Chip Ganassi Racing Driver Earl Bamber Is the First to Get Behind the Wheel of the New Prototype
By Mark Robinson
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Cadillac Racing is the latest IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship manufacturer to put its LMDh prototype on track, with the eagerly awaited test taking place at an undisclosed circuit.
Chip Ganassi Racing driver Earl Bamber turned laps in the car that features an all-new Cadillac 5.5-liter, dual-overhead cam V-8 engine developed by GM‘s Performance and Racing propulsion team and paired to the LMDh common hybrid system. Together with the spec energy recovery system, the 680-horsepower race car will serve as Cadillac‘s first hybrid prototype.
Cadillac is among at least four manufacturers — along with Acura, BMW and Porsche — set to compete in the WeatherTech Championship‘s new top-tier prototype class, Grand Touring Prototype (GTP), beginning in 2023. Lamborghini is scheduled to join in 2024. Each of the manufacturers is diligently working on their own testing programs ahead of series-mandated testing at the completion of the 2022 season.
“It‘s exciting to see the hard work and ingenuity of the whole team pay off,” said Kalvin Parker, Cadillac Racing assistant program manager. “The 2023 season promises to be one of the most competitive ever, so we‘re looking forward to developing the race car with further testing on track, driver feedback and in the wind tunnel.”
It may be early in the process, but Bamber said he was already impressed. The New Zealander had the privilege to be the first to get behind the wheel to shake down the race car.
“This was a monumental event thanks to a complete group effort between Cadillac, Chip Ganassi Racing and Dallara,” said Bamber, co-driver with Alex Lynn of the No. 02 Cadillac Accessories Cadillac DPi-V.R this season in IMSA competition. “It was an exhilarating feeling to jump in the car for the first time and get a sense of what the future will look like. So much work has gone into the 2023 race car, and I can‘t wait to see it take flight next season.”
Co-developed by Cadillac Design, Cadillac Racing and chassis constructor Dallara, the LMDh features elements of the Cadillac brand‘s heritage such as vertical lighting and floating blades that preview Cadillac‘s future portfolio. Chip Ganassi Racing and Action Express Racing, two Cadillac teams in the current Daytona Prototype international (DPi) class, are continuing their partnership with the marque entering GTP competition.
Laura Wontrop Klauser, sports car racing program manager for General Motors, said much work lies ahead in development but the Cadillac team is ready for the challenge.
“The first laps are the start of an aggressive testing schedule ahead of next year,” Wontrop Klauser said. “Our team is dedicated to continuing Cadillac Racing‘s rich heritage of winning on the track.”