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Cadillac commits to entering six-hour WEC races with two drivers

Cadillac is planning to compete in the six-hour races of the World Endurance Championship with only two drivers aboard its solo Ganassi-run V-Series.R LMDh.

#2 Cadillac Racing Cadillac V-Series.R: Earl Bamber, Alex Lynn, Richard Westbrook

JEP / Motorsport Images

Ganassi has revealed that only for the longer races — the Qatar 1812km or 10-hour season-opener next month, the Le Mans 24 Hours and then the Bahrain 8 Hours season finale — does it intend to run a third driver alongside Earl Bamber and Alex Lynn.

The news follows comments from the General Motors brand early this month that it would only confirm its full line-up ahead of each of the 2024 WEC races, at the same time as hinting at the two-driver plan.

“We’re only looking for an extra driver for Qatar, Bahrain and, of course, Le Mans,” said team founder Chip Ganassi.

“Keep it simple, that’s what we are trying to do.”

Asked if the team was aiming for a performance gain by maximising seat time with a two-driver line-up, Ganassi replied: “Everything we do around here is the quicker way, or is trying to be the quicker way.

“It’s racing, that’s what it is all about.”

When asked which driver or drivers might fill the seat occupied by Richard Westbrook in 2023 for the longer races, Ganassi said: “You’re going to see some familiar drivers sprinkled in there.”

That is clearly a reference to its line-up in the V-Series.R Ganassi fields in the IMSA SportsCar Championship in North America.

Full-season drivers Sebastien Bourdais or Renger van der Zande would be obvious candidates for the Middle Eastern races at Qatar and Bahrain that bookend the WEC season.

#01 Cadillac Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac V-Series.R: Renger van der Zande, Sebastien Bourdais, Scott Dixon, Alex Palou

Photo by: Michael L. Levitt / Motorsport Images

#01 Cadillac Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac V-Series.R: Renger van der Zande, Sebastien Bourdais, Scott Dixon, Alex Palou

On the assumption that Ganassi gets its second entry under the Cadillac Racing banner for Le Mans in June, the team would need to bring in an additional driver for double-points WEC round.

Asked if the team could call on reigning IndyCar champion Alex Palou at Le Mans, Ganassi said: “We could.”

The Spaniard made his second start for the Ganassi Cadillac squad in last weekend’s Daytona 24 Hours IMSA curtain-raiser and “slipped right back in”, according to Ganassi.

The path to the IndyCar regulars on the Cadillac roster racing at Le Mans has been smoothed by a shift of test dates at the Milwaukee oval during the week of the French race.

An IndyCar test was originally scheduled for the Wednesday, putting it in direct conflict with the opening day of practice and first qualifying at Le Mans. It has now swapped days with the Indy NXT feeder series and will take place on the Tuesday.

That will allow Scott Dixon and Tom Blomqvist, who are respectively the endurance drivers for Ganassi and Action Express Racing in IMSA this year, to travel overnight to get to Le Mans in time for the start of practice.

That would be particularly pertinent should Ganassi decide to run Palou. He has never competed at Le Mans and would be unable to take part in the official Test Day the Sunday before the race on 15/16 June as the result of a clash with the Road America IndyCar event.

Fellow Cadillac team Action Express looks certain to get a spot on the 62-car Le Mans grid after being named as one of the discretionary entries for the race that IMSA is allowed to name.

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