After a 14-year hiatus, Cadillac announced it will return to endurance racing and unveiled its entry, the 2017 Cadillac DPi-V.R. This unexpected return comes as a shock and possible boon for the company as other endurance racing names like Audi have left, potentially giving Cadillac a fighting chance in their return.
The DPi-V.R was constructed in conjunction with chassis builder Dallara, the company that manufactures IndyCar, Formula E, GP2, GP3, and many of the Daytona Prototype racecars. The chassis, Dallara’s 2017 P2 spec unit, looks to be heavily influenced on Audi and Porsche’s outgoing prototype monocoques, with similar front and rear fascias, and similar intakes throughout.
When developing the DPi-V.R, Cadillac went with a race-prepped, normally aspirated V-8 built by ECR Engines, the same company that preps Chevrolet’s NASCAR, XFINITY Series, Camping World Truck, and IMSA Corvette engines.
The engine itself isn’t derived from any of the company’s current V-lineup; rather, it’s built off similar 6.2-liter V-8 architecture from the last generation CTS-V and fifth generation Escalade. In this guise, the engine produces 600 horsepower with the restrictor plate mandated by IMSA regulations. However, unlike the last generation CTS-V, the DPi-V.R’s V-8 is able to rev to 8,000 rpm.
It’s worth noting that last year, when Cadillac introduced its new ATS-V.R, the company was firm in its belief that the new 3.6-liter twin-turbocharged motor was the future of the company’s racing efforts, making it interesting that it switched back to a small-block V-8.
The DPi-V.R uses an X-TRAC paddle shift transmission to send its 600 horsepower to the rear wheels. It’s a similar unit to the transmission used in Cadillac and Chevy’s other racecars, the ATS-V.R and C7.R.
Speaking about the DPi-V.R, Cadillac’s president, Johan de Nysschen said, “Cadillac is proud to return to the pinnacle of prototype racing in North America after a 14-year absence. Cadillac’s V-Performance production models — the ATS-V and CTS-V — are transforming our brand’s product substance and earning a place among the world’s elite high performance marques. The Cadillac DPi-V.R further strengthens our V-Performance portfolio, placing Cadillac into the highest series of sports car racing in North America.”
As the DPi-V.R is only planned for racing in North America, the company has not committed to returning to world endurance racing such as the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Between 2000-2002, Cadillac fielded entries in the historic race, but only managed to achieve a best overall finish of 9th and that was with the help from the man who helped design Mazda’s Le Mans winning 787b, Nigel Stroud. However, the name of Cadillac’s new racecar, DPi, stands for Daytona Prototype International, which could hint at a possible future racing across the globe.
Two teams will field the DPi-V.R in the 2017 IMSA season, Wayne Taylor Racing and Action Express Racing. The car will debut January 28-29 during the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season opener at the Rolex 24 Hour at Daytona.