Car is built to FIA GT3 specs, allowing for a global program.
AUSTIN, Texas – With the current generation of the Cadillac CTS-V going out of production, the manufacturer needed an all new car with which to defend its championship in the Pirelli World Challenge in 2015.
Today, at an event for a handful of media at Circuit of the Americas, that car debuted: The Cadillac ATS-V.R. There’s bonus, too: The new car is built to FIA GT3 specifications, meaning it can race in any of the 30-plus series globally that use that configuration.
Customer cars will not be available at launch, but there is expected to be a customer program once Cadillac is confident the car is sorted. Until then, it will race in the PWC with current drivers Johnny O’Connell, who won the championship, and Andy Pilgrim.
The production car debuts next week at the Los Angeles International Auto Show. Several months later, the new version of the CTS-V will debut, likely at the Detroit auto show. The ATS, both in street and race forms, is powered by a 3.6-liter V-6, while the new CTS-V will retain a V-8.
The ATS-V.R. adds twin turbochargers to the stock-block 3.6-liter V-6, with a projected output of 600 horsepower. Of course, PWC won’t allow it that much power in the series. Transmission is now a transaxle Xtrac six-speed. The car is slightly smaller and lighter than the current CTS-V.R. race car.
Building the car to GT3 specs means Cadillac joins Aston Martin, Audi, Bentley, BMW, Ferrari, Lamborghini, McLaren and Porsche with an eligible car. The FIA is the governing body for worldwide motorsport, with the GT3 class representing a specific set of specifications for racing cars based on production models.
Built in Michigan
The street car, built in Lansing, Michigan, is expected to produce around 450 horsepower. The CTS-V will likely have over 550 horspower, as does the outgoing model. Cadillac supplied some CTS-V coupes, sedans and wagons to test on the COTA track – all three are capable of 150-plus mph on the back straight, before the Brembo brakes haul the car down for the sharp left-hander.
The heart of the ATS-V.R is the LF4.R, the racing version of the twin-turbo 3.6-liter V-6 in the Cadillac CTS V-Sport. Specific technical upgrades for the GT3-spec race car include larger, twin BorgWarner turbochargers; increased capacity intercoolers; competition engine management and a direct, side-exiting exhaust. The lightweight aluminum block and heads are counterbalanced by a rear transaxle unique to the race car, giving the ATS-V.R a weight distribution of 49 percent front, 51 percent rear. The basic body structure is from the factory, enhanced by carbon fiber bits and pieces.
“This car sounds wicked and screams like it's ripping holes in the air. I love it,” said Andy Pilgrim, Cadillac Racing driver. “We have paddle gear shifters for the first time, and I'm enjoying the new tools. The engine torque is remarkable, as always, pulling strongly out of the corners.” The car was started for us to hear, but did not run at speed on the track.
Among the many modifications performed to meet FIA GT3 specifications, the fenders of the ATS-V.R. were redesigned to contain FIA-mandated tire sizes, which are larger than the tires on the current race car. Other modifications include an aero kit and a carbon fiber front splitter – complemented by corner-mounted dive planes – that provides frontal aerodynamics. A full under tray directs air beneath the car to the rear diffuser, which helps create a downforce-producing effect and plants the 18-inch racing tires to the track.
The 10-year-old V project has brought Cadillac a lot of performance credibility bolstered by the race program: Since 2004, Cadillac Racing has amassed 26 wins, 91 podium finishes (including wins) and 22 pole positions with the CTS-V sedan and CTS-V Coupe race cars. Cadillac is a five-time winner of the Pirelli World Challenge Manufacturer Championship, including the series’ past three seasons, as well as 2005 and 2007. Team Cadillac drivers won the Pirelli World Challenge Driver’s Championship in 2005 with Pilgrim and in 2014, 2013 and 2012 with driver Johnny O’Connell.
“The Cadillac ATS-V.R is a 170-mph billboard for the next generation of Cadillac’s V-Series,” said O’Connell. “On top of its power, its aerodynamic package should pay off in the fast corners and I’m looking forward to unleashing it.”