Cadillac seeks to imbue its DPi-V.R race car with its own unique style

Cadillac will shift its racing efforts into high gear next year when it enters the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in the top Prototype class. This marks Cadillac’s return to endurance racing after an ill-fated attempt at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2002.

The Cadillac race car wears the unwieldy name “DPi-V.R,” and is one of a new breed of DPi-class cars that will launch for the 2017 season. DPi merges two old classes from the IMSA series, and is meant to provide some of the variety and performance of the LMP1 cars that compete at Le Mans, but at a lower cost.

That lower cost is achieved by requiring manufacturers and teams to choose from four basic chassis, although they are allowed to pick powertrains and make significant body modifications. As with Mazda and its recently unveiled RT24-P, Cadillac wanted to make a design statement with its car, without compromising performance. So while the DPi-V.R is based on a Dallara chassis, it includes some Cadillac styling features like vertical lighting elements and a shape that is long and low.

The powertrain also has some ties to Cadillac production models. A 6.2-liter V8 shares some basic architecture with the LT4 V8 used in the CTS-V (although that engine is borrowed from the Chevy Corvette Z06). However, series rules mean the racing engine isn’t supercharged, and it produces 600 horsepower, not the 640 hp of the CTS-V engine. Power is sent to the rear wheels through a sequential gearbox.

In one more attempt to tie the race car to its road cars, Cadillac equipped the DPi-VR with the Rear Camera Mirror that debuted on the CT6 sedan. It can act as a conventional mirror, or show a video feed from a rear-mounted camera. This removes visual obstructions like pillars or, in the case of the DPi-VR, the engine compartment. Since the car is mid-engined, the driver doesn’t exactly have an expansive rearward view.

The Cadillac DPi-VR will debut at the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January, in the hands of Wayne Taylor Racing and Action Express Racing. The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship is the highest-level endurance racing series in North America, although it is not quite as prestigious as its Europe-based counterpart, the FIA World Endurance Championship.

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