Cadillac Racing leads at eight-hour mark

All three Cadillac V-LMDh race cars have led laps through eight hours of the 61st Rolex 24 At Daytona on the 3.56-mile Daytona International Speedway road course.


The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season opener is also the debut of the electrified Cadillac entries in the rejuvenated Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) class.

The No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac V-LMDh driven by Jack Aitken led at the eight-hour mark. The No. 02 Cadillac V-LMDh driven by Alex Lynn was running third and the No. 01 Cadillac V-LMDh driven by Renger van der Zande was fifth.


None of the new Cadillac race cars, which began on-track development only six months ago, have experienced issues on the mechanical end, with the handling or the MGU. The rear wing assembly on the No. 01 Cadillac V-LMDh had to be changed 4 hours, 26 minutes into the race after it was hit from behind by an LMP3 car. The front-end assembly of the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac V-LMDh was swapped out in the second hour after contact.


The race is being broadcast on NBC and its associated channels (all times EST):

Today – Peacock streaming, 8-10 p.m.

             USA Network, 10 p.m.-12 a.m.

Sunday – Peacock streaming, 12-6 a.m.

              USA Network, 6 a.m.-12 p.m.

              NBC, 12-2 p.m.

Flag-to-flag streaming on Peacock Plus and 

No. 01 Cadillac V-LMDh


Sebastien Bourdais: “Tricky conditions, very windy out there. I was at the beginning thinking, ‘it’s alright, not too quick. The track is going to come to us,’ but the track is getting worse and worse and worse. Quite a bit of tire deg. We’re just sliding around so much. Traffic is obviously a huge factor. You’re losing tons of time in traffic but honestly from what we’re seeing early on is probably going to be a game of attrition, so it sounds really crazy to make any irrational decisions and take any chances in traffic although sometimes you’re losing 2 to 5 seconds and you’re really biding your time. But better that than end up stuffed in the wall.”


Renger van der Zande: “It’s very tricky on the cold tires, so the warmup is something over the 24 hours that people are going to make mistakes and make a difference on. I’m happy with the Cadillac. We’ve been working on this program so long and we’re finally racing. I’m so proud of Cadillac, Ganassi and everyone involved, and this was the first time I got a real taste of how the car is in the race because you’re still trying stuff. When you’re as a driver in the car you develop so much of the car you’re still looking at what could be better, what could be different while racing. We’re not done with testing yet; I think every program is a little behind. This is the best testing you can do and that’s what we’re doing today.”


Scott Dixon: “Car feels pretty decent, keep it clean and stay on the lead lap. Just keep a steady pace and then the 8 car spun in Turn 5 and we had to go to the outside of him and he got off the brakes and rolled back so I had to stop and then somebody got into the back of us and broke the rear clips so we had to come in and change the rear. The pace seems pretty good, even in that situation the car was totally fine. Maybe a toe link bent or something. Car feels good. Just try to keep up on the track and keep it together.”


No. 02 Cadillac V-LMDh

Earl Bamber: “It’s been pretty good so far first stint of the race, the first of this new GTP era. It was an awesome race start when you see all those fans out there with the amount of excitement around sports car racing is just great. I just tried to get in a rhythm. Quite new things for us is double stinting tires so I took it easy at the begging to see how that was going to feel out. We did a pretty good double there. It’s just a matter of finding traffic. There’s quite a bit of traffic out there already. We’ll see how we end up in the morning. It’s new regulations and it’s also new for the teams. Every pit stop they’re learning and the strategy they’re learning what to do.”


Alex Lynn: “I think it was an interesting stint from us. We played around a lot on our side of the garage with stint life on the tires. It was our first time we had run 17 laps on one set of tires, and that’s a lot around here. Just building our way.”


Richard Westbrook: “There are lots of different tire strategies going on right now. We’re trying to be quite frugal with how much we put on new tires. We just did almost a triple on one set. It’s a different rule this year with the tire allocation. You definitely want plenty of tires for the last three or four hours. We’re taking a bit of pain now and hoping to make that time back up come tomorrow when we have lots of new sets of tires. (advantage with double and triple stinting?): “We definitely set the car up that way; we’re good over a double and I think we’re pretty good over a triple as well. I just can’t believe all these cars are still running. It’s a testament to the manufacturers and all the hard work that’s gone into it. It’s a proper race out there and it looks like it’s going to keep going.”


No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac V-LMDh

Alexander Sims: “It’s my first-ever stint in a prototype in IMSA and I’m just getting my head around things, how to gauge traffic, how to manage gaps to get a good run out of the corner. It’s early in the race and we just have to stay in it and keep it clean. Looking forward to my next stint after a bit of dinner.”


Pipo Derani: “We continue to learn with every stint. It’s quite windy out there and with all the traffic you can’t take any chances this early in the race. The slight contact I had was just good racing though we had to change the nose of the car under yellow. I’m looking forward to getting back in the car.”


Jack Aitken: “My first race laps in the new Cadillac V-LMDh and my first on the Daytona road course and it was exciting. So much to learn with the car, with negotiating traffic, with pit stops, with everything really. I am happy with the car and honored to be part of this program. Long way to go, so we’ll see how things shake out.”