© 2019 by Andy Pilgrim

Nissan Grand Prix of Texas

March 9, 2015

I’m on way home from the Circuit of the Americas weekend where we had race 1 and 2 in our 2015 Pirelli World Challenge Championship season. What an interesting weekend it was. 

 

First of all, we got to introduce our amazing new ATS-V.R racecar to hundreds of fans that came by the tent to see it up close. The pictures are fantastic but you have to see and hear it live to get the full effect. Saturday saw Johnny and myself qualified on the same tenth of a second in 8th and 9th positions, which kind of reminded me of last year a little. 

 

On the first lap I discovered I had a slight traction control issue, as in I didn't have any. I didn’t know this, until I floored the accelerator coming out of Turn 15 on the first lap and ended up spinning out.  When you think you have TC and you suddenly don’t, especially on cold tires, it’s going to catch you out.  I re-entered the race in dead last place and proceeded to work my way back up to finish 17th out of 39 GT cars, I believe. I got really lucky to not get hit and not hit anything when I spun. Johnny got an awesome 3rd place finish, an amazing job by him and also a huge testament to the hard work and engineering minds at Team Cadillac. They gave us the ability to put a brand new car on the podium, in it's first race, against seasoned GT3 cars and factory drivers from around the world. 

 

On Sunday we had a very wet race. Based on fastest laps from Saturday, Johnny and I started 2nd and 5th so I was excited to have a better day. Going into turn 2 on the first lap I got tapped by someone as I was turning in and sent spinning across the track in a 4th gear corner. The whole field missed me, I have no idea how, an incredible job by everyone, many thanks for that. I found myself again chasing after the whole pack and trying to assess if I had much damage from the hit. The car seemed ok but was certainly tail happy. It turned out that the rear wing was damaged. 

 

Just for good measure, after about 5 minutes of chasing the pack and starting to pass people my windshield wipers quit working. I think I actually started to giggle inside my helmet, what might happen next I wondered? I could see nothing and the rain was now pouring down. I think the last 30 minutes of that race may have been the some of the most difficult of my career. I had moved up to 19th by the end. Johnny struggled with his car handling a little and managed to hang on to 7th place. 

 

I must say I've had better weekends and I've had worse ones. But after all this, the cars rolled onto the transporters in pretty good shape. We learned a bunch, the engineers have a ton of data that they can use now and I think I was very, very lucky to not get hit, after spinning in front of the whole field two days in a row. 

 

One final thing: Thank you so much for all the messages of support for Team Cadillac, Johnny and myself for this whole weekend. As for me personally, after a tough couple of races like that, the support and encouragement means a ton. I think Team Cadillac has done an incredible job building the new ATS-V.R racecar. It looks amazing, the fans love it and I cannot wait to get to St Pete for rounds 3 and 4. Stay safe everyone and we'll keep pushing.

 

Andy

 

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