DETROIT, Jan. 26 significantly revised Cadillac Northstar LMP program will see two interim design cars at this year's 24 Hours of Le Mans and selected North American rounds of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS). An all-new Cadillac Northstar...
DETROIT, Jan. 26 significantly revised Cadillac Northstar LMP program will see two interim design cars at this year's 24 Hours of Le Mans and selected North American rounds of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS). An all-new Cadillac Northstar LMP will be designed, manufactured and tested in 2001, with a race debut in early 2002.
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.
Hazell, Stroud and Taylor bring a wealth of auto racing experience spanning several decades to Team Cadillac, including success in Formula One and, most relevantly, Le Mans. Stroud designed several competitive Le Mans cars in the 1990s including one that placed first overall at the French classic. Hazell was the team architect behind the successful McLaren F1 sports car program and team manager at Williams F1, while Taylor has competed in no fewer than 11 of the Le Mans 24-hour races. The Cadillac Northstar LMP program will now proceed in two stages, under the direction of GM Racing.
First, a team led by Stroud will substantially revise the 2000 Cadillac Northstar LMP as an interim 2001 model. This 2001 Cadillac will be campaigned by the French-based DAMS team as a two-car effort at this year's 24 Hours of Le Mans. Revisions on the 2001 car will center on weight, aerodynamics, steering and suspension, safety and substantial chassis revisions to improve rigidity. After Le Mans, the 2001 Cadillac will be raced by Team Cadillac at the Sears Point, Mosport, Laguna Seca, Petit Le Mans and the Lowe's Motor Speedway (Charlotte) rounds of the ALMS out of its new facilities in Atlanta, Ga.
Second, Stroud's engineering group will design and develop an all-new 2002 Cadillac Northstar LMP using, in part, data on various components gathered from the 2001 car. Team Cadillac will test this car towards the end of the 2001 season to ready it for 2002.
Through this approach, information and experience can be accrued in real competition during 2001 and incorporated in the 2002 design. This plan will also continue in supporting Cadillac's aggressive strategy to grow its business globally and accelerate the understanding of Cadillac's intent to be included in the elite group of the world's premier automotive brands, with its unique values of technology, design and performance.
One element carrying over in the design of both new cars will be the durable, reliable and powerful Northstar V8. "We evaluated many different engine options -- including varying engine sizes and natural aspiration -- and concluded that the optimum configuration is the four-liter turbo," said GM Racing's Joe Negri. "With significant more development and some new designs, we will have considerably more power than last year."
The sponsor and supplier partner line up will be announced in the near future, as will the full driver roster. Wayne Taylor and Max Angelelli will handle test driving responsibilities.
Jeff Hazell has held a number of important positions in British motor racing. After a significant spell as team manager with Williams F1, Hazell has worked closely with endurance racing -- most recently with a program competing in the ALMS and at Le Mans. Prior to this Hazell worked with the TAG McLaren Group and the design and production of its F1 road car, interfacing aerospace, automotive and motorsport technologies. In race form, the F1 car subsequently dominated the GT1 category at Le Mans. As a team principal, Hazell has tasted success at Le Mans on a number of occasions, including the overall win with McLaren-BMW F1 GTR in 1995.
Nigel Stroud comes to Cadillac with an extensive background in chassis design and development with Formula One, Indy, GTP, C1, WSC and LMP cars. He has also worked with legendary drivers ranging from James Hunt to Nigel Mansell, and Mario Andretti to Al Unser. Some of the more notable racing programs where Stroud has worked as chief designer include: Reynard, Lotus, Panoz and the Mazda effort that won Le Mans in 1991. Stroud first caught notice as a star designer in 1985 with Richard Lloyd Racing when his independent redesign of the Porsche 956 was effective enough to beat the factory teams in three World Championship races.
Wayne Taylor has been a driver with the Cadillac LMP program since its inception. Taylor was the 1986 South African Drivers champion, won two Exxon World Sports Car Championships (1994, 1996), and has also captured overall titles in the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona (1996) and the 12 Hours of Sebring (1996). In 1998, in addition to his driving duties, Wayne was part owner of the Doyle-Risi Team which won the inaugural Petit Le Mans (1998), and the WSC class in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. In total, he has competed in an impressive eleven 24 Hours of Le Mans races.
-General Motors Racing