Cadillac at Detroit: Returning home on a roll

Cadillac Racing has finished first or second in all four IMSA GTP races

DETROIT (May 28, 2024) – History 101: A Cadillac DPi won four of the five races and placed second in the other at Detroit (Belle Isle) since joining IMSA prototype competition in 2017. There was no race in 2020 because of the pandemic and no IMSA prototype class race in 2023 in the city.

History 102: Renger van der Zande co-drove to victory in 2022 and 2021 with Cadillac Racing at Belle Isle after starting from the pole position.

History 103: The Cadillac Motor Car Co. was named after French explorer Antoine Laumet de La Mothe, sieur de Cadillac, who founded Detroit in 1701.

Cadillac in four IMSA GTP races: 5
First- or scond-place finishes 4
Earned poles 3
Front-row qualifying sweeps 2
Track-record qualifying lap times 1

Recent history: Cadillac is the lone Grand Touring Prototype manufacturer to finish first or second in all four IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship races this season, has earned the pole in every race, including a front row sweep in three events, and has recorded the fastest race lap three times.

Cadillac Racing’s No. 01 Cadillac V-Series.R and No. 31 Whelen Cadillac V-Series.R head into their home race on a roll.

Now for something new: The IMSA hybrid GTP cars will compete on the 1.654-mile, nine-turn street circuit in the shadow of the Renaissance Center instead of the 2.3-mile street circuit on nearby Belle Isle.

The circuit, comprised chiefly of 90-degree turns with a short frontstretch, should highlight the quickness, agility and cornering power of the Cadillac V-Series.R.

“It’s a new track for everybody so it’s a level playing field and that’s quite exciting,” Aitken said. “I’ve had a couple of new tracks in the past few weeks with Long Beach and Laguna Seca, both of which I think I got up to speed quickly. Going to somewhere that is new for everybody will swing favor in our direction.”

The Cadillac GTP entries will pit on driver’s right for their scheduled lone service and driver change on the split pit lane.

The 100-minute Chevrolet Detroit Sports Car Classic on Saturday, June 1, marks the second short race on the IMSA calendar. The No. 01 Cadillac V-Series.R driven by Sebastien Bourdais and van der Zande won the first in April at Long Beach after starting second to the No. 31 Whelen Cadillac V-Series.R driven by Pipo Derani and Jack Aitken, who were the runners-up.

“The Cadillac V-Series.R has been the car to beat in IMSA, so I’m sure it will be competitive there as well,” said van der Zande, who at Long Beach extended his streak of at least one victory in each of his 11 IMSA seasons. “It’s a home track for GM, which makes it special for us as Cadillac Racing drivers to see if we can perform to the maximum and win the race.”

Cadillac, the reigning and four-time IMSA prototype class (DPi/GTP) Manufacturer Champion, leads the GTP standings.

USA will telecast the race starting at 3 p.m. ET Saturday, June 1. Peacock will provide flag-to-flag streaming of the race along with qualifications at 4:35 p.m. Friday, May 31, in the U.S. while IMSA.TV will have coverage outside the U.S. IMSA Radio (IMSA.com), RadioLeMans.com will broadcast every session. SiriusXM live race coverage will be available at XM 206, SiriusXM Web/App 996.

‘No Perfect Formula’ premiere

A documentary that follows the development of the Cadillac V-Series.R and its 2023 IMSA and WEC competition premieres at 7 p.m. ET Friday on Hagerty Channel 2545 on Samsung TV Plus. Also available on Hagerty’s Facebook page.

Cadillac display at Hart Plaza

See the exciting lineup of Cadillac passenger vehicles, including the CT5-V Blackwing, at the Hart Plaza display. Hours are 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday.

What they’re saying

No. 01 Cadillac V-Series.R

Sebastien Bourdais: “The circuit is all-new for everybody and looks challenging going from fairly wide to very narrow places. Some places have been repaved, so we’ll have to see where the bumps are. Quite a bit to figure out and always a bit tricky schedule with the short format, so there will be a need to get as comfortable as possible quickly on a technical track. Every corner is a first gear corner and will be difficult to manage braking with our big, heavy cars to make sure you don’t lock up and at the same time get the tires energized and ready to go. Detroit has been good for me over the years and I’m looking forward to our Cadillac 01 to do well at its home race. We’ve proved that we can get things done and we have a far better understanding on how to get there, so the whole group is pumped. It’s high intensity right now on the heels of Laguna and going to Detroit and straight to Le Mans. I’m looking forward to it.”

Renger van der Zande: “I won in Detroit in Cadillac DPi – once with Sebastien (Bourdais) and once with Kevin (Magnussen) and I also won in LMPC there, so it’s been fa fantastic place for me. But, obviously, we’re on a different track now. Exciting to be on a track that we don’t know, exciting to see what the track will bring. We have wide cars and the track is narrow, so we’ll need to see how things develop and see what works on the setup. The Cadillac V-Series.R has been the car to beat in IMSA, so I’m sure it will be competitive there as well. It’s a home track for GM, which makes it special for us as Cadillac Racing drivers to see if we can perform to the maximum and win the race.”

No. 31 Whelen Cadillac V-Series.R

Pipo Derani: “Quite honestly, I am sad we are not racing at Belle Isle anymore. Despite that, it is always great to race at GM’s home and feel the extra energy that it brings. We will be hoping to continue our strong form into this very important weekend as we seek to defend our championship. I’m looking forward to challenging for the race win with the No. 31 Whelen Cadillac V-Series.R.”

Jack Aitken: “So far, the season has been great. We’re showing a lot of consistency, which is one of the things we wanted to work on from last year with it being such a crazy first year of the GTP cars, and we do think it’s going to be quite important in the title defense. So, with three second places and being in the hunt at Sebring before the accident as well I think we really have carried through on that goal. Of course, it is a bit frustrating to not have that first win up on the board, but I’m sure we will be able to solve that in the coming weeks. We’re continuously putting ourselves in the right place, we have a fast car and it’s been bad luck and a few mistakes that have held us back. It would be fantastic to get that win in Detroit in our home race. It’s a new track for everybody so it’s a level playing field and that’s quite exciting. I’ve had a couple of new tracks in the past few weeks with Long Beach and Laguna Seca, both of which I think I got up to speed quickly. Going to somewhere that is new for everybody will swing favor in our direction.”

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com

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