Cadillac’s V8 Hypercar Looks Like This, and It’s Racing Le Mans in 2023

The striking concept is not only a preview of an upcoming prototype racer, but also future Cadillac performance vehicles.

byPeter HolderithJun 9, 2022 1:29 PM
Cadillac’s V8 Hypercar Looks Like This, and It’s Racing Le Mans in 2023
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The sheer number of automakers competing in Le Mans 2023 is immense. Among the likes of Peugeot, Ferrari, Porsche, and Toyota is perhaps one unexpected name: Cadillac. The American automaker will go full speed ahead with a prototype racer for the storied 24-hour race, and Thursday, it revealed a prototype of the impressive machine after months of teasers.

Not only is the vehicle previewed here a track-bound racing car, but it's also an expression of Cadillac's design ethos. It features the brand's classic vertical lighting cues and a slew of other details, all wrapped up in some beautiful forged carbon fiber. It's powered by what the automaker describes as an "all-new" 5.5-liter DOHC V8 paired with the LMDh common hybrid system. It's unclear if this motor shares anything with the Chevy Corvette C8.R's engine of a similar description; however, the total system output will be in the neighborhood of 650-700 horsepower.

While it's unclear if it shares any parts with the C8.R, Cadillac says the vehicle previews design features for future Cadillac performance cars. That statement has a lot of implications because we know little about the brand's future performance ambitions in its push to go electric. So far, the only EVs we know about officially are the Lyriq and the Celestiq, both luxury vehicles which focus on comfort over track-shredding performance.

In a clip shared along with the images of the car, which is embedded below, it also sounds like it features a cross-plane V8 which is unusual. This could simply be dubbed over the engine's actual exhaust note, though. Cross-plane V8s are not typically used in cars competing in the highest classes at Le Mans. That doesn't mean Cadillac isn't doing it, but it seems very unlikely, considering the rev limit for these vehicles is 10,000 RPM. They don't have to reach that, but having a lightweight, energy-dense engine is typically achieved with higher RPMs often associated with flat-plane V8s.

The car will compete in other races besides Le Mans in 2023. Its reveal on track will happen a the Rolex 24 at Daytona next year, and it will race a full WEC season. Cadillac says the final version of this car will look very similar to the concept we see here. If that big transparent vertical fin makes the final cut, I'll be surprised. It looks a little too good to be true.

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