Sunday, May 28

Cadillac roars to podium finish in Rolex 24

Sunday, Jan 29 768
Cadillac roars to podium finish in Rolex 24 GM Photo

Cadillac Racing began the Grand Touring Prototype era with third-, fourth- and fifth-place finishes in the 61st Rolex 24 At Daytona.


Renger van der Zande earned a podium spot, driving the electrified No. 01 Cadillac V-LMDh for the final stint of the mentally- and physically-taxing race on the 3.56-mile, 12-turn Daytona International Speedway road course. He shared the seat with Sebastien Bourdais and Scott Dixon.


Earl Bamber, Alex Lyn and Richard Westbrook co-drove the No. 02 Cadillac V-LMDh to fourth place in the season opener of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.


Pipo Derani, Alexander Sims and Jack Aitken persevered after a pre-dawn incident involving a GTD that necessitated a 25-minute trip to the garage finish fifth. The incident was the lone substantial setback for the new Cadillac prototypes, which only began on-track development in early July.

Questions were answered as teams, drivers and Cadillac engineers continue to learn about the car. Durability: No major mechanical or hybrid unit issues. Engine performance: Powerful. Drivability: Smooth.


“We brought three Cadillacs, which was the most of any brand, and all three took the checkered flag,” GM sports car racing program manager Laura Wontrop Klauser said. “I’d say everyone who has worked on this project, whether it be the engineers at Cadillac, the designers at Cadillac, the engineers at Dallara, Chip Ganassi Racing, Action Express Racing – everyone – should be so proud of everything we’ve accomplished."


The Cadillac V-LMDh features an all-new Cadillac 5.5-liter DOHC V8 engine developed by GM’s Performance and Racing propulsion team based in Pontiac, Michigan. Cadillac is the only GTP competitor with a naturally aspirated engine.


The body, codeveloped by Cadillac Design, Cadillac Racing and chassis constructor Dallara, incorporates key Cadillac V-Series production car design elements.


The No. 01 Cadillac V-LMDh and No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac V-LMDh will next compete March 18 in the Twelve Hours of Sebring on the 3.74-mile, 17-turn Sebring International Raceway. The No. 2 Cadillac V-LMDh will make its FIA World Endurance Championship debut March 17 in the 1000 of Sebring.

Cadillac Racing driver quotes


No. 01 Cadillac V-LMDh (qualified fourth, finished third)

Sebastien Bourdais: “Obviously, didn’t run the perfect race but as close as you can get to it considering it was the first outing in a race for the Cadillac V-LMDh. Honestly, I just didn’t think it was going to take the perfect race and some. I’m really surprised that the competition beat us on performance and everybody ended up having a very clean race. It’s tough to be on the wrong side of things but scoring some good points. All the hard work from Ganassi, Cadillac and Bosch, Dallara and everybody that has been involved in this project has been rewarded with a triple finish. We’ll keep working and thanks for everybody’s hard work.”


Renger van der Zande: ““Yeah, finishing second or third is not what we came for, but hey it’s the first time and we got points for podium to start the season off with Ganassi.  At the end of the day, we didn’t have the pace to win, and we didn’t have the speed on the straights to win. It’s time to collect and see where we can improve as a team. I think it’s a tribute to GM and to Dallara and Ganassi to build a car that lasts for 24 hours. I think that is an amazing thing and yeah, congrats to the winners.”


Scott Dixon: “Pretty decent finish and great work by the team and all the partners. That’s a feat in itself. I think coming down toward the end we knew it was going to be a tough fight, especially with the speed of the other cars. It was a fun race and just came up short.”


No. 02 Cadillac V-LMDh (qualified fifth, finished fourth)

Richard Westbrook: “What a journey for us to get to this point. To run flawlessly for 24 hours in the debut of the Cadillac LMDh is something we can all be proud of. Obviously, there is initial disappointment because we just missed out on the podium and had the potential to win. But listen, we just have so much to be proud of to get the car home without any issues is just a testament to the team, Cadillac, and everyone involved.  We are only going one way and that is forward.”


Earl Bamber: “I think just an all-around good job by Chip Ganassi Racing and Cadillac to come out and run 24 hours and have both cars on the lead lap, have both cars with potential to be on the podium. Missed a little bit of pace to Acura and hate we missed out on the podium, but its good points in the championship. Now we can go on to Sebring and WEC.”


Alex Lynn: “We are disappointed not to get the win. That’s what you turn up to Daytona to do. The car ran flawlessly. Big congrats to Cadillac for building such a great car and we’ll be back.”


No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac V-LMDh (qualified sixth, finished fifth)

Pipo Derani: “It’s just one of those things and one of those races where you have to be there at the end and unfortunately, we got crashed by a GT. It wasn’t major, it was just a touch from the GT. But after two hours after that touch, our rear suspension gave up.  So, really unfortunate there. The team did an amazing job to repair the car and put us back in contention. The car was really quick, so kind of bittersweet because we had a strong enough car to be on the podium, but that’s racing. Looks like we are going to be a strong team and I am looking forward to Sebring. The machine has worked flawless over a 24-hour race, which is incredible.”


Alexander Sims: “It’s always disappointing when you get to the end of a long race like that, put in so much effort and don’t get the result you feel you deserve. But that’s the way racing is; it’s sport. There’s one winner and a lot of losers and that’s what makes it so special when you do win. It’s the fierst race we’ve had with this car, a lot of learning has been done and I think already we see where we can make decent improvements on the car side, on my side and that’s just part of building that overall picture to continue through the championship and get the results as we go along.”


Jack Aitken: “To finish fifth after everything that we went through in this race is quite an achievement and I think it goes to show how much attrition was out there as well. It is a shame because we led laps and were running with the leaders at the time. But that’s just bad luck in multi-class racing. We have a lot to be really proud of and it’s just the start of the season, so lots of really promising things happening. It was a great experience and very different from the other 24-hour races that I’ve done. I want to come back and hopefully get on the top step."




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