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Cadillac unwraps Project GTP Hypercar

V8-powered prototype marks US brand’s return to Le Mans 24 Hour

10 Jun 2022

CADILLAC has unveiled its Project GTP Hypercar, which the US brand says previews its third-generation prototype race car that will contest the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and FIA World Endurance Championship.


Cadillac’s participation in the 24 Hours of Le Mans will mark the first time the brand has competed in the event since 2002.


“Cadillac will be competing again on the world racing stage, and we are thrilled to return to Le Mans after 20 years,” said Cadillac’s global vice president Roy Harvey.


“By competing in both the 2023 IMSA and WEC championships, Cadillac Racing has the opportunity to demonstrate its capability, craftsmanship and technology.”


Developed by Cadillac Design, Cadillac Racing and Dallara, the Project GTP Hypercar incorporates what the brand says are key design characteristics familiar to the brand’s heritage, including vertical lighting sets and floating blades.


The Project GTP Hypercar’s dramatic styling also previews what is to come from the brand’s production models – the car’s purposeful lines, sharp edges and extensive carbon-fibre panelling are understood to be as functional as they are aesthetically pleasing. However, Cadillac said some of the materials on the prototype (essentially a show car) may change when the race-going version hits the test track later this month.


“The Project GTP Hypercar is a unique convergence of form and function and showcases Cadillac’s future performance aesthetics,” said Cadillac lead exterior creative designer Chris Mikalauskas.


“We have plenty more to come, from the upcoming race car to amazing production vehicles,” Mr Mikalaukas added.


Cadillac’s race car will be powered by a “brand new” 5.5-litre V8, but that’s about all that’s known so far – the brand has been tight-lipped on the model’s specifications. GoAuto understands the race car’s powerplant is likely to be based on the LT6.R engine found in the Corvette C8.R and will drive the rear wheels via a hybridised transaxle.


LMDh (Le Mans Daytona h) regulations state that vehicles are allowed a maximum of 470kW to be drawn from the combustion engine with a standardised Bosch-sourced electric motor providing a further 50kW. Total system output is limited to 500kW while total (kerb) weight is set at 1030kg.


Speaking to Road & Track, GM sports car racing program manager Laura Wontrop-Klauser said the GTP’s engine was “brand new” and the “best possible package”.


“We wanted to make sure that we brought forth the best possible solution from an engine package to make sure that we were competitive, and we had the right pairing with the chassis versus trying to make something that we already had work,” she said.


“When you have such an opportunity like this and you look at the competition that’s coming, you want to bring the best package possible.”


In a statement, Ms Wontrop-Klauser said the GTP would be ready to take part in “the world’s toughest race”. Track testing of the race car will commence this month, ahead of its competition debut at the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January next year.


“Competing for the overall win at Le Mans with an iconic American brand like Cadillac is an honour,” she said.


“The entire team is excited to continue building Cadillac’s racing legacy by competing against the very best internationally and in the world’s toughest race.”


Several brands will return in their official capacities at the 2023 24 Hours of Le Mans, which looks set to mark something of a renaissance for the event.


Acura, Audi, BMW, Cadillac and Porsche are confirmed for next year’s race, with Alpine and Lamborghini to follow in 2024. Peugeot and Ferrari are also working on entries in the Le Mans Hypercar category.


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