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Cadillac Announces LMDh Program with AXR, Ganassi

GM brand Cadillac enters LMDh with 2023 program covering entries in both IMSA and WEC…

Image: Cadillac

Cadillac has announced that it will enter the LMDh prototype formula in 2023 with a Dallara-based car that will be run by Action Express Racing and Chip Ganassi Racing.

The General Motors brand declared on Tuesday that it will maintain its presence in top-level sports car racing with the development of a GM-engined, spec-hybrid LMDh in partnership with Dallara, which is one of the four licensed base chassis constructors.

The two organizations teamed up in 2017 to build the double IMSA championship-winning Cadillac DPi-V.R for the North American sanctioning body’s current DPi regulations, using the Dallara P217 LMP2 car as a frame.

Cadillac’s official commitment after months of speculation brings a fifth manufacturer into LMDh following prior announcements from Acura, Audi, Porsche and BMW.

The company has said that it plans to enter the car in both the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and the FIA World Endurance Championship – including the 24 Hours of Le Mans – from 2023.

It will utilize two of its DPi teams, Action Express and Ganassi, to run those programs and assist with the development but has not said which outfit will race in each series.

The car’s debut is projected for the 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona, which opens the IMSA season.

“We are excited to compete at the top level of international motorsport in the LMDh class beginning in 2023,” commented Rory Harvey, Cadillac Global Vice President.

“Like motorsport, Cadillac is making the transition into a future driven by alternative propulsion.

“The hybrid nature of the LMDh rules will help us to bridge our technology transfer to our all-electric future.

“We are excited to carry forward our success and continue to transfer our learnings and technology from the track to our production vehicles.

“We have had great success with the championship-winning Cadillac DPi-V.R and look forward to building on that record into the future with the next generation Cadillac LMDh.”

Former Ford GT program operator Chip Ganassi Racing started its sports car racing affiliation with Cadillac this year, running one DPi car in the full WeatherTech Championship season for Renger van der Zande and ex-Formula One driver Kevin Magnussen.

“We are looking forward to the new international prototype formula and running the Cadillac LMDh,” said team boss Chip Ganassi.

“We have had a great relationship across three different racing disciplines with GM and we are looking forward to developing the car with Cadillac and Dallara over the next year-and-a-half.”

Action Express earned the second of Cadillac’s two IMSA prototype titles to date with its DPi car in 2018. It has also taken victories at the Rolex 24, the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring and Motul Petit Le Mans running Cadillac/Dallara machinery.

AXR is currently active in DPi with a single full-season car driven by Pipo Derani and Felipe Nasr and also fields an additional vehicle at the Michelin Endurance Cup rounds.

“The IMSA LMDh category is looking to be very competitive with multiple manufacturers,” said team manager Gary Nelson.

“We’ve had a lot of success running the Cadillac DPi-V.R as one of the original teams since 2017 and we are looking forward to being a part of the next chapter of Cadillac Racing.”

Cadillac’s confirmation of an LMDh program adds further momentum to the burgeoning future top class of endurance racing.

In addition to the four other LMDh brands, Cadillac is set to compete against the likes of Peugeot, Toyota, Ferrari and Glickenhaus which have all committed to building cars for the Le Mans Hypercar regulations.

LMDh and LMH cars will be eligible to compete in both IMSA and the WEC from 2023, as part of the convergence agreement between IMSA and WEC organizer the ACO.

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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