John Heinricy talks about driving the record-setting lap at Nurburgring and explains why he used the automatic.
John Heinricy, Executive of GM Performance Division and racing driver behind the wheel of the Cadillac CTS-V that clocked an impressive 7:59:32 at Germany's Nürburgring, gives some insight about the sub 8.0 minute barrier run and the CTS-Vs setup. Although some skeptics think the vehicle was setup beyond stock specification, nothing could be further from the truth.
With a standard suspension with normal alignment, standard tire pressure, plant-built engine, the only things beyond normal were the fire extinguisher system and 5 point belt harness. The only other preparations to the vehicle prior to the official run consisted of two “scrub” laps on new tires the day before.
Using an automatic transmission equipped vehicle has created some controversy, but Heinricy explains that the reason for using it was simply because he had been extensively driving the vehicle literally across the U.S. in the preceding weeks and felt changing vehicles would be a mistake. He also knew the aggressive calibration of the transmission's sport mode would be sufficient, particularly in regard to the revs upon exiting a corner as well as shifting exactly at redline. Heinricy knew the transmission could do a better job than he could. Heinricy also opted not to use the steering wheel paddles for fear of making the simple mistake of inadvertently tapping the lever at the wrong time.