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Cadillac Racing at Le Mans: 8-hour report

All three Cadillac V-Series.Rs in podium contention in changeable weather

LE MANS, France (June 15, 2024) – Cadillac Racing’s trio of Hypercars continue to contest for podium spots through eight hours of the 92nd 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The No. 2 Cadillac V-Series.R, with Alex Lynn, Earl Bamber and Alex Palou sharing time behind the wheel of the hybrid Cadillac, was running fifth. It started the race seventh.

The No. 3 Cadillac V-Series.R, with Sebastien Bourdais, Renger van der Zande and Scott Dixon swapping the seat, was running 10th It started the race on the outside of the front row.

The No. 311 Whelen Cadillac V-Series.R, co-driven by Pipo Derani, Jack Aitken and Felipe Drugovich, was running ninth. It started the race 18th.

All Cadillac cars were on the lead lap at the green following deployment of the Safety Car at 6 hours, 36 minutes into the race for contact between two Hypercars that required barrier repair. The caution lasted 92 minutes.

An ambient temperature of 64 degrees F (18 C) and wind gusts up to 22 mph (35 km/h) greeted official starter Zinedine Zidane as he waved the French flag to commence the endurance classic for the 62 entries in three classes.

Light rain on the Mulsanne Straight and two corners about 90 minutes into the race prompted most of the Hypercar field of 23 to pit for rain tires that saw only five laps by the Cadillac racecars before switching back to Michelin slicks. Intermittent showers covering sections of the race course returned through one-third of the race.

Three Hypercars retired, while the Cadillac V-Series.Rs showed reliability and pace on the 8.47-mile (13.629 kilometers) Circuit de la Sarthe.

The No. 2 Cadillac V-Series.R qualified second in Hyperpole but a five grid-spot penalty levied by FIA stewards from the on-track incident at Spa-Francorchamps in May awaited. Still, it was the highest starting position in the race for Cadillac, which made its maiden trip to Le Mans in 1950 with two entries by privateers.

Hyperpole, a qualifying format introduced in 2020 at Circuit de la Sarthe, follows the previous night’s 60-minute qualifying practice that determined the cars in each of the three classes that fill the top eight positions on the grid based on lap time.

Last year, the nascent three-car program turned heads with strong qualifying efforts and third-, fourth- and 17th-place overall finishes in Cadillac Racing’s return to Sarthe after a 21-year absence.

‘No Perfect Formula’

The documentary about Cadillac Racing’s road to the Le Mans podium. WATCH

You’re looking live trackside

All three Cadillac V-Series.Rs will have an onboard camera for a different perspective of the June 15-16 race. WATCH

No. 2 Cadillac V-Series.R

Alex Palou: “My first stint at Le Mans was amazing. It was tough, especially with the conditions. We were losing sunlight, it was raining, went on wets and the track started drying. I had a bit of everything and reeled in a few cars. We had some issues at the beginning of the race with balance of the car, but we’re back in the game.”

French: “Mon premier relais au Mans a été extraordinaire. C’était difficile, surtout à cause des conditions.

Nous perdions la lumière du soleil, il pleuvait, nous avons mis des pneus pluie et la piste a commencé à sécher.J’ai eu un peu de tout et j’ai pu doubler quelques voitures.

Nous avons eu quelques problèmes en début de course avec l’équilibre de la voiture, mais nous sommes de retour dans le jeu.”

No. 3 Cadillac V-Series.R

Sebastien Bourdais: “The start of the race was pretty clean. Pace on its own is fine, but when we get stuck in traffic we can’t make the lap time and fall further behind. It’s frustrating. All the cars that stayed out because it didn’t really rain – it was like one straight, one corner, another corner – but it wasn’t really wet enough to pay dividends on the wets and we lost the lead train. There’s a lot of time left, so we’ll keep fighting.”

French: “Le début de la course a été plutôt propre. Le rythme en lui-même est bon, mais quand nous sommes coincés dans le trafic, nous ne pouvons pas faire le temps au tour et nous prenons du retard. C’est frustrant. Toutes les voitures qui sont restées à l’extérieur parce qu’il ne pleuvait pas vraiment – c’était comme une ligne droite, un virage, un autre virage – mais ce n’était pas assez humide pour payer les dividendes des pneus pluie et nous avons perdu le train de tête. Il reste beaucoup de temps, alors nous allons continuer à nous battre.”

Renger van der Zande: “In that Dunlop corner on the exit it just snapped on me and I was close to the wall and then into the wall. At least it was a pancake into it. I was so lucky to not get more damage. The car felt good after that and I think we were making progress, so we’re happy with that. We lost a lot of time with the rain tires for a short time, so that put us on the back foot. We’re here to win and we’ll throw everything at it.”

French: “Dans le virage Dunlop, à la sortie, j’ai perdu le contrôle et j’étais proche du mur, puis j’ai foncé dans le mur. J’ai eu beaucoup de chance de ne pas avoir plus de dégâts. La voiture se comportait bien après cela et je pense que nous avons progressé, donc nous sommes satisfaits. Nous avons perdu beaucoup de temps avec les pneus pluie pendant une courte période, ce qui nous a mis en difficulté. Nous sommes ici pour gagner et nous allons tout faire pour y parvenir.

Scott Dixon: “It was a bit of everything because we had the rain and went to the wets that set us back to the leaders. And for my stint it started to rain again and there were some slow zones, so it was just messy. It was stop-go, stop-go. There was no real pattern to it. Luckily, we stayed on the lead lap, the car is in one piece and we’ll see how it goes.”

French: C’était un peu de tout, parce que nous avons eu la pluie et nous sommes passés aux pneus pluie, ce qui nous a ramenés vers les leaders. Et pour mon relais, il a recommencé à pleuvoir et il y avait des zones de ralentissement, donc c’était un peu le bazar. C’était du stop-go, stop-go. Il n’y avait pas vraiment de scénario. Heureusement, nous sommes restés dans le tour de tête, la voiture est saine et sauve et nous verrons comment cela se passe.”

No. 311 Whelen Cadillac V-Series.R

Pipo Derani: “We can already say it’s a lot better than last year, so that’s very positive. It was a good first stint – a triple stint almost. We gained positions. Unfortunately, the rain kind of pulled back everything we gained because we came in for the rain tires and then the track dried quite quickly, so Jack (Aitken) had to come back in for slicks. Overall, I’m happy with how we were able to progress. It gives us good hope. Still a long way to go. We’ll keep chipping away.”

French: “Nous pouvons déjà dire que c’est beaucoup mieux que l’année dernière, c’est donc très positif. C’était un bon premier relais, presque un triple relais. Nous avons gagné des positions. Malheureusement, la pluie nous a fait perdre tout ce que nous avions gagné car nous nous sommes arrêtés pour des pneus pluie et la piste a séché assez rapidement par après, si bien que Jack (Aitken) a dû rentrer pour des pneus slicks. Dans l’ensemble, je suis content de la façon dont nous avons pu progresser. Cela nous donne bon espoir. Il reste encore beaucoup de chemin à parcourir. Nous allons continuer à progresser.”

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


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