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Automotive Intelligence News

News of  April 04, 2001


 


Cadillac Rolls Out 2001 Cadillac Northstar LMP

Heavily Revamped Racer features improved on-track performance, enhanced safety, better reliability

Cadillac Northstar LMP

Photo: GM/Cadillac

KERSHAW, S.C. - Cadillac rolled out its 2001 Cadillac Northstar LMP racecar at the 2.5-mile Carolina Motorsports Park track in Kershaw, S.C., for its first test session of the season. The car, a heavily revamped version of its 2000 entry in the Le Mans 24 hour race, will undergo two days of shakedown testing.

With this first test, Team Cadillac enters its second year of endurance racing competition. The company will enter two Cadillacs in the Le Mans Prototype (LMP) class at the French classic Le Mans 24 Hour race, scheduled for June 16-17.

"We've made some big changes in chassis and engine to the Cadillac Northstar LMP for 2001," said Herb Fishel, executive director of GM Racing. "We're confident that these changes are a big step forward in our commitment to sportscar racing at the highest level."

Driver lineup includes Le Mans veterans An extensive testing program, led by team drivers Wayne Taylor and Max Angelelli, is planned prior to the team's departure to France for the official pre-race test session May 6. A comprehensive listing of all drivers will be released at a future date, once the lineup is finalized. 2000 sponsors return for new season, one added All of Cadillac's 2000 sponsors have returned for the 2001 season, including ACDelco, Toshiba Copier/Fax, NorthStar System and GMAC Financial Services. Added as a sponsor for 2001 is Bell MicroProducts, a distributor of high-technology semiconductor and computer products serving the industrial and commercial markets.

Team targets improvements in safety, reliability, performance The Cadillac LMP has been revamped for 2001 by Nigel Stroud, technical director for Team Cadillac, as the design and development of a totally new car for 2002 proceeds on a parallel path. Stroud has targeted improved on-track performance, enhanced reliability and improved driver safety as goals for the 2001 car.

Engine enhancements add power, improves performance, reduce weight The two Cadillac LMP entries again are powered by the race-proven, highly sophisticated, twin-turbo Northstar engine system, a derivative from the Cadillac production line. For the 2001 season, the development program targets a 5 percent horsepower increase with an attendant 20-pound reduction in weight.

Lowered engine improves center of gravity, handling Not only has the Northstar engine been extensively reworked inside to include a 180-degree crankshaft but the engine itself also rides some 0.950" lower in the chassis. This lower center of gravity will contribute improved handling to the overall package. More than 100 additional items within the engine have been redesigned, revamped or improved.

The engine program relies on new electronics for engine management that will broaden tuning possibilities.

Chassis modifications improve performance Several chassis modifications have been made to help improve the performance of the car. To improve chassis stiffness, a new bell housing and gearbox have been incorporated. The resulting improved stiffness enhances the tuning of the vehicle and gives drivers room for more assertiveness in the corners.

An enhanced suspension system, which includes new hubs, uprights and wishbones, as well as a new power-steering system, also will aid performance, as well as improve reliability.

New features enhance driver safety In terms of improved driver safety, Stroud has worked with the GM Racing Safety Group to incorporate new FIA recommendations for a new cockpit head surround protection system and to incorporate a new crushable composite structure in the rear of the car. Drivers also will benefit from the stability of a stiffer chassis and new front and rear suspension. The new power-steering system also will reduce driver strain over the 24-hour time period.

2001 Cadillac LMPs ride on Michelin tires For 2001, the Cadillac LMP will be equipped with racing tires from Michelin. Easier access speeds on-track service Team Cadillac race mechanics are certain to appreciate that the side-pods, rear floor panel and diffuser panels are more accessible and easier to work on and around. In addition, steering and drivetrain elements have been located to allow for faster vehicle servicing during competition.

Cadillac's endurance-racing program is a fundamental part of the brand's aggressive strategy to grow business internationally and to accelerate a change in global perception of Cadillac toward technology and performance.

(March 29, 2001)

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