Cadillac Returns to 24 Hours of Le Mans (2023)
Cadillac has announced that it will make a return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June with three of its Cadillac V-Series.R race cars. The automaker has a rich history in endurance racing, with its first entries at Le Mans being privateers Briggs Cunningham and Miles and Sam Collier in 1950, who drove Series 61 coupes powered by the Cadillac 5.4-liter OHV V-8 engine. Most recently, Cadillac competed at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2000, 2001, and 2002 with its 4.0L turbocharged V8-powered Northstar LMP.
“We are thrilled to return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans with the full Cadillac Racing team. Over the last 20 years, Cadillac Racing has built a legacy of winning on the track, and we feel very privileged to return to Le Mans during this exciting new electrified era in racing.”
— Global Vice President of Cadillac Rory Harvey
The Cadillac V-Series.R Race Cars
The three Cadillac V-Series.R race cars made their competition debut on January 28-29 in the 61st Rolex 24 At Daytona. The No. 01 Cadillac V-Series.R earned a podium finish. The No. 02 Cadillac V-Series.R placed fourth, and the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac V-Series.R finished fifth. For the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the three vehicles will compete for the overall win in the Hypercar class, alongside other competitors with revised car numbers.
- The No. 2 Cadillac V-Series.R received an automatic entry based on its full-season participation in the FIA World Endurance Championship. Earl Bamber, Alex Lynn, and Richard Westbrook are the drivers.
- The No. 3 Cadillac V-Series.R is a full-season IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship entrant, where it races as the No. 01. Sébastien Bourdais, Renger van der Zande, and Scott Dixon will be the drivers.
- The No. 311 Whelen Engineering Cadillac V-Series.R is a full-season IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship entrant, where it races as the No. 31. Pipo Derani, Alexander Sims, and Jack Aitken will be the drivers.
“We’re proud to be representing the United States, and the Cadillac V-Series.R is a great continuation of our racing heritage.”
— GM sports car program manager Laura Wontrop Klauser
Design and Development of the New Race Car
The guiding principles for the convergence of the top categories of endurance racing in IMSA and the WEC were announced in 2020, and the design and development of the new race car began immediately.
The Cadillac V-Series.R design — co-developed by Cadillac Design, Cadillac Racing, and chassis constructor Dallara — was informed by the Project GTP Hypercar that was unveiled in June 2022. The race car incorporates distinctive Cadillac design elements, such as vertical lighting and floating blades.
The Cadillac V-Series.R features an all-new Cadillac 5.5L DOHC V-8 engine developed by GM’s Performance and Racing Propulsion team based in Pontiac, Michigan. The spec energy recovery system was developed by Bosch, Williams Advanced Engineering (now WAE), and Xtrac.
“We are all looking forward to Cadillac returning to Le Mans and challenging for the overall victory. It has been decades since an American manufacturer has achieved this, and we will be strongly pushing to achieve our goal. It’s been special to be a part of this from the beginning. We started this journey nearly two years ago testing in the simulator. It’s been an awesome journey and the adventure is only just beginning. It’s going to be incredible all the way up to Le Mans.”
— Earl Bamber, a two-time overall winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans
On-Track Development of the Cadillac V-Series.R
The Cadillac V-Series.R began on-track development in July 2022 and logged more than 12,400 miles (20,000 kilometers) on racetracks in the U.S. leading into the 2023 Rolex 24 At Daytona. The team was focused on refining the car’s performance and reliability in preparation for the challenging 24-hour race at Le Mans.
Looking Ahead to Le Mans
The Cadillac V-Series.R race cars will join other competitors in the Hypercar class at Le Mans, and the team is focused on winning the overall title. The last American automaker to achieve this feat was Ford in 1967, which won with its GT40 race car.
The new hypercar class at Le Mans aims to provide manufacturers with an opportunity to showcase their latest technologies and innovations, and the Cadillac V-Series.R is no exception. The vehicle is equipped with an all-new Cadillac 5.5L DOHC V-8 engine that was developed by GM’s Performance and Racing Propulsion team. The engine is expected to deliver exceptional power and efficiency, enabling the race car to compete at the highest level.
The spec energy recovery system, which was developed by Bosch, Williams Advanced Engineering, and Xtrac, is also expected to play a key role in the car’s performance. The system will allow the car to recover energy during braking and store it for later use, providing a significant boost in power during acceleration.
Final Thoughts (TL;DR)
Cadillac’s return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans is a significant milestone for the automaker, which has a rich history in endurance racing. The automaker has been developing its new V-Series.R race car for over two years, and the team is focused on winning the overall title in the Hypercar class.
The Cadillac V-Series.R is a technological marvel that incorporates the latest innovations and advancements in automotive engineering. The race car is equipped with an all-new Cadillac 5.5L DOHC V-8 engine and a spec energy recovery system, which are expected to deliver exceptional performance and efficiency.
As the race draws near, the excitement and anticipation are building, and fans around the world are eagerly awaiting the showdown between the best automakers in the world. Cadillac is determined to make its mark and add to its racing legacy, and we can’t wait to see what the future holds for this storied automaker.