Connect with us

WeatherTech Championship

Porsche, Cadillac Bringing IMSA Efforts to Le Mans

Porsche, Cadillac to run three-car factory efforts at Le Mans utilizing IMSA programs…

Photo: Juergen Tap/Porsche

Porsche and Cadillac have called on their IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship programs to bolster their factory 24 Hours of Le Mans efforts at three cars each.

Contributing to an expanded 16-car Hypercar class grid, one extra factory-run Porsche 963 will join Porsche Penske Motorsport’s two-car FIA World Endurance Championship effort and the customer vehicle operated by Hertz Team JOTA.

Two additional LMDh prototypes from Cadillac — one from Chip Ganassi Racing and the other from Action Express Racing — add to the former’s full-season WEC entry.

The convergence of prototype regulations between WEC organizer the ACO and IMSA enables manufacturers like Porsche and Cadillac to run the same car in both series.

Porsche’s additional works entry will compete as No. 75 to recognize the 75th anniversary of the company’s sports car racing operations. Felipe Nasr’s co-drivers, who will also come from Porsche’s WeatherTech Championship GTP lineup, are yet to be confirmed.

“For us, it’s all about maximizing our chances of scoring our 20th overall victory at Le Mans on the 75th anniversary of the Porsche brand,” explained Porsche Motorsport vice president Thomas Laudenbach.

“That’s why we’re fielding a third car. The history of the race has shown that the additional cars deployed are often the factor that ultimately tips the scales.

“We don’t have to look far back in Porsche Motorsport’s history to see evidence of this: in 2015, the third Porsche 919 Hybrid handed us victory at Le Mans.”

Despite the aim to have more chances of winning, Porsche’s factory LMDh director Urs Kuratle acknowledged that the extra factory car will present “enormous challenges”.

“We have to put together an additional crew and ship one of the IMSA cars to France and back again,” he said.

“On top of that, due to ongoing supply bottlenecks for certain assemblies, the parts supply might not be perfect.

“We want to do the best we can and shine in the 75th year of the Porsche brand and at the 100th anniversary of 24 Hours of Le Mans.”

Cadillac is bolstering its Le Mans effort with the addition of the No. 3 Cadillac V-Series.R for Renger van der Zande, Sebastien Bourdais and Scott Dixon

That car usually competes as the No. 01 in the WeatherTech Championship GTP class and finished third in last month’s Rolex 24 at Daytona.

Action Express is also crossing the Atlantic to compete at Le Mans after it received one of IMSA’s automatic invitations to the event in France.

Like CGR, the five-time WeatherTech teams’ champion will reprise its Daytona lineup of Alexander Sims, Pipo Derani and Jack Aitken for its Le Mans debut.

By bringing the IMSA cars over to Le Mans, Cadillac is mirroring its three-car approach to Daytona where the full-season WEC crew of Earl Bamber, Richard Westbrook and Alex Lynn joined the WeatherTech Championship entries from CGR and AXR.

Porsche only ran its two full-season WeatherTech Championship machines at the Rolex 24.

“We are thrilled to return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans with the full Cadillac Racing team,” said Global Vice President of Cadillac Rory Harvey.

“Over the last 20 years, Cadillac Racing has built a legacy of winning on the track and we feel very privileged to return to Le Mans during this exciting new electrified era in racing.”

Cadillac Changes LMDh Car Name

In addition to announcing its three-car Le Mans program, the General Motors brand has changed the name of its Dallara-based prototype to Cadillac V-Series.R.

It was previously called the Cadillac V-LMDh and raced as such at Daytona, but will be known as the V-Series.R in all championships with immediate effect.

In a statement provided to Sportscar365, the manufacturer confirmed: “In order to represent Cadillac competing in multiple series, we have revised the name of the racecar to Cadillac V-Series.R to align with our V-Series performance vehicle sub-brand.”

The car was initially teased as the Cadillac Project GTP last February before the word ‘Hypercar’ was added to the end for a design presentation at last year’s Le Mans.

The Cadillac V-LMDh name was then introduced later in the summer during track testing and remained active until shortly after the Rolex 24.

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.

Click to comment

More in WeatherTech Championship