I’m back from Sebring, somehow. As usual another weekend full of fast cars, parties, and interesting people watching. From a Mardi gras like infield complete with pretty girls and beads to burning Winnebagos to Audi R8Rs running like a Swiss watch, this year's Sebring classic was another great celebration of all things motorsport.
A late phone call Thursday sent me and the Deville down to Sebring, some information was misunderstood and we thought I was going to miss the Speed Channel GT events the next day as they would be in early morning. There is still no beater car to head down there in than this old Deville. Even with gas at 2.33 a gallon for the good stuff the caddy rewarded me with 27.3 mpg.
Everything turned out to go as planned and I made it with plenty of time to spare to catch the V cars. First things first I made my way to the Area where all the work was performed on the cars. Sitting under a tent both cars were receiving finial bits of attention. Among them was ensuring the car has a proper shine to it before heading out into the daylight. Unfortunately I couldn’t get a word in with the crew as most of the more knowledgeable members were working inside the transporter on what I think was last minute data reviews from the cars last practice. I did briefly talk to the gentleman operating the hand towel and he was quite friendly. Heartbroken I couldn’t tell them “cadillacfourms.com” was there to watch I left to find a good spot to watch the race. As I was leaving I was staring at some activity over at the Corvette camp and that’s when pre race contact between a Cadillac driver and the driver of the new Volvo GT car occurred. Yours truly in a moment of sheer stupidity walked right into Derek Bell. To say I don’t take any for the team is an understatement. Everyone was ok; I apologized to a quite friendly Derek Bell and went on my way. I do hope he was ok, the Volvo wasn’t as fast as I expected it to be.
Looking things over and thinking of how last year went I knew we wouldn’t see a win. You see in this series the cars are “rewarded” weight every time they win. The Cadillac were so successful they were “Rewarded” with a considerable amount of weight before the next race, hampering the car’s speed. This keeps the field “equalized” which in Viper speak is “it is our turn to win”. Trash talking against “I need mo-par“ aside, this means Cadillac in admitting they wanted the championship were going to have to play a strategic role, working for maximum points and minimum weight. This also meant restraining the newly hired Mad Max Papis, whom until that day I didn’t believe would ever sandbag.
So I made it up to the grid, where some ladies were walking up carrying flags. All but two of the girls were scantly clad. The only two girls on the grid dressed like a lady of class were you guessed it, the ladies from Cadillac. Qualified in the second and fifth positions on the grid Pilgrim and Papis this year left very cleanly and began the 20-lap event, which was much easier to watch than the launch debacle of 2004. Papis and Pilgrim ran very nicely and very comparable laps to the viper of Tommy Archer. Early on however Pilgrim stayed right with the viper, even having a look or two on the Viper under braking. Things kept on that way until around the ¾ race mark, then Cadillac allowed Pilgrim to give it a go and in a show of force for a couple laps began to pass cars wholesale fashion including a pass from fourth to second in one corner, slaughtering the pride of a couple Porsches. Papis not to be outdone began to click off a few fast laps, this was enough to let Cadillac fans like me know “were still here don’t worry“. When it was all said and done Pilgrim came home second, Papis came home 5th. Not a bad run at all if I do say so. So I leave you with some pictures, and stay tuned, next stop on the Cadillac Tour is St Pete next week!
As always let me know if there is anything you would like to see, perhaps when I'm at St Pete I can get the pics or info you all want.
Ill be adding pics to the thread here over tonight and tomorrow
Nice. I am so jealous that you were there.
I too think that it was a wise move by Cadillac to place how they did this time so the heavy hand of the SCCA didn't come down again (and Papis did a fine job of unleashing the VR just enough to show us that they were playing with them). No sense hindering the whole season for an early grandstand (like what happened last year).
My main question after reading many of the reports:
Where were (or perhaps more appropriately, what happened to)the Audis that were so dominant last year?
They didnt make it back , i also found that odd ...there were rule changes this year that effected the audis , like in Audis other attempts the cars were banned from competition (no includeing the R8R)...I think more than anything Audi just left becuse they got angry , note Audi doesnt even have a factory car in the American Lemans series.... Tho there is talk of a Audi return to American Lemans with a V10 turbodiesl powered car int he protype class (LMP900)
the rule changes couldnt have been much , volvo is running a car pulling silimar numbers , from a turbochangred engine (a cosworth!!!) and awd ...abliet there balance is a little beatter than the noseheavy audi ....that car has alot of potenital