- Cadillac plans to race the prototype in both the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and the World Endurance Championship.
- The car is a collaborative effort between Cadillac Design, Cadillac Racing and Dallara.
- The car is set to make its racing debut in the new IMSA GTP prototype class at the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January.
Cadillac unveiled its GTP Hypercar project on Thursday morning and officials say the brand is ready to take on all comers on the world stage and compete for overall victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2023.
Cadillac plans to race the car in both the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and the World Endurance Championship. The car is set to make its racing debut in the new IMSA GTP prototype class at the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January, against expected entries from BMW, Acura and Porsche. The class will replace the current DPi class.
Alpine and Lamborghini plan to enter cars in the new prototype classes in 2024. A previously announced Audi program would be put on hold as the company reassesses the current economy and a possible move to Formula 1.
“It’s always been our dream to be back for overall victory at Le Mans,” said Mark Stielow, director of motorsport and engineering at General Motors. “(GM President) Mark Reuss challenged our team to put together this project, and I think all of our partners have really pitched in. I think it’s going to be interesting when we get them all at Daytona in 2023.”
The car is a collaborative effort between Cadillac Design, Cadillac Racing and Dallara. The new race car will be powered by an all new 5.5 liter DOHC V8 which will be mated to the common LMDh hybrid system which will allow the same cars to race in the top two classes of IMSA and WEC.
“What’s really great about this program is the spec system that we all use,” said Laura Wontrop Klauser, GM’s sports car racing program manager. “The hybrid system is developed together and jointly. We have regular meetings with the sanctioning body, some without the sanctioning body. The OEMs have worked together quite a bit.
“As for the rest, our target, the aerodynamic window that we have to hit, as well as the power target, is so well defined that you really try to be as creative as possible. I think Cadillac has created the nicest car in the windows. But nevertheless, we are all still in the same windows.”
As with all major sports car series today, the class will be subject to a balance of performance formulas to keep the competition tight.
“It’s okay if we all show up and we’re a little bit different,” Klauser said. “We’ll just have our own identities, which I think makes this class so exciting.”
The car is expected to hit the track for testing this summer. Internal testing, including work on the test bed, has already started. Drivers from Chip Ganassi Racing and Action Express, teams currently racing with Cadillac in the IMSA DPi class, are involved in the testing.
Klauser said the manufacturer’s 2023 drivers and rosters for IMSA, WEC and Le Mans will be announced at a later date. Plans for Le Mans are fluid until Cadillac officials find out how many invitations he will receive from race organizers Automobile Club de l’Ouest. Klauser hopes Cadillac will receive invitations for at least two cars.
“The way the invitation process works, there’s no guarantee until we’re invited,” Klauser said. “Our hope is to have at least two vehicles there. It’s a discussion that starts every year with the ACO. It has a lot to do with your plans to participate in the WEC.”
“We will have a full entry into the WEC season next year with Cadillac which is super exciting. We hope this will facilitate the discussion to bring at least two cars when we get there.”
The creative wing of the design process was led by Chris Mikalauskas, lead exterior creative designer at Cadillac.
“Our job is to attack as hard as possible,” Mikalauskas said. “Usually when you design production vehicles, there are times when we have to make sacrifices. With racing, there are no sacrifices. Functionality has to win, but on our side, it’s like ‘How can this function be made beautiful?’ This is the key take away.
“And for Cadillac, even besides being a race car, this is our chance to show people, yeah, we’re still going to do performance cars in the future, and maybe that’s what they will resemble.”
Mikalauskas says it was a dream to work on this particular Cadillac program.
“Aesthetically, with this new series, it allows the cars to not be all cookie cutter,” Mikalauskas said. “And that’s really exciting for the fans and for the real motorsport enthusiasts, because they can see this unique car and see that Cadillac made that one.
“And that we’ll fight for the top spot, which is really cool.”
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