14 Years Later, Cadillac Returns to the Endurance Track

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
14 years later cadillac returns to the endurance track

Cadillac Racing has dutifully fielded entries in the Pirelli World Challenge since 2005, but the automaker’s motorsports division will now return to endurance racing after a 14-year hiatus.

The automaker revealed its 2017 Cadillac DPi-V.R, designed to hit the track in January as an entry in the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Series Prototype (P) class. Its maiden voyage? The 24 Hours of Daytona — erm, “Rolex 24 At Daytona.”

All of this, of course, is designed to get you into a new CTS.

Powering Cadillac’s return to prototype endurance racing is an Earnhardt Childress Racing Engines naturally aspirated 6.2-liter V8. While it shares its displacement with the supercharged unit found in the CTS-V, that’s where the similarities end. Horsepower doesn’t stray too far, though — at 600 hp, it undercuts the production motor by 40 hp.

The massively modified engine sends power to the rear wheels through an X-TRAC paddle-shift sequential transmission. Taking turns behind the wheel at the season opener are teams from Wayne Taylor Racing and Action Express Racing.

In crafting the DPi-V.R, Cadillac tapped chassis builder Dallara and turned its own design and sculpting team loose on the body. (The designers made sure to keep signature styling cues visible to you, the customer.)

Yes, the automaker’s return to the series will come emblazoned with reminders that Cadillac. Builds. Some. Fast. Cars.

“Cadillac’s V-Performance production models — the ATS-V and CTS-V — are transforming our brand’s product substance, earning a place among the world’s elite high performance marques,” brand president Johan de Nysschen said in a statement. “The Cadillac DPi-V.R further strengthens our V-Performance portfolio, placing Cadillac into the highest series of sports car racing in North America.”

The Project pinnacle of racing, one might say. It’s not surprising that Cadillac wants to boost the visibility of its V cars — in fact, the brand’s motivation can clearly be seen here and here.

[Image: General Motors]

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  • Tjh8402 Tjh8402 on Dec 02, 2016

    Both of these teams have good long history with GM prototype racing, having successfully campaigned the Corvette DP's for years now. This is essentially that car's replacement rebranded as a Cadillac. I would imagine this engine is a development of either that DP engine (which was a 6.0 L if I recall), or the 5.5L in the GTLM C7R Corvettes. This effort could've just as easily been branded a Chevrolet or Corvette like the previous prototype, but I'm guessing GM decided that with Corvette being so well established in the GT class, they would share the endurance racing glory and wealth around a bit with other brands. My guess is that it all comes out of the same GM Racing budget, so this car was always going to happen, the only question being what brand it would be. I also wonder if this was labeled a Cadillac in part because they were anticipating more premium brands to compete against. There were lots of strong rumors of Mercedes, Bentley, Lexus. and/or Audi interest in the new class but none of those efforts have panned out for now. Instead, Cadillac is facing off against Mazda and Nissan for the time being (although Nissan could always choose to rebrand as Infiniti). The Cadillac design cues are there because that's part of the design philosophy of the DPi class. Look at the Mazda car and you'll see the Kodo design language there. The ACO LMP2 class rules, which served as the starting point for this class, were designed with generic bodywork and a spec engine, so no connection to any car manufacturer. In the WEC, that's what the LMP1s are for, with LMP2 being the pro-am class. In IMSA, on the other hand, there is no LMP1, so this is the flagship prototype class with LMPC being the pro-am. In modifying the ACO class for its own series, IMSA and its participating automakers wanted freedom to design their own bodywork to help bring some visual variety to the grid, make the cars more recognizable to viewers, and give the manufacturers opportunities to experiment with the aero and other elements of the car. Some quick comparative analysis has already emerged of the Cadillac vs the Mazda, with differences in philosophy already showing. This desire for recognizable branding is nothing new in prototype racing, and it only makes sense that, when winning the Rolex 24 or 12 Hours of Sebring, you want people to recognize your car.

  • Fred Fred on Dec 03, 2016

    If you are not going to show us new technology then prototype racing is just advertising. And that may not work out as beating Porsche is unlikely.

  • Chris P Bacon I had a chance to drive 2 Accords back to back as rentals. The first was a base ICE LX. I was underwhelmed. The next was a Sport Hybrid. Like night and day. So much so that I ventured on to the grounds of my local dealer. Was looking for a Sport or Sport-L. Autotrader showed nothing within 250 miles. Dealer confirmed. Told me I'd have to "get on the list" for a delivery, and there was a non-negotiable $3k "market adjustment". I guess I'll have to hope to see one on the Emerald Aisle again.
  • DungBeetle62 I just this past weekend rented one of these for 5 days in SoCal and with $5.29 the best I could find for gas, this ride's wonderful combination of comfort and thrift was welcome indeed. My biggest real beef is with the entire Accord product line - with that angle of backlight, not having this as a 5-door hatch seems a real waste of space.
  • RICHARD I bought my wife the exact car in the picture 3 weeks ago. Acceleration is average for the class. Smoothness of the powertrain, competent ride dynamics, quietness, and comfort are definitely pluses. The styling is restrained for sure, but we weren't looking for a shouty car that doesn't deliver on the design statement. She drives about 8,000 miles per year, mostly around town. At the current rate, we expect to buy about 16 gallons of gas per month. This really is a car that appears to do everything well rather than excelling at a few things to the detriment of others.
  • Ajla "2010-2019 Borrego"The Borrego only had model years 2009 - 2011 in the United States. The Borrego/Mohave did exist in international markets beyond them but the NHTSA of the United States would not be handling a recall on those. It's annoying that apparently the manufacturer, the federal regulator, and automotive press didn't notice this.
  • SilverCoupe The last Accord I test drove was in 1978, but I ended up buying a VW Scirocco instead. The Accords have put on quite a bit of weight since, then, but then again, so have I!