Cadillac Racing has announced it will develop a next-generation prototype race car based on the new Le Mans-Daytona Hybrid regulations, enabling the American luxury brand to race in the top class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans from 2023 onward.
“Cadillac today announced it will compete in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) LMDh category in 2023 with a fourth-generation Cadillac V-Series prototype,” the automaker said in a prepared statement. “Cadillac and its partners will bring their considerable experience from American endurance racing to compete for overall victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.”
The automaker published a design rendering for its future prototype racer on Tuesday, which it has dubbed the Cadillac LMDh-V.R.The rendering shows a Le Mans prototype with various Cadillac design cues, including sharply creased bodywork and vertically integrated LED taillights. Interestingly, the car is pictured with no rear wing – similar to the Peugeot 9X8 Hypercar that will debut in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) in 2022.
Like the current Cadillac DPi-V.R prototype, the LMDh-V.R will utilize a chassis from Italian supplier Dallara. Cars that fall under LMDh regulations must also use a spec hybrid powertrain system, although manufacturers are free to use an engine of their choosing. Cadillac is keeping critical powertrain details under wraps for now and has only said the car “will feature a unique combustion engine.”
In addition to bringing the car to Le Mans, Cadillac will also field the LMDh-V.R in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. It will make its competition debut at the 2023 24 Hours of Daytona before appearing at Le Mans later that year. The car will be fielded by current Cadillac DPi-V.R teams Chip Ganassi Racing and Action Express Racing in both IMSA and the FIA WEC.
“We are looking forward to the new international prototype formula and running the Cadillac LMDh,” Chip Ganassi said in a prepared statement. “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.”
The American manufacturer will face stiff competition in both IMSA and WEC. Toyota, Renault/Alpine and boutique manufacturer Glickenhaus already race in the newly established Hypercar class and will be joined by Peugeot, Porsche, Ferrari, Audi, BMW, Acura and WEC mainstay ByKolles over the course of the next two years.
Cadillac last competed for top honors at Le Mans in 2003 with the ill-fated Northstar LMP. The Northstar LMP’s best result at Le Mans came in 2002, when the No. 6 entry finished ninth overall in the hands of Wayne Taylor, Max Angelelli and Christophe Tinseau.