Kent (GM): “We’d Love to Take Our Cadillac DPi to Le Mans”

Photo: Rick Dole/IMSA

Photo: Rick Dole/IMSA

GM Racing Director Mark Kent has revealed interest in a return to the prototype ranks at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, should its new Cadillac DPi-V.R become eligible for the French endurance classic.

The development comes on the heels of a change in philosophy by the ACO, which could allow IMSA’s DPi cars to compete in the LMP1 non-hybrid subclass with only minor modifications.

“We would love to be able to take our Cadillac DPi to Le Mans, in its current state, only if we could use the Cadillac body and Cadillac engine,” Kent told Sportscar365.

“Anything other than that, we really don’t have any interest because we don’t know what we’d get out of it.

“If they were to change the rules to allow that happen, we’d definitely have interest.”

The Cadillac DPi, based on the Dallara P217 LMP2 platform, claimed a convincing debut victory in January’s Rolex 24 at Daytona with Wayne Taylor Racing, which was a driving force behind the brand’s most recent Le Mans effort from 2000-02.

Wayne Taylor, whose last Le Mans start as a driver came in a Cadillac Northstar LMP-02, admitted a return to the race would certainly be on his team’s radar screen,  no matter where a DPi car would be placed.

“If GM and Cadillac want to go, I would love it,” Taylor told Sportscar365. “That car at Le Mans would be so great. I would be very supportive of that.”

The ACO reversed plans of initially allowing DPi cars, equipped with LMP2-spec bodywork, being eligible in the LMP2 class, and has also ruled out creating a standalone category for the IMSA prototypes. 

ACO Sporting Director Vincent Beaumesnil, however, revealed that DPis could be eligible in LMP1 non-hybrid with some modifications to meet the category’s technical regulations, primarily involving a power increase.

It’s understood Cadillac’s 6.2-liter normally aspirated V8 engine  is capable of achieving considerably more power than its current restricted form in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

Taylor feels a DPi would be well-suited at Le Mans, even in the top class, which is currently facing a shortage of entries amid Audi’s withdrawal from LMP1 competition.

“There’s not going to be a lot of those cars next year anyways,” he said. “This would be a great class to become a premier class.”

One of the potential hiccups, however, could come with the level of manufacturer support, as factory teams are currently not allowed in the non-hybrid subclass.

Beaumesnil said a DPi would be eligible, as long as it would be entered by privateer teams.

“Seeing a Dallara chassis equipped with a Cadillac engine is not insurmountable if the car is entered by a privateer team,” he told Endurance-Info.

GM’s Kent, meanwhile, is taking a wait-and-see approach, before committing to a program.

“We would just have to see where it falls,” he said. “If it falls into the top class and we feel, based on what else is in the top class, that it could be competitive, we’d be interested. We’d have to see where it slots out.”

42 Comments

  1. susafan

    March 13, 2017 at 9:35 am

    So much effort, just to get beat by a famous gentleman driver like Matt Rao or Gustavo menezes driving a lower class car?

    • Olly

      March 13, 2017 at 9:47 am

      That Gibson engine had nothing for the Cadillac at Daytona, but with dunlops it’ll be quicker of course. Without the restrictiors, and give the caddy Dunlop tyres then they will no doubt smoke Rao, Menezes etc. With this car and engine they’ll probably be in the P1 privateer class.

      • joel

        March 13, 2017 at 6:06 pm

        good luck against porsche taylor you idiot

        • Olly

          March 15, 2017 at 6:44 pm

          Don’t be rude. Like I said, it should be in P1L. Helps if you read.

        • Andy Flinn

          March 15, 2017 at 11:23 pm

          Joel, it would be GM’s effort – if it has potential to be competitive – supported by Wayne Taylor.

          Instead of flinging insults, try reading the article.

    • Max

      March 13, 2017 at 10:44 am

      This is not ByKolles. Rebellion got a podium last year. If anything they should be capable of doing just as well as Rebellion was running what amounted to an upgraded Oreca 05.

    • Pierce Wiederecht

      March 17, 2017 at 1:13 pm

      Are you calling Gustavo Menezes a gentleman driver? He came into LMP2 a couple years as a wet behind the ears f3 debutant. He was a young up and coming open wheeler. None of of which fits the bill of “gentleman driver”.

  2. jeff

    March 13, 2017 at 9:45 am

    ACO is too stubborn and egotistical to allow an American prototype concept in their class structure. Doubt we’ll see this.

    • Susafan

      March 13, 2017 at 10:01 am

      all they have to do is to change restrictors (fuel flow instead of air) and integrate the FIA mandated electronics, so the race director can control their energy flow

      • Bakkster

        March 13, 2017 at 12:27 pm

        And rework the aero to add the movable rear wing, and probably drop some weight, presuming they want to be competitive (why show up if not?).

