DETROIT, Jan. 26 -- General Motors (NYSE: GM) announced that the Chevrolet Corvette and Cadillac Northstar LMP race cars will return to compete in this year's prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans, France. Two Corvette C5-Rs will again be run...
DETROIT, Jan. 26 -- General Motors (NYSE: GM) announced that the Chevrolet Corvette and Cadillac Northstar LMP race cars will return to compete in this year's prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans, France.
Two Corvette C5-Rs will again be run by Pratt & Miller of Wixom, Mich. Corvette will also race at the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona and in most of the North American rounds of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS). The Corvette C5- R had a successful season in 2000, becoming increasingly competitive, winning two races (including the important Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta) and achieving many podium finishes (including third at Le Mans in its first attempt).
After an extensive examination of all aspects of the Cadillac Northstar LMP program, GM Racing has contracted with renowned race manager Jeff Hazell, designer Nigel Stroud and race driver/commercial director Wayne Taylor to join the Team Cadillac program.
In the new program, Team Cadillac will design, engineer and manufacture an all-new Cadillac LMP for 2002 at facilities in Brackley, UK. This 2002 car is expected to be ready for testing in late 2001.
In addition, the existing Cadillac Northstar LMP will be substantially revised by Stroud's design team as a 2001 model and will be raced as a two-car effort at the 2001 24 Hours of Le Mans by the French-based DAMS team. After Le Mans, race responsibilities will be handled by Team Cadillac from facilities at Atlanta, Ga., in the United States and the 2001 Cadillac LMP will compete at the Sears Point, Mosport, Laguna Seca, Petit Le Mans and Lowe's Motor Speedway (Charlotte) rounds of the ALMS.
"Following Le Mans last year, we undertook a fundamental review of all aspects of our endurance racing program," said Herb Fishel, Executive Director, GM Racing. "This study showed that we had a robust and competitive Corvette program that was in good shape for 2001. We have a number of engineering improvements that will make the car even more competitive and there is every reason to believe that we stand an excellent chance of a win at Le Mans and at other endurance events."
"The Cadillac program, however, required a radical change in direction," said Fishel. "We looked for the best engineering and race team talent to assist our effort and join GM Racing and Team Cadillac. We believe we have found that talent in Stroud, Hazell and Taylor. They know what it takes to win at Le Mans and they bring a depth of expertise that makes us confident that we can eventually bring Cadillac to victory.
"This year, race responsibilities at Le Mans will be handled by our European partners DAMS, who showed in 2000 how well they know Le Mans," added Fishel. "This will free Team Cadillac during most of 2001 to concentrate on designing and developing the 2002 car. Race responsibility will migrate to Team Cadillac after Le Mans, at about the same time as the 2002 car reaches fruition.
"Many acknowledge that winning Le Mans is the toughest challenge in motorsport. Realistically that win is not likely to come in 2001 but there will be good progress. We now have the tools, the people and the processes in place to have the expectation of doing so in subsequent years," Fishel added.
Cadillac's endurance racing program is a fundamental part of the brand's aggressive strategy to grow its business globally and to accelerate the understanding of Cadillac's intent to be included in the elite group of the world's premier brands, with its unique values of technology, design and performance.
The Corvette C5-R race program continues Chevrolet's tradition of racing production-based vehicles to "improve the breed." The engineers working on the Corvette C5-R race car work closely with the production car engineers to ensure that race car "learnings" impact present and future Corvettes.
General Motors, through its Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, Holden, Oldsmobile, Opel, Pontiac, Saab and Vauxhall brands, is involved in motorsport across the globe. Racing is an important part of General Motors because it helps make the company faster, smarter and more creative.