Cadillac Racing is ready to debut the all-new Cadillac ATS-V.R race car in the opening round of the Pirelli World Challenge Series at the Circuit of the America's in Austin, Texas, March 6-8.
The ATS-V.R is the racing extension of the upcoming 2016 Cadillac ATS-V Coupe. The race car encompasses more than a decade of V-Series engineering experience into the brand's first compact performance model. The new ATS-V.R meets international FIA GT3 specifications, a pedigree that allows it to potentially run in more than 30 different GT series around the world. New to the program is the revolutionary twin turbocharged V6 LF4 engine. The race version, named LF4.R developed by GM Powertrain, has received race specific modifications to meet the demands of the FIA GT3 specification.
Throughout the 24 month development cycle, which used the already performance built ATS-V Coupe as the baseline, the team took answers from computer simulations, data from the previous generation CTS-V.R and the latest in racing technology to create the ATS-V.R. In September of 2014 the all-new car hit the track for the first time. Since then the team has progressed through a testing plan that will continue through the racing season. While accumulating test miles over the fall and winter at various locations, the teams at GM and Pratt & Miller Engineering were simultaneously building the two primary race cars.
"A lot of details had to come together since last September," said David Caldwell, Cadillac Racing program manager. "The entire team has been digging deep non-stop and I'm happy with the progress we have made. Our focus has been testing on and off track and getting the drivers and engineers comfortable with the new car. We are very excited to be able to finally debut the car in its first race at the Circuit of the America's on March 7."
"We are still learning about the ATS-V.R," said O'Connell. "It has a very nice and direct turn down to the apex. Which is a natural evolution over the CTS-V.R. You also don't notice the mass as much. The downforce from the FIA GT3 parts gives you a little bit more confidence with the car in the faster corners. Developing a new car is always challenging, especially when you combine the development of a new engine as well. The engines definitely have different characteristics when comparing the last generation V8 to the twin turbo V6. I'm sure Andy and I will adjust to the nuances of the new engine and don't expect to have any issues. Development of a new car is something I've always enjoyed doing, and I look forward to seeing what the true potential of the car is on a race weekend."Three-time defending Pirelli World Challenge GT Champion Johnny O'Connell, driver No. 3 Cadillac ATS-V.R , knows there is still some mystery with the new ATS-V.R.
"The thing I am noticing most in the new car is the shifting," said Pilgrim. "This is the first race car I have driven with paddle shifters and I'm really enjoying it. I am practicing by putting my CTS-V Sport into manual mode every time I drive it. I want to make sure the left/down, right/up shift pattern becomes second nature. I am not noticing the ground effects to any degree in the slower to mid-speed corners, which makes sense, but as the speed gets up there, I notice the car sticking to the track, which is making fast sweepers a blast. I think the most interesting element about testing, so far, has been how comfortable I was in the car from the very beginning. Even though the ATS-V.R has stiffer suspension it was very balanced right off the trailer, which makes giving accurate feedback much easier. The new engine is pulling well off the slower corners with little turbo lag. It's very hard to tell if the cars are different in respect to speed, but I'm very happy we're not dealing with a bunch of turbo lag at this point."Andy Pilgrim, driver Cadillac ATS-V.R No. 8, holds the distinction of being the only driver to race, and develop, all three generations of Cadillac V-Series race cars as well as being the 2005 World Challenge Series Champion.
Along with the new ATS-V.R race cars hitting the track, Cadillac will also debut the new Pirelli World Challenge Cadillac ATS-V Pace Car.
"Cadillac is continuing its participation as the Official Pace Car of the Pirelli World Challenge Series for 2015," said John Kraemer, Cadillac V-Series and racing marketing manager. "We will also have the new Escalade on track as the Official Medical Response Vehicle. Cadillac will continue to host V-Series owners at every racing event this season. With the all-new ATS-V and the CTS-V coming to market it is going to be as exciting in the Cadillac experiential zone as it will be on the track this summer."
The Pirelli World Challenge Series season opening Cadillac Grand Prix of the Circuit of the America's will run March 6-8.
Since the team's inception in 2004, Team Cadillac has amassed 26 wins, 91 podium finishes (including wins) and 22 pole positions. The team won the World Challenge Manufacturer Championship in 2005, 2007, 2012, 2013 and 2014. Team Cadillac drivers have won the World Challenge Driver's Championship in 2005 with Andy Pilgrim and in 2012, 2013 and 2014 with Johnny O'Connell.