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Racer and Engineer John Heinricy’s Latest Challenge is an SCCA National Championship in a Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing

CLARKSTON, Michigan (June 3, 2023) – It’s no surprise that John Heinricy chose a path for the 2023 season that was anything but easy. The fun in racing for the 16-time Sports Car Club of America National Champion is not just the driving, but in building a race car that no one else would – especially if that race car is based on a product made by General Motors.

This season, Heinricy is molding the Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing into a force in SCCA’s Touring 2 class, running in the Club’s Hoosier Super Tour to qualify, and hopefully conquer, the season-ending SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Virginia International Raceway.

The SCCA’s Touring category, classed Touring 1 through Touring 4 based on car type, is intended to provide an opportunity for late model street cars to become race cars with minimal upgrades. As a Touring 2 (T2) car, Heinricy’s Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing competes against stout competition like the BMW M2 and 3 Series lineup, Audi S4 and TT RS, C5 and C6 generation Chevrolet Corvette, Dodge Vipers, and the 997.1-generation Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car. It’s a class line-up known for power, handling, and some iconic sports cars.

But the challenge is precisely what drives Heinricy, who began his career as an engineer for General Motors in 1970 and worked his way through the organization’s engineering department, developing the Corvette, Camaro and Firebird before retiring as the Director of High Performance Vehicle Operations.

The Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing race car is a homecoming of sorts for Heinricy, who was part of the formation of Cadillac’s V-Series performance line that launched in 2003. That became the impetus for building the car with help from the championship-winning team at Phoenix Performance.

“At that time I was the Director of High Performance Vehicles for GM, and the Cadillac CTS-V was the first signature high performance car that we were doing out of my Peformance Group at GM,” Heinricy said. “A number of the people who worked in my group went on to work on more performance vehicles, and the continuation of the V-Series and the Blackwing was part of what they did. Part of what we wanted to do back then was to get them into a race setting, and that is something I wanted to continue to prove could be done today at a Grassroots level. I love the idea of taking what we do in engineering and showing it off to help spread the brand.”

A race car built to SCCA’s Touring Car specs means that the Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing has remained almost in entirely in the same condition as was on the showroom floor, including a stock motor and suspension. Mobil lubricants, including Mobil 1 engine oil, have passed the test dished out by the factory-installed radiator even in race conditions.

Hoosier racing slicks provide traction to the racing surface. The biggest challenge from the heaviest car in the class has been adapting the street brakes to the track. As a brake-by-wire car, changing out stock components can effect the anti-lock brake systems. Heinricy and Hawk Performance have worked closely to find and make a brake pad that mimics the friction curve of the stock pads, while adding enough shelf life to complete the race.

“It’s surprising how little we really have done,” Heinricy said. “We’re running the way the car was developed. In some ways that’s a little bit easier. If I had to start from scratch, I’d be developing a race car for a couple of years. It’s pretty damn good the way it is, but it does require some different driving techniques that will allow me to go faster through the race.”

Heinricy began the season with a trip to Homestead-Miami Speedway for the SCCA’s U.S. Majors Tour event the first week of January, ready to knock the rust off and shake down the Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing in a high-stress situation.

It passed the test, finishing second to Preston Calvert in a strong Phoenix Performance-built car but turning the quickest lap of the race.

One week later, Heinricy moved further north to Sebring International Raceway and the Hoosier Racing Tire SCCA Super Tour opener. There, he finished fourth in Saturday’s race, behind perennial contenders Mark Boden, Scotty White and Joe Boden, and then made up one place in Sunday’s longer race to earn a podium finish.

Road Atlanta tossed a different challenge at the Cadillac, as the weekend was marred with rain and temperatures in the 40s. It provided a baseline for wet conditions and served as a valuable test session on the way to a fifth-place finish at the Hoosier Super Tour.

Heinricy then took the car on the road for testing, continuing to refine setups in an effort to make the Hoosier Racing tires last a full race distance under the high power and heavy weight of the Cadillac before unleashing the Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing this weekend for the third Hoosier Racing Tire Super Tour of the season, June 2-4.

That event reaches the first goal, as the Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing was required by SCCA rules to run in at least three SCCA Super Tour events to be eligible for the season-ending National Championship Runoffs.

Heinricy’s Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing runs as a grassroots effort, matching Cadillac’s V-Series.R prototype effort that already has wins in IMSA’s GTP category and is currently taking on the world’s best this month at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Unlike the GTP car, of course, the Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing is available for purchase at Cadillac dealers across the country with information at Cadillac.com.

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