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Cadillac Teases LMDh Category Participation In 2023

Photo Credit: Cadillac


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Two days after the completion of the 2021 24 Hours of Le Mans where the World Endurance Championship (WEC) sports car series’ Hypercar class made its first run at the Circuit de la Sarthe, a major player provided confirmation for their intentions to produce a challenger for the North American equivalent of the competitive racing class. Competing as a manufacturer in the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) Weathertech SportsCar Championship since 2017, Cadillac is looking forward into 2023 with a new car for an eagerly awaited LMDh category.


Providing only a single image of their successor to their DPi-V.R race car, Cadillac has pledged to work with race car chassis developer Dallara as well as IMSA competitors Chip Ganassi Racing and Action Express Racing in having a new vehicle ready to take the grid for the 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona. The Cadillac LMDh-V.R. prototype features an aggressive body shape that contains many of the luxury car maker’s design cues including the marque’s iconic slim, vertical taillights. Few details of the LMDh-V.R. have been revealed but Cadillac has stated they are working on a hybrid powertrain utilizing a unique gasoline engine as well as the LMDh class’ spec electric power unit.


The most exciting prospect of the new LMDh (Le Mans Daytona hybrid) category is that new IMSA class will be allowed to compete in races organized European-based Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO). Starting in 2023, LMDh class machines created for the IMSA Weathertech SportsCar Championship as well as vehicles developed for in the FIA World Endurance Championship’s recently-launched Le Mans Hypercar category will be able to compete together. In essence, Le Mans Hypercar participants can run in the Rolex 24 at Daytona as well as the Twelve Hours of Sebring while LMDh cars can be entered at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.


Cadillac’s last appearance at the Circuit de la Sarthe was between 2000 and 2002 when General Motors’ luxury car marker competed in the top-ranked LMP900 category. Originally relying on a chassis developed by Riley & Scott and propelled by a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter engine adopted from an Oldsmobile-branded powerplant used successfully in the Indy Racing League through the late 1990s, the Cadillac Northstar LMP race car faired poorly in the three outings in the 24-hour race with the best result being a ninth place finish at the 2002 event.


It’s worth noting that the era of Cadillac’s Le Mans effort coincided with a highly competitive time in the prototype sports car category. The Cadillac Northstar LMP competed against the legendary Audi R8, the Audi-drived Bentley EXP Speed 8, the front-engined Panoz roadster as well as a Chrysler/Oreca effort using a Dallara chassis. The American premium vehicle brand’s potential return for the 24 Hours of Le Mans is likely to take place under the similar competitive conditions as their last appearance with the Hypercar class. Toyota, Alpine and Glickenhaus (an American specialty car company) participated in the 2021 24 Hours of Le Mans while Peugeot and Ferrari are firmly preparing entries in the Hypercar category.

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