        • Susafan

          March 13, 2017 at 4:38 pm

          I never said they would be competitive.
          They would be allowed to show up.

          • Andy Flinn

            March 15, 2017 at 11:28 pm

            Susafan, it would be stupid to show up if the car is not allowed to be competitive. Why do that? To stroke the ACO’s ego?

            Mark Kent already stated the car would have to be competitive for GM to be interested.

        • Andres

          March 14, 2017 at 6:27 pm

          they are in same weight as in FIA WEC trim, the cars are the same weight in both continents, the P2 are 930 kg in FIA spec and IMSA spec, the DPIs are 930 kg, so no reduction in weight

          • Jareth Belanger

            March 14, 2017 at 8:45 pm

            ANDRES you have to compare LMP1 privatter to DPi, as they wont be allowed in LMP2 but might be allowed in LMP1 privatter

    • Doug

      March 13, 2017 at 10:06 am

      IDK, seems like they are slowly inching their way back.

      That being said, there is NO WAY an LMP1 privateer will have any hope of winning the class with pure LMP1 cars as competitors.

    • kv

      March 13, 2017 at 2:48 pm

      The real punchline in this thread is PEUGEOT is holding the proverbial gun to the ACO /FIA HEAD,IF THEY DONT CUT COST !

    • Fabio

      March 13, 2017 at 4:30 pm

      Why should they? American prototypes can win overall anytime, just join LMP1. The ACO have a class structure of their own, and 3 championships running worldwide with that structure. Why bend all that just to allow GM to win, if they don’t want any part in any ACO-badged series?

      • guest

        March 13, 2017 at 4:33 pm

        The ACO wants a global formula…as long as they came up with it and the globe plays by their rules and regulations.

      • joel

        March 13, 2017 at 6:16 pm

        anytime, porsche/audi wont let that happen

      • Jake

        March 14, 2017 at 1:43 pm

        Ha! “Just go to P1” says Fabio!!! If you havent noticed….. no one is going to go to P1 (its more likely to shrink, than expand) as it currently is. It costs an 8 figure budget just to get involved. No one recieves enough of an ROI at the current budget levels. Pugeot wont run at current budgets, and If ACO caters to Pugeot, they likely lose Toyota so its a horse a piece.

        • Andy Flinn

          March 15, 2017 at 11:33 pm

          Jake, if either Porsche or Toyota leave LMP1 it will die – it won’t shrink.

      • Andy Flinn

        March 15, 2017 at 11:31 pm

        Fabio, LMP1s – like the DPis in IMSA – only run in ONE series (WEC).

      • Josh

        June 14, 2017 at 10:13 pm

        Cadilac tried and failed in the past winning LMP1. It’s not an easy feat when you have larger manufacturers from Volkswagen to take on and even Toyota, a Japanese manufacturer, and its French & German resources taking their hybrid systems. This car can win a race, but it will take a miracle to win Le Mans overall. Frankly, they may be good enough with their engines to run LMP1-L and keep up with By-Kolles or slightly better but they are not ready to win overall unless something happens to Porsche or Toyota. Porsche & Toyota are way too smart to let a privateer with an American engine and no hybrid system whoop their butts and unlike Cadilac Porsche & Toyota have money from everywhere to burn on this.

  3. Parker

    March 13, 2017 at 9:50 am

    Hope to see this happen. The car won’t contend for overall but if it can perform like the Prodrive Lola-Astons from 2009-2010 then it will be a nice addition to the field.

    • Susafan

      March 13, 2017 at 9:56 am

      The Lola Aston was the most beautiful LMP EVER and showed how creative the ACO can be and how you properly incorporated styling cues in a race car.

      All i want to see is GM getting kicked ass (in a perfect world by Opel)

      • Parker

        March 13, 2017 at 12:52 pm

        In many ways the Lola Aston Martin is similar in concept to the DPi platform.

      • kv

        March 13, 2017 at 2:35 pm

        WITH PEUGEOT BUYING OPEL /VAUXHALL ,GM could care less about losing LeMans, but just running OUR TECHNOLOGY is the whole political point !

      • JamieR

        March 14, 2017 at 6:53 am

        It was gorgeous, and sounded better than every car I have ever heard, with the possible exception of the Corvettes and the pink Oak racing LMP2’s from a few years ago.

        I really hope this happens.

      • Pierce Wiederecht

        March 17, 2017 at 1:21 pm

        Doesn’t GM own Opel?

        • Pierce Wiederecht

          March 17, 2017 at 1:23 pm

          Nevermind ,just heard about sale agreement.

  4. Rick

    March 13, 2017 at 9:51 am

    I disagree. The small-block GM V8 is a very dependable engine as evidenced by the Corvette for the past decade and this year’s Daytona 24. IMO the caddy would do well in the hands of the Taylor boys.

