Cadillac is planning to bring an updated V-Series.R to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and the FIA World Endurance Championship for 2025, improving the base model which achieved a clean sweep of IMSA GTP titles and a podium at Le Mans in its first year of competition.
Speaking with RACER, Cadillac Racing’s FIA WEC team manager Stephen Mitas, who is on-site at Daytona to assist Chip Ganassi Racing at the Rolex 24, confirmed that work is ongoing behind the scenes to develop the car for its third year in GTP and Hypercar.
“2023 was a learning year, 2024 is more about consolidation and 2025 is about upgrading the car if possible. General Motors are working on something, not for this season, but hopefully for next,” he said.
“General Motors is always trying to improve the programme. They’re investigating every possible opportunity to bring a more competitive vehicle. It didn’t eventuate this year, but fingers crossed for next year.”
When asked for more details on the specific areas Cadillac was working on, Mitas kept his cards close to his chest. “It’s a big discussion,” he said.
However, he did confirm that both the IMSA and WEC teams were in general agreement on the areas of the car that they feel need work.
“The tracks in America are very different to the tracks in WEC, as in the WEC it’s all grandprix circuits except Le Mans, but what is needed to improve the vehicle is common in both championships,” he explained.
One of the big question marks concerns the aim of the upgrades coming to the V-Series.R. is if Cadillac is aiming to focus on improving reliability, performance, or both?
In IMSA the V-Series.R is already a race and title winner, while in the FIA WEC, its best result in Year 1 was a third-place finish. Has the difference in results in both championships complicated the decision-making process?
Due to the Balance of Performance process that governs GTP and Hypercar, gaining approval to make performance-related changes to an LMDh car is not simple, as any upgrades need to be justified to the rule makers before the car is tested and re-homologated.
However, Mitas believes that performance-related improvements are inevitable, even when targeting upgrades that specifically enhance a car’s durability.
“It’s not a straightforward answer, because performance and reliability are heavily linked,” Mitas responded when asked whether or not Cadillac is hoping to bring performance updates to the V-Series.R.
“But every time you make an adjustment to the car there’s going to be an improvement in reliability and there’s going to be an effect on performance.
“We are (in an arms race now). If you allow any race team or race organisation to improve their cars, they’re going to try and take it and some have taken the chance earlier than others. But because there’s a limited number of tokens, people are going to strategically use them differently.”
So why 2025 and not 2024? Did Cadillac initially plan to roll out upgrades for this season?
“It was always up for discussion,” Mitas clarified. “(Waiting a year before making changes to the car) was the philosophy at the beginning of the project. Cadillac won the championship in IMSA last year, so maybe there’s not as much pressure to update the car in IMSA.”
This echoes GM’s sports car programme manager Laura Wontrop Klauser’s thoughts on Cadillac’s mindset when it comes to upgrades, relayed to RACER at the end of the 2023 WEC season.
“We are looking at things we want to do, we just want to make sure that if we make a change to the vehicle, it’s thought out well, we go through the approval process and don’t rush it,” she said.
“We rushed some things to get to the grid in 2023, we had to make last-minute decisions and sacrifices to do that,” she continued. “Thankfully we’ve landed with a package that’s been strong at 24-hour races.
“So at the end of the day, we want to make sure that if we’re making a change, we’re not shoving anything in just to make a change.
“Will we have a different discussion in 2025 about changes? Probably,” she added at the time.
Specifics on how the test programme for the upgrades will work, where it will take place and when, is still a “work in progress” according to Mitas.
However, he added that GM, which is working in collaboration with Dallara and its GTP teams, has “a clear idea of what they want to do and throughout the year some of these things will be tested either in the US or Europe.”
That work will continue at a pace while Cadillac again fights on two fronts in 2024, with a pair of factory cars in IMSA and a single Ganassi-run V-Series.R in the FIA WEC.
The IMSA V-Series.Rs have a front-row lockout for the opening round of the 2024 season at Daytona this weekend, meanwhile, the WEC chassis is currently being sea freighted to Qatar from Ganassi’s European base in Germany for the WEC Prologue next month.