Le Mans has always been a good way to gauge the future of the automotive market. After all, car makers from all over the world send the best examples that they can create to the iconic competition in order to take a shot at achieving greatness. One automaker that has been suspiciously absent for a number of years is Cadillac. That’s something that they plan to change in 2023 when they return with their futuristic hybrid race car, the LMDh-V.R.
A Page From the Future
Le Mans is well known as the world’s oldest endurance race for automobiles. It’s also one of the most prestigious races in the world. Most automakers spend months developing a car that they can take to the race but Cadillac hasn’t been there in two decades. As such, some people were rather shocked to hear that they were planning on returning after such a long absence. However, after seeing the car that they plan to race there, that shock has largely turned to intrigue. Cadillac is calling the car a V-Series prototype, a fourth-generation example, to be exact. Its rather odd name, the LMDh-V.R., refers to the class it will eventually be competing in- the Le Mans-Daytona hybrid class. What does all of this mean? There are two main races that are associated with this competition, the IMSA WeatherTech series and the 24 hours of Le Mans. This car will qualify to compete in both races. Currently, that is precisely what Cadillac plans to do with the car. They want to create something that can be used to contest both races, along with a few other competitions along the way.
A Triumphant Return?
When Cadillac last competed in Le Mans, back in 2002, they weren’t very successful in their efforts. As a matter of fact, the performance put forth by Cadillac was so bad that they decided not to return to Le Mans the following year or in any of the subsequent years in the two decades since then. Most people genuinely thought that Cadillac no longer had an interest in competing at Lemans in any capacity. However, they had made the decision long ago that they would not compete unless they could come up with something that they felt was worthy of attending the competition. When it was announced that some of the older classes that have traditionally raced at Le Mans would be phased out in favor of the newer V-Series prototype, Cadillac decided to get involved again. As such, they will be competing against the likes of Porsche and Audi in order to see who eventually takes home the trophy.
A Dedicated Racing Schedule
It looks like Cadillac is throwing themselves back into Le Mans with everything that they have. The same car will race at Daytona for the 24 Hours of Daytona sponsored by Rolex in January of 2023, then go on to contest both Le Mans races later that year. While they will be using a standardized chassis that is provided to all competitors, all of their engine and body work will come specifically from their engineers at Cadillac’s Research and Development, making the car very much their own. The idea behind using a shared chassis is to make the playing field more level. It gives everyone an opportunity to start with something that is identical and then add their own finishing touches when it comes to the aerodynamics involved with the body work as well as horsepower provided by the engine. Despite the car’s extremely futuristic appearance, it will be using a traditional internal combustion engine for the races.
Speaking of Appearance
Speaking of the car’s appearance, it looks more like something straight out of a Batman film than a race car. As a matter of fact, many people have commented that the car’s appearance evokes strong memories of the famous Batmobile, so much so that some have started to wonder whether or not Cadillac took any inspiration from that particular creation in order to make their own. As far as any official statements, Cadillac hasn’t made any. However, even casual fans that have seen only one or two movies can easily make the connection between the similarities in the appearance of the two cars. Hopefully, Cadillac’s version will be just as fast as the version that has graced the big screen for so many years.
Small Changes Can Make a Big Difference
Cadillac doesn’t have everything exactly the way they want it just yet, but they do have time on their side. So far, testing of the prototype has gone well. Even though the auto maker isn’t quite where they would like to be, they do seem to be on target. The fact that they have more than a year to make the necessary changes is definitely a bonus, something that they are quick to point out. For now, the team is working tirelessly to get the car ready for the races in 2023. Considering that they have partnered with Dallara for the chassis and they are using the standardized powertrain, a hybrid version that connects with the traditional internal combustion engine, it should be interesting to see how the car performs when it finally does have a chance to get on the race track.
It’s worth noting that in addition to the standardized chassis, the hybrid powertrain is also being provided to all of the competitors. Some people have questioned Cadillac’s decision to marry a traditional internal combustion engine with the hybrid powertrain, but the automaker is confident that their decision will be a successful one. As previously mentioned, it seems as though they are on target to hit the racetrack in early 2023, so perhaps they’re on to something after all. At the very least, many people are glad to see that Cadillac is returning to this particular class of races. While they have proven to be quite successful in other classes over the years, their lack of success at Le Mans has been a big stain on their reputation, one that they are very anxious to rectify.