DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – At first look, it steals your breath. Sleek yet aggressive, bold yet elegant. Undeniably a Cadillac, yet an altogether different kind of Cadillac.
Meet Cadillac’s Project GTP Hypercar, which previews the manufacturer’s third-generation prototype race car.
What went behind the design of the new car was complicated and layered, an in-depth project involving dozens of people from several areas, melding the success of the Cadillac DPi-V.R that’s been winning races and championships in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Daytona Prototype international (DPi) class since 2017 with the unlimited possibilities of the new car and the new-for-2023 Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) class.
“It’s exciting to start a new chapter,” said Chris Mikalauskas, Cadillac’s lead exterior creative designer. “We’ve proven ourselves in IMSA and we want to continue to prove ourselves, but we really just want to prove ourselves now on an even higher level of vehicle.”
Mikalauskas and his design team brought the car from idea to reality in just 15 months. Thursday’s Project GTP Hypercar preview was the “wow” part. Now it’s time to see how the race car develops as the new car and class prepare to begin racing in January at the Rolex 24 At Daytona. On-track testing is set to begin later this summer.
“It’s a cool canvas to be able to show people the fact that we’re going to continue to make performance products in the future and this is a sample of what they might look like,” Mikalauskas said. “I just want people to realize that we’re not done making cars that are going to perform extremely well. It’s something we very much want to be a part of, and this design previews that.”
The trick for Mikalauskas and his team of engineers was to carry the success of Cadillac’s DPi V.R – which won two titles and four consecutive Rolex 24s in its six years in the WeatherTech Championship – to the new car.
“We know certain things work,” Mikalauskas said. “Whenever you radically change the proportions of a vehicle, not everything translates. While we have the experience and the winning pedigree, we definitely had to do some invention and discovery on this new program.
“We’re super excited and super happy about where we ended up, but it wasn’t as easy as saying, ‘OK, take the DPi and stretch it this way and stretch it that way.’ It was a ground-up build.”