Cadillac is building an all-new Le Mans Daytona Hybrid (LMDh) hypercar to make its debut in January 2023.
This will allow the American manufacturer to continue in the US-based IMSA Sportscar Championship and simulataneously enter the Europe-based FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), which includes the Le Mans 24 Hours.
This would mark the General Motors-owned brand’s first appearance at the iconic endurance event since 2002.
The fourth-generation Cadillac V-Series prototype, named LMDh-VR, will replace the current DPi-VR, which is built to the Daytona Prototype International rules and therefore, despite the name, isn’t permitted at Le Mans.
LMDh is the more affordable route into the new Hypercar era of top-tier sports car racing, being cost-capped and taking the WEC’s current second-class LMP2 chassis as its basis.
The other route, Le Mans Hypercar (LMH), allows manufacturers to design bespoke prototypes, as with the current LMP1 rules; or create competition versions of existing road-going hypercars, creating much greater commercial potential.
Both this potential and the convergence of European and American sports-car regulations has enticed a slew of manufacturers to recommit to or enter the IMSA and WEC series.
On the LMDh side, Cadillac joins Acura, Audi, BMW and Porsche; while on the LMH side are ByKolles, Ferrari, Peugeot, Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus and Toyota.
From the four designated LMDh chassis providers, Cadillac has chosen to collaborate with Italian specialist Dallara. To this it will add an engine of its own design, in combination with the mandatory common hybrid element.
Body styling of the hypercar is also free to the manufacturers, to which end Cadillac has released a preview image of the LMDh-VR (see above).
Cadillac’s LMDh efforts will be run by American outfits Chip Ganassi Racing and Action Express Racing, with which it won the IMSA championship in 2017 and 2018.
Chip Ganassi said: “We’re looking forward to the new international prototype formula and running the Cadillac LMDh. We’ve had a great relationship across three different racing disciplines with GM, and we’re looking forward to developing the car with Cadillac and Dallara over the next year-and-a-half.”