The Cadillac DPi-V.R race car was introduced for the 2017 IMSA season has gone largely unchanged since. Despite this, the prototype and its General Motors-sourced Small Block V8 engine continue to win races for the American luxury brand.
Prototype racing seems like a bit of a mismatch for a brand like Cadillac, which has historically been associated with soft, floaty luxury sedans rather than stiffly sprung performance cars. But with rival brands like BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi also competing in motorsports, Cadillac wants “to be there too,” Cadillac Racing program manager Laura Klausner told The New York Times in a recent interview. Such programs are particularly important for promoting its performance products, as well, such as the new Cadillac CT5-V and CT4-V.
The Cadillac DPi-V.R program can be traced back all the way to the introduction of the V-Series brand in 2000. GM looked to kickstart the performance sub-brand with the ambitious Cadillac Northstar LMP program, but the prototype racer proved problematic and GM pulled the plug after just two seasons. Cadillac Racing would return for the 2004 season, however, when it launched the CTS-V racing program in the SCCA World Challenge. The touring car program was much more successful than the Northstar protoype, with the two generations of CTS-V.R powering the team to multiple championships in SCCA World Challenge competition between 2004 and 2014.
“When we introduced V-Series in 2000, we wanted to make a connection and show that it could succeed on the track,” Klausner explained to NYT.
The successor the CTS-V.R, the ATS-V.R, was also successful in SCCA competition, but was short-lived compared to the CTS-V.R, lasting just two full seasons before being axed to make way for the DPI-V.R
While the Cadillac DPi-V.R has almost nothing in common with any Cadillac road car, there are some slight similarities. The Small Block V8 engine, for example, uses a cylinder block, head casting and head gaskets with Cadillac part numbers. The engine originally measured in at 6.2-liters (376 cu. in.) of displacement, which is the same size of engine that vehicles like the third-generation Cadillac CTS-V and Cadillac Escalade use. Cadillac reduced the engine size to 5.5-liters for the 2018 IMSA season in search of more drivability, however, so it no longer shares an engine displacement with any Cadillac road vehicles.
The DPi’s 600 horsepower~ Small Block V8 isn’t built by Cadillac, either. While it is a GM design and uses GM parts, the engines are actually bolted together by Earnhardt-Childress Racing (ECR) in Welcome, North Carolina. ECR Engines is an offshoot of the well known, Richard Childress-run NASCAR organization, which applies lessons learned in its Cup Series endeavors to other race engine programs.
Most recently, the Small Block V8 powered the Cadillac DPi-V.R to a win at the Rolex 24 at Daytona – the second year in a row the car took victory in the grueling endurance event. The IMSA season has been delayed due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, however, so it’s not clear when we may see the Cadillac DPiV.R back on track this year. Luckily the current IMSA current ruleset is also set to carry over into 2021, so Cadillac Racing will have at least one more year to prove what its Small Block-powered DPI-V.R can do.
Source: The New York Times