type pass attempts.

It’s ugly. It’s not how the sport should be.

A pass is the reward for doing something better than your competition. It has nothing to do with having a set of balls.

I’ve been racing for a long time and there is a feeling you get when you know you have a car that is capable of winning the race.

We had that his weekend at Long Beach. My new Cadillac ATS-V.R had the right feel, and I was feeling good. The guys on the team have been busting their tails and I was really hoping to reward them with a good finish.

Sadly that wasn’t the case. Both Andy Pilgrim, my teammate, and I got taken out, and now the guys have lots of thrashing to do to get the cars ready for Barber this coming weekend.

Back to 1989. With both legs in splints and getting carried to the car, two weeks later I won my first and only Indy Lights race at Laguna Seca.

I’m hoping that history repeats itself at Barber this weekend.

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.


More in Commentary