  5. Mike D

    March 13, 2017 at 12:22 pm

    If we lose more manufacturer interest in LMP1, there might be no choice but to allow them into WEC/LM. It’s pretty clear LMP1 has significant cost issues which dissuade a lot of manufacturers.

    I wonder if an LMP2-Pro & LMP2-Am structure might work (even if you call it something different)? LMP2-Pro would be LMP2 & DPi machines with Pro lineups / LMP2-Am would be LMP2 machines only with Pro-Am lineups.

    Just a thought.

    • Fabio

      March 13, 2017 at 4:27 pm

      But there’s no discussion on WEC. GM doesn’t give a crap about WEC, and they’ve shown it many times. They just want the ACO to allow their car to win overall. Nevermind how much money and effort Porsche and Toyota have given to the WEC.

  6. kv

    March 13, 2017 at 2:29 pm

    LABRE RACING in FRANCE IS A PRIVATER THAT RUNS Corvette C 7R ,AND THE TAYLORS CAN RUN THE CADDY DPI V R, THROUGH THEM !THE DRS rear wing may appeal to GM,who developed the cocept on the CHAPARRAL 2 C,D,and E IN THE 60s,or GM could go with ALLISON TRANSMISION, EVT electric variable transmission as used in CHEVY VOLT AND ELR CADDY COUPE !VOILA LMP 1H ,

  7. Fabio

    March 13, 2017 at 4:25 pm

    Interesting how GM is not even remotely interested in making any sort of commitment to the ACO’s series (not even in GTE, let alone Prototypes), and yet they expect the ACO to give up their top class and millions of euros in investment from 2 OEMs (possibly 3 in the mid-term) to make room for their privateer-run cars that race nowhere other than America to win overall.
    I usually expect this sort of egotistic behavior from GM, but they really outdid themselves this time.

    • M

      March 13, 2017 at 10:52 pm

      They certainly give the ACO a run for their money in the ignorance department

    • Jake

      March 14, 2017 at 1:56 pm

      You are special….. really. Its not about giving a crap about the WEC. And as you said, the FIA/WEC only care about who gives them the most money. In business, (which GM and Corvette are) you dont just throw money away. And regardless what you think, the WEC doesnt repay its entrants with a good enough ROI. So logically, they are absent. With the sale of Opel/Vauxhall to PSA, GM is largely absent from Europe. They sell Corvettes and Camaros in very small numbers, and theres not a WEC or F1 program that is going to change that. With the exception of Brazil, Races in Shanghai, Fuji, Spa, the UK and Germany aren’t doing GM any good.

      Corvette Racing have a smaller budget than most think, and that money is better spent in IMSA, where 100% of their races can be attended or watched by the people buying or likely to buy Corvettes. Its not really that hard to understand, but go on with your conspiracy theory!

    • Andy Flinn

      March 15, 2017 at 11:43 pm

      Fabio, what are you talking about?

      GM has fielded two Corvettes and played by the ACO/FIA/WEC rules at Le Mans for the past 17 years!

      Has Toyota done that?

      Expecting GM to leave IMSA to race in the WEC is just a pipe dream.

      You know GM is based in the US, right?

  8. Bruce Miller

    March 13, 2017 at 8:21 pm

    Are we talking LMP1L or H?

  9. KV

    March 15, 2017 at 7:37 pm

    JIM HALL and Roger PENSKE HAVE BOTH RACED IN EUROPE and know that no matter how much a privateer ,with resources may have it , especially at LEMANS.EVEN Briggs Cunningham couldn’t do it is, impossible to beat amanufacturer !

    • Josh

      June 14, 2017 at 10:26 pm

      Basically, the manufacturer has its own lab, wind tunnels, owns the rights to a race track or two in their home base, a couple hundred engineers, managers, technicians, & mechanics working around the clock. If you have to buy all that stuff as a one shot deal and keep up with the payments based on sponsorship, you have serious problems. With anything the biggest problem is once you build the machine, can you build another one in its place and that’s where privateers get themselves in hot water because they don’t have the direct access and therefore they go through more red tape and essentially you’re placing a price tag on everything. A manufacturer has all that information because they use it for their customer vehicles, so naturally they can transfer knowledge to their racing program and back.

  10. Josh

    June 14, 2017 at 10:34 pm

    If Cadilac wants to convert their DPi to LMP1, then they better make sure it’s essentially a bazooka, because that’s what they will need. I’m sure the ACO will give them breathing room for competition.

    Dallara has spent the last year giving everyone rumours about LMP1, blowing smoke left & right, maybe for once, something’s finally sticking depending on the ACO’s evaluation of the Cadilac 6.2 L engine block.

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