Win or lose, Cadillac GTP Hypercar will be a highlight of Le Mans
The 2022 24 Hours of Le Mans happens this weekend, but Cadillac has us more interested in the 2023 event. This week, it previewed the Project GTP Hypercar it will be running in next year's FIA World Endurance Championship series, and it's an absolute stunner. With sharp, dramatic lights contrasting starkly with a bespoke all-black tuxedo of lustrous paint, the V8-hybrid Hypercar turns heads in a way that modern race cars rarely do.
The Project GTP Hypercar debuts as Cadillac's third-generation prototype race car, a successor to the DPi-V.R that won last year's IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship. The prototype is being developed to compete in the Grand Touring Prototype category, the all-new hybrid-platform IMSA class that replaces the DPi for the 2023 season.
Thanks to a collaborative regulations alignment between the IMSA, Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) and FIA, Le Mans Daytona hybrid (LMDh) race cars like the Project GTP will be eligible to run both IMSA and ACO series and compete for overall victories in the IMSA GTP and WEC Hypercar classes. For Cadillac, that will mean a return to Le Mans after a 21-year absence, timed nicely with the 100th running of the famed race. Previously, regulation variations between the IMSA and ACO prevented cars from competing in both series.
As with the 2016 DPi-V.R preview, the debut Project GTP Hypercar benefits from the omission of the usual loud, bright racing livery, replaced by the type of black paint that always looks on trend. But the car's allure goes far beyond a flattering paint job. The smoothed-out design gives the race car the look of a street-legal hypercar that should be on display in an exotic car showroom rather than on a racetrack.
The design team has moved away from the large, isolated fenders and fuselage-like nose of the DPi-V.R., massaging those elements into a much smoother, more cohesive hood design. The flat, vented rear panels on the front fenders bring us back to race car territory, but the smooth, rounded side volumes quickly whisk us away once again. Even the huge rear wing is carefully integrated into the greater design, its supports extending naturally upward from the taillight blades. The long slope of the cockpit roof and transparent rear section of the central wing further enhance the look.
Manufacturers will be carefully working production DNA into their GTP cars, and Cadillac does so with the narrow vertical headlights and taillights, floating blade elements and the gentle crease down the center of the hood. The car will be powered by a new 5.5-L DOHC V8 engine paired with the common hybrid system.
"The Project GTP Hypercar is a unique convergence of form and function and showcases Cadillac’s future performance aesthetic," said Chris Mikalauskas, Cadillac's lead exterior creative designer. "We have plenty more to come, from the upcoming race car to amazing production vehicles."
The Project GTP is being developed by Cadillac Design, Cadillac Racing and race car builder Dallara. Testing will begin over the summer, and the car will make its debut at the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January 2023. Acura, BMW, Lamborghini and Porsche have also confirmed participation in the new racing class.