After the final race at the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s DPi in Atlanta Road, Cadillac, BMW and Acura stayed for a long test at the 2.54-mile road track. Meanwhile, the new Cadillac crossed the 11,000-kilometre (6,835-mile) mark in terms of track distance covered during its development.
“The car is powerful,” said Sebastien Pordes, who will continue with Ranger van der Zande in a Cadillac operated by Ganassi in 2023. “It obviously generates about 700 horsepower, but when you pair it with a bit of downforce – like less downforce – It is definitely a car that gives you a chance for your money.
“You have to work in it. You have a good mechanical grip, but the weight negates that. Aeronautically you get there really fast but then you can’t rely on the plane as much.
“You get there fast, but it’s a little hard to stop. When you get to the corner, you have to park it more. It’s definitely a car that keeps you awake.”
Van der Zande, who has led DPi-VR to eight wins — four with Wayne Taylor Racing and four with Ganassi — said he was a fan of the V-LMDh and found his test a satisfying experience.
“As a driver, you can give your feedback to our great engineers and they start working on the feedback you provide [regarding] What you need to win races in the future, so this is a very interesting period. The engine sound is very raw and so is the Cadillac too. I was impressed with the sound and driving away on the electric side of it is impressive. It’s more powerful and puts a big smile on my face.
“One of the points of development that you can use outside of the DPi era is to go down a path like this where you get to have those cascading emotions and give feedback. It goes from big tuning to fine tuning. You don’t get these opportunities often.”
There will be two Cadillacs on the IMSA grid next year – one powered by Ganassi, the other by Action Express Racing, which will be driven by Pipo Derani and Alexander Sims.
“It was really cool to get a lot of laps,” said Sims, who has been working part-time at Corvette Racing for the last two seasons. “Good times, I did some quick laps too, which was nice. Some long distances, got a good understanding of the car through a full assignment and then did a few bits of performance testing a bit more at the end of the day.
“It’s nice to feel a little more comfortable with the speed of the car. Obviously you still have to do, but it was a solid day for testing.”
At WEC, Cadillac will have one entry in 2023 in the Le Mans Hypercar class, which is run by Ganassi and driven by Richard Westbrook, Alex Lane and Earl Bamber. Westbrook, for whom this was his first test of the new car, noted: “Some things are better, some things need improvement, of course. It’s a brand new car, but it’s a really good first impression.”
“I’m really glad I got off the road for the first time. It was really fun. Good to make a comparison while still having a fresh DPi in your mind because it was a well-ordered car by the end of development.
“Right now we’re just getting the car running, putting miles on it and that’s where the focus is. Phase two of the learning process will unlock some performance. That’s something I’m looking forward to.”
Cadillac Racing Assistant Program Manager Calvin Parker explained: “It’s important to feel comfortable with the additional development we’ve had in the systems, data collection, tire alignment, and just the durability. We’ve been developing and adding new components as we move toward homologation, and how robust they are.”
“For the drivers, going directly from DPi to V-LMDh on the same track was really helpful to understand where the limits would be. They’ve been on a few tracks now where they can compare the differences in weight and differences in power. It’s remarkable the growth the teams have made from those first two tests. So far in terms of the level of comfort with the cars, the feeling that they can push the systems and their understanding of the car.”