Cadillac is going for a fourth Rolex 24 win having won the race each of the three years since the IMSA DPi formula started in 2017. Wayne Taylor Racing has two of those wins in 2017 and 2019 with Action Express Racing taking the win in 2018 with the Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R.
Of the 15 Cadillac drivers, five will be new to the Cadillac DPi-V.R at Daytona. Sebastian Bourdais and Ryan Briscoe move over from GTLM, Loic Duval brings extensive prototype experience with a win at Le Mans and Scott Dixon and Matheus Leist bring their open-wheel miles to the brand.
The No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R with Felipe Nasr posted the fastest lap among the Cadillac entrants at the Roar test three weeks ago, fourth in DPi. Nasr, Pipo Derani, Mike Conway, and Filipe Albuquerque are looking to continue the team’s momentum from last season’s Petit Le Mans win.
“It’s finally race week,” Nasr said. “No better way to start the season than with the Rolex 24. I am excited to be back driving the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac with Pipo, Filipe and Mike. I feel like we have a very strong shot at winning the race. I want to get this prestigious race on my win resume. As we saw at the Roar, there is a very strong field. The Acura and Mazdas are very fast. Also, the Cadillac teams are strong as well. All of the cars have good drivers. As Gary Nelson says, we expect to win.”
Loic Duval is new to the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac team and to the Cadillac DPi-V.R race car. He had a positive experience at the Roar test and with Joao Barbosa and Sebastian Bourdais the trio bring a lot of endurance experience to the JDC-Miller Motorsports team giving them a good chance this weekend.
“I have driven a lot of cars and the Cadillac, I must say, is really good,” Duval said. “It was my first time at the Roar to drive the Cadillac. The first thing I noticed is that the Cadillac has a great traction control package. With new tires and even over the long run with tire degradation the car is really, really impressive. The Cadillac engine is really nice, it has great response across the revs. We were working hard to get the front to agree with the back of the car, but it is really an easy car to drive. Having rear stability is really important for a long race.
“The JDC-Miller team has a good chance this weekend. Driving a Cadillac you always have a good chance at Daytona. It will take a total team effort. We were kind of late coming together with JDC-Miller and the drivers, but everyone is motivated. It is never easy to start such a program with the first race of the season being 24 hours. We have a good group of people with a lot of experience on the technical and mechanical side. With Joao and Sebastian that makes it easier as well. We will run a good pace and stay with the leaders. We will see where we are as a team when the sun comes up on Sunday so we can go for it. I’ve won Le Mans and to win the Rolex 24, for me, would be something special. We will be humble, as it is a very strong field. We will be going for the win to get those Rolex watches.”
The No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac team are the defending champions of the Rolex 24. Renger Van Der Zande and Ryan Briscoe are joined by Kamui Kobayashi and Scott Dixon. The Wayne Taylor led team will be looking for their third Daytona win in the modern DPi era, having won it in 2017 as well.
“I’m really looking forward to our first race of the 2020 season and our biggest of the year,” Briscoe said. “The No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R team is the best in the business and I have an incredible lineup of teammates to fall back on and learn from. Wayne and Max know what it takes to win this race, both as drivers and as team owners, and I hope to contribute to their winning tradition at the Rolex 24.”
Matheus Leist had his first run in the No. 85 JDC-Miller Motorsports Cadillac DPi-V.R at the Roar test and came away with a smile on his face. Coming from open-wheel cars, the Cadillac is the first car with a roof that he has ever driven. He is teamed with Juan Piedrahita, Chris Miller, and Tristan Vautier this weekend.
“I really like the Cadillac,” Leist said. “It was a great first couple days driving it and getting a taste of the car at the Roar. I’ve had great help from the team and my teammates getting up to speed, and after a couple runs I was already feeling comfortable in the car. It’s amazing how fast the car is coming out of the corners and how deep we can brake. I’m looking forward to driving the car again and getting more familiar with it before we start the Rolex 24. My goal for the weekend is to just go out there and be as fast as I possibly can without taking too many risks. It’s a long race and it won’t be decided in the first couple hours. We have to be patient and do whatever we can to keep ourselves out of trouble. If we can do that, I think we might have a shot.
“I think we have a pretty good lineup. We have all been pretty fast in the car and pretty consistent in traffic too. We have to do a clean race, that’s the most important thing. If we can keep the 85 Cadillac out on the track all the time without any problems. We are going to have a great chance. We already know the Cadillac is the most reliable car out there, so we have to do our job to keep it running. I’m excited and ready for the challenge.”
Former Cadillac driver and Mustang Sampling team ambassador Christian Fittipaldi will be the Grand Marshall for the 58th running of the Rolex 24 Hour At Daytona.
2020 Cadillac Racing IMSA WeatherTech teams and drivers:
No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R
Felipe Nasr (BRA)
Pipo Derani (BRA)
Filipe Albuquerque (PRT), Daytona
Mike Conway (GBR), Daytona
No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R
Ryan Briscoe (AUS)
Renger Van Der Zande (NLD)
Scott Dixon (NZL), Daytona
Kamui Kobayashi (JPN), Daytona
No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R
Joao Barbosa (PRT)
Sebastian Bourdais (FRA)
Loic Duval (FRA), Daytona
No. 85 JDC-Miller Motorsports Cadillac DPi-V.R
Juan Piedrahita (COL)
Matheus Leist (BRA), Daytona, Sebring, Watkins Glen, Road Atlanta
Chris Miller (USA), Daytona
Tristan Vautier (FRA), Daytona
Source. Kyle Chura/Photo. Richard Prince/Cadillac