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O’CONNELL: Ready to Race

Johnny O’Connell checks into Sportscar365 following qualifying…

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

The 24 hours of Le Mans, it’s the one race that every driver wants to run.

Top guys from NASCAR, IndyCar and Formula One all at one time want to compete in this unbelievable race.

Having been away the past five years has really allowed me the opportunity to see how special it is. Having all of the French fans and officials come back and welcome me so kindly has been overwhelming.

To the degree that last night the doctor of the course, who’s been the doctor here for 42 years, came up to me last evening and gave me a nice bottle wine welcoming me back.

So far I’ve been very impressed with AAI/Prospeed and how fast they are learning the Corvette. They received the car just the Monday before the test day three weeks ago.

The team, led by Rudi Penders, have taken on a daunting task to run Le Mans with a new car. They are definitely a strong group and very talented, overcoming obstacles with the attitude of winners.

On both the test today, and the first day of official practice and qualifying we’ve struggled with the car.

The Corvette has been very loose. Yesterday they made a lot of very big changes and the feel of the car was greatly improved.

Unfortunately the weather has been completely lousy, lots of rain, so tomorrow we will go into the race with the car that I know was better than what I had for qualifying, and keeping my fingers crossed it’s going to be a great race car.

Both of my teammates, Mark Paterson, and Oliver Bryant have been doing an awesome job. Not rushing things and letting the pace come to them.

All said and done I think we’re going to have a very strong team, and I’m optimistic that things will go well enough for us to reach the podium.

I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the great people at Cadillac. I appreciate that they understand the need for me to continue to compete here, speaks volumes to their understanding of our sport.

The reception that I received from everybody at Corvette Racing and from Corvette fans has been awesome.

So tomorrow I once again put on the bow tie for the 24. Then once the race is over, will hop on a plane, and fly to Road America.

Where again I’ll slip in to one of the greatest race cars I’ve ever driven, the Cadillac ATS-V.R, with the best team I’ve ever raced for, and get back to doing battle in the Pirelli World Challenge Series.

Dare Greatly? Always. Staying hungry.

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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