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Cadillac to compete in Le Mans in 2023 with a hybrid race car

Cadillac has announced that it will return to racing and enter the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2023. The brand aims to use a fourth-generation V-series prototype with a hybrid powertrain. Initially, it will compete in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) LMDh for the 2023 season.

“For nearly 20 years, Cadillac V-Series has brought winning technologies from the racetrack to our performance cars on the road,” said Rory Harvey, global Vice President of Cadillac. “We look forward to continuing that heritage by competing in this exciting new chapter at the highest level of international motorsport.”

The Cadillac LMDh-V.R prototype was designed to conform to the regulations set by IMSA and ACO Le Mans hybrid specifications. This applies to vehicles competing in the new top-tier endurance racing segment replacing the DPi class. Cadillac’s race car will be based on a standardized chassis and incorporate a specified hybrid powertrain. Its internal combustion engine will be unique as will the bodywork. The car’s design will be codeveloped by GM Design and Italian race car builder Dallara.

General Motors will partner with Chip Ganassi Racing and Action Express Racing (AXR). “We are looking forward to the new international prototype formula and running the Cadillac LMDh,” said Chip Ganassi. “We have had a great relationship across three different racing disciplines with GM and we are looking forward to developing the car with Cadillac and Dallara over the next year-and-a-half.”

AXR team manager Gary Nelson noted that the IMSA LMDh class is looking quite competitive with multiple manufacturers entering it. “We’ve had a lot of success running the Cadillac DPi-V.R as one of the original teams since 2017, and we are looking forward to being a part of the next chapter of Cadillac Racing,” added Nelson.

Cadillac is no stranger to racing victories. It won the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona and Michelin North American Endurance Cup four times in a row each from 2017 to 2020. In 2017 and 2018, Cadillac also won the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Before competing in the IMSA Series, Cadillac won the manufacturer championships in the Pirelli World Challenge Championship in 2005, 2007, 2013, and 2014. It also captured five Driver’s Championships in 2005, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015.

Based on the sole teaser sketch that Cadillac provided, the race car will have a highly aerodynamic design. Its powertrain appears to be mid-mounted and if the other race cars are anything to go by, the electric motor might be mounted in the front axle to effectively give the LMDh-V.R traction in all four wheels. There are lots of openings to allow air to flow freely throughout the vehicle and keep the powertrain cool. A large fin, which is a common feature on most modern prototype race cars, sticks out of the back and is likely there for aero reasons. The taillights are strips on the outer part of the car, the fin, and the rear diffuser. They may also help the car cheat the wind better and increase downforce since they appear to double as spoilers.

With Cadillac joining the global racing circuit, that gives General Motors a second entry vying for gold at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2023. Corvette Racing has been running the Corvette C8.R in the GT LM class since 2020.

Written by Stefan Ogbac
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