Cadillac will contest a full season in the FIA World Endurance Championship starting in 2023 and the luxury brand is hopeful its participation in the global series will help it increase its brand awareness in markets like Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
The American luxury brand confirmed its involvement in the new LMDh prototype category earlier this year, announcing plans to undertake a dual IMSA WeatherTech Championship and FIA WEC campaign with the help of Action Express Racing and Chip Ganassi Racing. While Cadillac Racing has maintained a presence in the top-level DPi category in the IMSA series since 2017, the brand has not raced in the FIA WEC since the ill-fated Northstar LMP program was ended in the early 2000s.
Cadillac is now looking to expand globally with new models like the XT4 crossover, along with future EVs like the Lyriq, convincing General Motors brass that 2023 was the perfect time to re-enter the worldwide endurance series, GM sportscar racing program manager Laura Wontrop Klauser told Sportscar365 in a recent interview.
“We want to really get as much exposure out of the program as possible so we’re taking the opportunity to have a full WEC season program as well as the full IMSA season,” Wontrop Klauser said. “Cadillac is trying to grow its markets and I think WEC will be a very interesting way to showcase the car in a way we’ve never been able to do.”
This year’s FIA WEC calendar included visits to Belgium Portugal, Italy, France and Bahrain. The series also cancelled rounds in the United States and Japan due to COVID-19, however both of these races are expected to return next year. Wontrop Klauser sees value in every market the FIA WEC visits, although she acknowledged the automaker has a limited presence in Japan at the moment.
“The biggest markets for Cadillac are the U.S. and China, which is pretty true for a lot of brands, I think,” she said. “We have the XT4 that’s currently in Europe and I believe there’s plans for growth there.”
“Any of the European races will make sense,” Wontrop Klauser added. “I don’t know what our situation is with Japan but our Escalade is very popular in the Middle East. So I think Bahrain is a good one.”
Like the current Cadillac DPi.VR, the new Cadillac LMDh prototype will utilize a spec chassis provided by Italian manufacturer Dallara. The LMDh rules also require the use of a spec hybrid system, however manufacturers are free to choose any kind of internal combustion engine they please. More information on the Cadillac LMDh race car should come to light as its competition debut in 2023 approaches.