GM Brand Is Fifth Manufacturer to Join New Prototype Class in 2023
Action Express Racing and Chip Ganassi Racing Named as Partner Teams
Cadillac became the latest manufacturer to join the next generation of prototype racing in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, announcing Tuesday it is developing a car to compete in the Le Mans Daytona h (LMDh) class that debuts in 2023.
Cadillac joins Acura, Audi, BMW and Porsche on the list of manufacturers developing LMDh entries for competition. Through an agreement announced last month among IMSA, the Automobile Club l’Ouest (ACO) and the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), beginning in 2023, LMDh cars will compete alongside Le Mans Hypercar (LMH) entries in the top-tier class of the WeatherTech Championship, replacing the current Daytona Prototype international (DPi) category.
LMDh and LMH cars will also make up the top class of the FIA World Endurance Championship, allowing manufacturers to race in both series should they choose. Cadillac officials confirmed Tuesday that it will have cars in both the WeatherTech Championship and the FIA WEC.
“We are excited to compete at the top level of international motorsport in the LMDh class beginning in 2023,” said Rory Harvey, Cadillac Global Vice President. “Like motorsport, Cadillac is making the transition into a future driven by alternative propulsion. The hybrid nature of the LMDh rules will help us to bridge our technology transfer to our all-electric future.
“We are excited to carry forward our success and continue to transfer our learnings and technology from the track to our production vehicles. We have had great success with the championship-winning Cadillac DPi-V.R and look forward to building on that record into the future with the next generation Cadillac LMDh.”
Cadillac will partner on development of its LMDh chassis with Dallara, the constructor for the current Cadillac DPi-V.R competing in the WeatherTech Championship. Cadillac swept the driver, team and manufacturer championships in 2017 and ’18, compiled four straight wins in the Rolex 24 At Daytona (2017-2020) and leads the 2021 DPi manufacturer battle on the strength of four race wins thus far.
Chip Ganassi Racing and Action Express Racing, two of Cadillac’s current DPi teams, will continue in that role in the LMDh era. The Cadillac LMDh will make its competition debut at the Rolex 24 in January 2023, with the objective of participating at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
“The IMSA LMDh category is looking to be very competitive with multiple manufacturers,” said Gary Nelson, Action Express Racing team manager. “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.”
“We are looking forward to the new international prototype formula and running the Cadillac LMDh,” team owner Chip Ganassi said. “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.”
Announced in January 2020 as a shared platform between IMSA and the ACO, LMDh is based on a cost-capped car that will generate more than 670 horsepower (500 kilowatts) from the combined output of an internal combustion engine and a hybrid powertrain.
The standardized LMDh chassis will be built by one of the approved constructors (Dallara, Ligier, Multimatic and ORECA), with competing automobile manufacturers open to developing their own branded engine and stylized bodywork. Bosch, Williams Advanced Engineering and Xtrac will work in concert to provide the spec hybrid powertrain system for all LMDh cars.
IMSA President John Doonan lauded the addition of a fifth manufacturer to the forward-thinking LMDh category.
“Cadillac’s decision to continue its successful IMSA prototype program further validates the LMDh platform,” Doonan said. “The combination of cost-effectiveness, technical relevance and the ability to compete for overall victories in the world’s most important endurance races has clearly resonated with five manufacturers so far, with even more expected in the future.
“Cadillac already owns a tremendous legacy in sports car racing, especially over the past four years in the WeatherTech Championship,” Doonan added. “If the launch of Cadillac’s DPi program in 2017 is any indication, we’d expect that the new Cadillac LMDh prototype will be a top contender right from the first race at Daytona in 2023.”