General Motors’ newly appointed sports car racing program manager, Laura Wontrop Klauser, says the automaker’s Cadillac and Chevy brands are intrigued by the Le Mans Daytona Hybrid (LMDh) class that is set to be adopted by IMSA and the Automobile Club d’Louest starting in 2022.
Speaking to Autosport, Wontrop Klauser said the automaker has already taken an in-depth look at the LMDh ruleset and is now deciding whether or not it makes sense to enter its Cadillac or Chevy brands in the new hybrid prototype category.
“LMDh has caught our attention,” she said. “We’ve taken a good look at the rules, and what we’re doing now is looking through where we want to place ourselves in sportscar racing in its entirety.”
Wontrop Klauser previously ran the Cadillac DPi-V.R program before being moved to an all-encompassing sports car racing role that has put her in charge of both Cadillac Racing and Corvette Racing. She now has the difficult decision of deciding whether to continue with the Cadillac brand in prototype racing, leave IMSA’s top-level category, or enter the Corvette brand in LMDh in the wake of the GTLM category’s downfall.
“It’s a package deal in our mind, where in the past it was a little bit separated – Corvette Racing was its own thing in GTLM, Cadillac was its own thing in Prototypes,” Wontrop Klauser said.
“Now it’s a different story, and LMDh has been very much part of the evaluation. Does it make sense to be there? What brand does it make sense to run?”
GM could also stick with its current strategy of continuing with Cadillac in prototypes and Corvette in GT cars. This would require developing a new LMDh-spec Cadillac and a new GT3-spec Corvette, however, which could be a costly endeavor with potentially limited returns.
“The good news is that IMSA’s GTD Pro is also going to allow a bit of factory backing going forward,” she explained. “So all of these things we’ve looked at to try and figure out where we want to be.”
The hybrid LMDh rules make sense for both the Chevy and Cadillac brands, which are both beginning to branch out more into electrification. All LMDh cars will be based on an existing LMP2 chassis and will feature a 630 horsepower internal combustion engine and a 50 kW spec electric motor supplied by Bosch. The combined system output of the hybrid prototypes would be around 670 horsepower.
Porsche, Audi and Acura have already committed to the future LMDh regulations, with other brands expected to sign on eventually as well. Whether or not one of those brands will be Chevy or Cadillac should be clear soon enough.