Cadillac Racing, which took back-to-back victories this past weekend at Belle Isle, is looking to expand beyond the United States.
“We’d like to be able to race in China; we’d like to be able to race in eastern Europe, and there are a number of series that allow you to do that,” James Vurpillat, global marketing manager for Cadillac, told the Detroti Free Press over the weekend.
Cadillac Racing, now in the midst of its second year of SCCA Pro Racing World Challenge, was involved in motorsports activities leading up to GM’s 2009 bankruptcy, but the reorganization resulted in cutting back on all activities. Fortunately, well-documented racing enthusiast and President of GM North America Mark Reuss wanted to get the brand out on the racing circuit as quickly as possible, since — motorsports offer up an excellent method of identifying with enthusiasts while proving to fans of competing makes and models that Cadillac is among the best.
So after nine months of prep time, Cadillac returned to racing in 2011 and entered into the SCCA World Challenge. One of the requirements of the event is that competing vehicles have 80 percent of commonality to production cars, which is in stark contrast to NASCAR. The “80 percent rule” prompted Cadillac to make the clear choice of using the CTS-V Coupe as the basis for its racing program, in which it competes with the likes of Porsche, Nissan, and Volvo.
Keeping race vehicles similar to production models is important to Cadillac since it helps communicate to consumers that the performance of a Cadillac race car on the track will carry over to the street. So as it explores the expansion of its racing efforts, Cadillac will review racing leagues that are similar to the World Challenge.
“As we go on to expand the brand, the cornerstone of Cadillac will be performance … so as we go into those markets, we will look for avenues to show that performance and show those credentials,” said Vurpillat.
The GM Authority Take
Given that Cadillac is in the early stages of sales success (read: low sales and market share) in China and in Europe, we can unquestionably see The Wreath and Crest brand bringing its racing efforts to those markets just for the sake of increasing brand and product interest. In fact, the thought of watching a Caddy demolish BMW, Audi, and Mercedes on a challenging European track makes us all giddy. But we wonder if the brand will wait for the ATS-V until expanding its race efforts outside of the U.S.