Cadillac reveals its Le Mans hypercar

One year from now, an all-new Cadillac endurance racer will be competing in the Le Mans 24 Hours. And it will look a lot like this newly unveiled prototype, the Project GTP Hypercar.

Using a Dallara-based chassis, it will be powered by a new GM 5.5-litre dohc V8 with hybrid assistance.

It’s been built to the LMDh rules, which involve using a hybrid unit shared with other manufacturers. The hybrid is the result of a collaboration between Bosch, Williams Advanced Engineering and Xtrac.

LMDh cars will compete not only against each other, but also against LMH hybrid cars built without the restriction of the shared unit. Among the manufacturers who have shown interest in competing in one or other division of the merged Hypercar class in the next couple of seasons are Peugeot, Toyota, Porsche, BMW, Ferrari and Lamborghini.

The influx of manufacturers is down to the agreement between the ACO, which runs the Le Mans 24 Hours, and IMSA, which oversees US sportscar racing. Merging their rulebooks means it becomes much more cost-effective for manufacturers to compete in IMSA races and at Le Mans and the rest of the World Endurance Championship.

  • Concept previews 2023 hybrid endurance racer
  • Features all-new 5.5-litre V8
  • Full US and European season planned

Laura Wontrop Klauser, GM’s sportscar racing programme manager, said Project GTP had been undergoing bench testing for several months, and would now begin intensive track testing before its race debut at Daytona early in 2023.

‘We have six months to test, figure this out, be ready to race. We have a huge mountain to climb. The intent and the expectation is to win.’

The toughest challenge, she said, would be integrating the engine and hybrid unit.

‘This [hybrid] is new territory for us for in racing. The rest of it, we are leaning on a lot of heritage with DallarShe added: ‘We look forward to competing against some of the very best. I’m excited to see the previews coming from our competitors.’

Cadillac’s first Le Mans race was in 1950, in a car that was dubbed Le Monstre by French fans. More recently, its cars have been multiple winners in various sportscar categories, and its high-performance road cars now included the Escalade-V, with its 6.2-litre supercharged V8’s output of 668bhp making it the most powerful Cadillac ever.

Cadillac vice-president Rory Harvey stressed that the Project GTP Hypercar was part of Cadillac’s pivot towards electrification. The company was expecting a two-way exchange of expertise between the road and track divisions: ‘LMDh regulations offer a unique opportunity to gather key learnings.’

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