Cadillac Racing will wait until the beginning of official on-track activity to decide on its driver pairings for this weekend’s Pirelli World Challenge SprintX season-opener at Virginia International Raceway.
Brothers Ricky and Jordan Taylor join the factory squad for the five-round championship but have yet to be placed with either full-season drivers Johnny O’Connell and Michael Cooper in the Cadillac ATS-V.Rs.
According to Cadillac, driver declarations will come only “just prior” to the first of two 60-minute races on Saturday, giving the team additional time to determine the best fit during Thursday’s promoter test day, as well as practice on Friday.
What is known is that the Rolex 24 at Daytona and Twelve Hours of Sebring-winning Taylors will not share a car of their own, with O’Connell confirmed in his Velocity Red No. 3 Cadillac and Cooper in the Vector Blue-colored No. 8 car.
“I think it will be important for us to make the most of the practice sessions because this will be unusual for the PWC teams to be utilizing two drivers throughout practice,” Ricky Taylor said.
“We will have to get on pace very quickly and make sure we can qualify well for what will be a tough race to gain track position.”
The VIR round will mark Ricky Taylor’s PWC debut, although the 27-year-old is no stranger to the track, having made his debut there in 2008, in a Grand-Am race.
Both Ricky and Jordan feel their experience in endurance racing, namely pit stops and driver changes, can play to their benefit this weekend, with a number of PWC teams adapting to the new 60-minute race format for the first time.
“Ricky and I have been doing driver changes for the past eight years, so it’s almost a natural thing now,” Jordan Taylor said.
“When we first started doing them, it was all about understanding the process and not getting too excited. Lots of guys in the SprintX come from an endurance background, so I think it’ll be a tough weekend.”
Four-time PWC champion O’Connell, meanwhile, is expecting a tough fight, with capacity 35-car grid including 12 cars in the GT Pro/Pro class.
“There are a lot of very strong drivers and cars for SprintX,” O’Connell said. “I am a little worried that the pro-am combinations in GTA could lead to yellow flags. VIR is along tract with a lot of racing room so I hope I’m wrong.
“It will be interesting to do a driver change in PWC for the first time. We will be well practiced by the time the first race goes off at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday.”