The recently unveiled Cadillac Project GTP Hypercar is “quite close” to the manufacturer’s target LMDh entry, according to Laura Wontrop Klauser, program manager for GM’s sports car racing program.
The luxury carmaker, unveiled on Thursday, previewed the car that will bring Cadillac back to the 24 Hours of Le Mans next year as part of a double full season FIA World Endurance Championship and IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship program.
The striking design was co-developed by Cadillac Design, Cadillac Racing and chassis builder Dallara, with more production-based styling cues compared to the Cadillac DPi-VR
“For the most part, we showed you where we want to go with this car,” Klauser told Sportscar365. “From that point of view, it’s pretty close.
“There will be some adjustments; there will be some changes as we find parts of the car that we need to improve and if we find a better way to do something that would be more efficient.
“[There’s been] constant iterations, constant improvements, little things at this point.”
Klauser said some of the car’s components may be open to a “little” interpretation in terms of LMDh regulations, when asked about the rear wing design and the current lack of rear-view mirrors.
The car shown in the images is considered a mock-up consisting of an actual rolling chassis on top of computer generated images.
“What we were able to show you today was ‘the moment in time’ when they had to snap the chalk line to build something,” Klauser explained.
‘We’ve been working. We clearly have a race to run in January 2023.
“From a general perspective…when you get to the last homologated race car, you’ll see it was the same things.”
Although it shares the same 5.5-liter displacement as its ECR-tuned DPi engine, Klauser said they brought development of the all-new “ground-up” V8 engine in-house to a Cadillac-specific team in Pontiac. , michigan.
It’s a similar structure seen with the Corvette C8.R engine program, which is also overseen by the same director, but with a different staff.
“It’s a brand new car with a hybrid and everything,” Klauser said. “It opened up a lot of new ways of approaching things.
“We could have taken an older engine and made it work, or we could have started over and made the right engine. So we chose that option.”
Klauser confirmed that the engine has already completed dyno testing with and without the LMDh-spec hybrid powertrain.
CGR, AXR work “very closely” in test program
With the first chassis already in the US, Klauser said it will begin track testing “this summer”.
While not targeting a specific time, Sportscar365 believes it could happen later this month in what would initially be a joint effort between Chip Ganassi Racing and Action Express Racing.
“Both teams work very closely together,” says Klauser. “The goal is to get two cars as soon as possible so they can all have one in their shop.
“But initially, if we only have one, it will be housed in Indianapolis next to Dallara, but it will also have AXR’s participation in the test.
“We planned everything as a whole. We intend to be there as one unit and help each other.
“The idea is that we put everyone on the right track so that the whole program succeeds.”
When asked about the number of cars reserved for each series, Klauser indicated that there will be two full season entries in the WeatherTech Championship – one from CGR and AXR – with one additional car full-time in the WEC.
She said their hopes are to bring more cars to both the Rolex 24 at Daytona and Le Mans, subject to parts availability, and in the case of the French endurance classic, invitations from the ACO.
“The supply chain is very limited,” she said. “I think if we wanted to start adding cars, we couldn’t get parts in time.
“We probably should have made that decision at the end of last year to do some proper planning.
“We like the plan we have. We are happy that we can keep it tight for the first year. This is a very complicated new car and we want to make sure our teams are ready for success.
“If you try to stretch yourself too thin, you run into problems. I think this is the right move for the first year. We’ll see where we go from there.
“The program may change over the years. We have five chances with this car to take it to the big races. We will evolve as it makes sense.”