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.”