Bourdais hopes “gods of electronics” are with Cadillac at Daytona

Sebastien Bourdais and his fellow Cadillac V-LMDh drivers say they are satisfied with the new car in preparation for the Rolex 24 Hours, but he’s wary of the new spec hybrid unit for all GTP cars and its ancillaries.

Bourdais hopes “gods of electronics” are with Cadillac at Daytona
Listen to this article

The new GTP era has seen the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship embrace the LMDh rules, attracting BMW and Porsche to join Cadillac and Acura in the top class of U.S. sportscar racing.

However, the introduction of a spec hybrid unit has inevitably caused teething problems for all the OEMs, so debuting the technology in IMSA’s longest race of the season has caused worries over reliability.

Although yesterday’s fight for Rolex 24 pole position around Daytona’s 3.56-mile 12-turn sportscar course was principally between the twin-turbocharged cars – the Porsche 963s and the Acura ARX-06 – Cadillac’s normally aspirated 5.5-liter V8 Dallara-built LMDh showed well.

The two Chip Ganassi Racing entries will line up fourth and fifth, with Bourdais just 0.231sec from pole, while the Action Express Racing example will start sixth.

Bourdais might have been closer still, but a red flag for a crashed Porsche late in the GTP class qualifying left drivers barely able to warm their tires before their final flying lap.

More relevant than one-lap pace, and highly encouraging for the race, is that according to Cadillac’s press release, the three Cadillac V-LMDhs ran 366 laps in six free practice sessions “without incident or protracted time on pit lane as they gathered data about mechanical and aerodynamic setups, tire wear and the hybrid system’s performance contributions.”

Bourdais, who will share his Caddy with fulltime teammate Renger van der Zande and Ganassi legend Scott Dixon, said: "I think that from the 15 minutes [extra practice preceding qualifying] to the end of qualifying when we did our lap, the grip on the track was up significantly and we've never run that fast and the car felt amazing. Really happy for the Cadillac team and I think it's a strong start.

“Obviously, not the goal but as close as we can get without getting it.

“I think it bodes well for the race so now it's just about executing and making no mistakes and hoping that the gods of electronics are with us for 24 hours."

Teammate Alex Lynn qualified the #02 CGR Cadillac that he – along with Richard Westbrook and Earl Bamber – will race for the balance of the year in the FIA World Endurance Championship.

He said: "I'm pretty happy to be honest. We made a lot of improvements on the car over the last couple of days and I think where we ended up with the balance was really great. I'm very happy and we'll see what next week brings.

“I'm really enjoying driving this Cadillac V-LMDh and it's giving me really good feedback, and we're improving it so much. It's an enjoyable job when you just start making huge strides and improving this brand new vehicle."

Cadillac has a great deal of honor to uphold with the V-LMDh, since its predecessor, the DPi-V.R, proved so successful in IMSA’s DPi era. Among its 27 victories were four straight Rolex 24 at Daytona triumphs, 2017-’20.

shares
comments
Mercedes drivers elated by GTD pole sweep for Rolex 24 at Daytona
Previous article

Mercedes drivers elated by GTD pole sweep for Rolex 24 at Daytona

Next article

BMW bullish for Rolex 24 despite subdued qualifying

BMW bullish for Rolex 24 despite subdued qualifying
How MSR took Acura to the first win of sportscar racing's new era Prime

How MSR took Acura to the first win of sportscar racing's new era

After much anticipation, the new dawn for sportscar racing got underway with a result that mirrored the pattern of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship's previous DPi era. Here's how Acura once again took top honours in the Rolex 24 at Daytona with a 1-2 led by Meyer Shank Racing.

IMSA
Jan 30, 2023
Inside BMW's long-awaited prototype racing return Prime

Inside BMW's long-awaited prototype racing return

Much like German OEM rival Porsche, BMW's absence from sportscar racing’s top flight will be ended this weekend when a pair of M Hybrid V8 prototypes make their debut in the Rolex 24 at Daytona. A programme focused on IMSA for now will expand to the WEC and Le Mans next year, in a sign of both its ambition and pragmatism.

IMSA
Jan 26, 2023
How Porsche and Penske are gearing up for sportscar racing's bold new era Prime

How Porsche and Penske are gearing up for sportscar racing's bold new era

Porsche and Penske have teamed up to tackle the world's biggest sportscar races in 2023 with the new 963 LMDh car. Autosport was on hand at the recent Daytona test to hear from key players in the partnership as it prepares for dual campaigns across the IMSA SportsCar Championship and World Endurance Championship...

IMSA
Jan 5, 2023
The plug in and play stand-ins who got their timing just right Prime

The plug in and play stand-ins who got their timing just right

Nyck de Vries’s Italian GP exploits weren’t the first post-eleventh-hour call-up in motorsport history, and won’t be the last either. Here are some offbeat tales from the past

General
Dec 26, 2022
The long road to convergence for sportscar racing's new golden age Prime

The long road to convergence for sportscar racing's new golden age

The organisers of the World Endurance Championship and IMSA SportsCar Championship worked together to devise the popular new LMDh rule set. But to turn it from an idea into reality, some serious compromises were involved - both from the prospective LMDh entrants and those with existing Le Mans Hypercar projects...

IMSA
Nov 25, 2022
How Porsche's Le Mans legend changed the game Prime

How Porsche's Le Mans legend changed the game

The 956 set the bar at the dawn of Group C 40 years ago, and that mark only rose higher through the 1980s, both in the world championship and in the US. It and its successor, the longer-wheelbase 962, are arguably the greatest sportscars of all time.

WEC
Aug 25, 2022
Why BMW shouldn't be overlooked on its return to prototypes Prime

Why BMW shouldn't be overlooked on its return to prototypes

OPINION: While the focus has been on the exciting prospect of Ferrari vs Porsche at the Le Mans 24 Hours next year, BMW’s factory return to endurance racing should not be ignored. It won't be at the French classic next year as it focuses efforts on the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, but could be a dark horse in 2024 when it returns to La Sarthe with the crack WRT squad.

Le Mans
Aug 21, 2022
The British pair at the heart of Lexus's sportscar push Prime

The British pair at the heart of Lexus's sportscar push

Have you heard the one about two British guys driving for a Japanese manufacturer in America’s top sportscar series? Time to sit down and talk with Jack Hawksworth and Ben Barnicoat about racing across the pond… and your accent being mistaken for Australian!

IMSA
Mar 16, 2022