Race Preview: 24 Hours of Le MansWEC
Chip Ganassi Racing’s No. 2 and 3 Cadillac V-Series.R Hypercars are set to square off at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in historic fashion this weekend. Not only will this highly anticipated race mark 100 years since competition first began, but Cadillac will return to the event for the first time since 2002 in search of their first victory in the race.
Cadillac will pay homage to their first entry into Le Mans in 1950 with the car numbers 2 and 3. They will compete for the overall victory amongst 62 full-field entries, including 16 in the Hypercar class.
Chip Ganassi Racing previously earned a 24 Hours of Le Mans victory in their LMGTE Pro class in 2016 but will seek their first overall victory in this year’s competition.
The CGR driver lineup not only boasts three previous Le Mans race winners, but their six drivers hold nearly 50 combined starts under the belt (Bourdais: 14; Westbrook: 12; Bamber: 6; Lynn: 6; van der Zande: 5; Dixon: 4).
The team’s full-time World Endurance Championship lineup of Earl Bamber, Alex Lynn and Richard Westbrook will pilot the No. 2 Cadillac in the race. They currently sit fourth in the season standings with 40 points through their first three races. Bamber boasts two overall victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans (2020; 2017), while Lynn holds one class victory (2020) and Westbrook is in search of his first win at the endurance event. Westbrook previously drove for Ganassi’s sports car outfit from 2016-19 and matched his personal Le Mans best result of P3 in class in 2016.
Sebastien Bourdais, Scott Dixon and Renger van der Zande will share driving duties in the No. 3 Cadillac. They competed together in the 24 Hours of Daytona in January where they secured a podium finish. Bourdais was part of the 2016 win with the team and is also in search of his first career overall victory. For Dixon and van der Zande, they’ll be pushing for their first career victory in the race. Dixon, the 2008 Indianapolis 500 winner, is vying to become just the second driver to ever boast a overall win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Indianapolis 500 (A.J. Foyt).
Cadillac will first hit the 33-turn, 8.468-mile course on Sunday, June 5, with two test sessions totaling six hours. Qualifying for the Hypercar class will ensue on Thursday, June 8, at 2:00 p.m. ET. The green flag for the 24 of Le Mans will wave on Saturday, June 10, at 10 a.m. ET. All practice and qualifying sessions can be seen on MotorTrend+ in the United States, while MotorTrend TV will carry all 24 hours of the race. Click here for the full scheduling breakdown.
Earl Bamber - No. 2 Cadillac V-Series.R
“It’s exciting to see the talent we have at Cadillac Racing and I’m looking forward to going to Le Mans. It's going to be tough, but we’re definitely closing the gap to Toyota and Ferrari step by step and the endurance and performance testing we have done has been important. You have to run a clean race and have good pit stops at Le Mans to have a chance at victory. I said it at Daytona that if that car was at Le Mans, it would have won because we had a clean race and a quick car. That’s what we need to repeat when we go to Le Mans, and I think this group is building towards it."
Alex Lynn - No. 2 Cadillac V-Series.R
“Winning Le Mans takes perfection. It takes everything to go right. I’ve been lucky enough to do it in GT Pro with Aston Martin and I can honestly say it takes perfection to win that race because you’ll be the car that takes all the risk, doesn’t break down and the drivers are all on perfect form to win. The one that does win has all those ingredients go correctly. From our side, it’s a difficult race to win but the most rewarding. We’ll arrive with confidence in our car and team.”
Richard Westbrook - No. 2 Cadillac V-Series.R
“Everything has to be clean and perfect at Le Mans, especially this year. A lot of new machinery out there and it's a big ask for a lot of manufacturers. The Cadillac has been really reliable so that gives us a lot of confidence. The team has put in a lot of work and focus on Le Mans, so we know we will have a good and reliable car. Then it comes down to us executing and keeping everything clean and run max attack for 24 hours. If you do that, there is a good chance you’re going to get podium or something better. I think the main thing at Le Mans if you are a couple of tenths (of a second) off, say the Toyota or Ferrari, you at least put pressure on them because Le Mans is all about pressure. You keep people under pressure, they can make mistakes. We’ll be going there full of confidence and knowing we have a good car.”
Sebastien Bourdais - No. 3 Cadillac V-Series.R
“To drive for a manufacturer like Cadillac and going back to Le Mans to try to win the overall is a great honor. I’ve had the chance to do that a few times in my career and there is nothing like going for the Le Mans overall victory. Being from Le Mans, it’s very busy trying to handle all the requests from the media, but it will make it even more special if it’s a great day. It will be the first time in some time that I’m not rushing to get there and rushing to get back (to North America) for an IndyCar race or whatever. I think the last time that happened was 2011, so that will help me focus more on the event and optimizing the result.”
Scott Dixon - No. 3 Cadillac V-Series.R
“I’m excited to go back to Le Mans. It’s been a few years and my first time to go in the premier class. Competing with the Hypercar brings a totally different level to it. It’s a difficult race and having the opportunity to win with the Cadillac is very special.”
Renger van der Zande - No. 3 Cadillac V-Series.R
“It’s a special race. It’s the most famous classic race in the world and that’s what we’re aiming to win. I think Cadillac is a super American brand. I’ve been racing in America for 10 years and most of my time with Cadillac, so going with my American racing family as I call them to go for the Le Mans overall victory is something special. A lot of people from Holland will be watching us fight for the overall win, and that would be special. It will be a busy week, tense and exciting. We’ll be having tire warmers now for Le Mans, so it’s also a little different from what we’re used to racing the whole season (in IMSA). We’ll have to learn a lot in a short period of time.”
Source: Chip Ganassi Racing