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David Malsher-Lopez

Cadillac: Amount of code to run an LMDh car is “daunting”

Cadillac will have three V-LMDh cars in action at the Daytona 24 Hours, two run by Chip Ganassi Racing and the other by Action Express Racing, as IMSA enters a new era of hybrid prototypes.

All teams have faced difficulties with the transition from pure combustion Daytona Prototype international cars to the hybrid LMDh ruleset, with the spec system causing reliability headaches in testing.

Insight: Inside the spec hybrid spine of LMDh cars

Following testing at Daytona earlier this month, GM sportscar racing programme manager Klauser explained that the complex software required to integrate the hybrid system with the car's powertrain had meant a huge amount of work for the manufacturer.

“The sheer amount of code and software that has been written to run this car is daunting,” she said.

“We cannot have enough software engineers working right now because everything on the car is connected – things that we never had to worry about influencing each other in the past with the DPi or other race programmes.

“Now, if one thing is slightly off, it’s not going to run or turn or brake or whatever it needs to do.

“The importance of making sure that all the calibrations are correct and then the safety critical component of that to make sure that everything is correct is huge.

“Working through all of that has probably been the biggest mountain once we had all the parts on the car to test.”

#02 Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac DPi: Earl Bamber, Alex Lynn, Richard Westbrook (Photo by: Richard Dole / Motorsport Images)

Like all the OEMs, stockpiling enough spare parts has also proven difficult, leaving Cadillac wary of issues that might occur during the Roar Before the 24 test at Daytona held a week ahead of the season-opening race.

“Parts management has been a struggle,” said Klauser, “to get enough parts and to make sure that the quality is what we need.

“Especially with fielding three cars, we want to make sure we have everything for primaries, we have spares and then – God forbid something happens in the Roar – we have backups for backups.

“Some of it we’re probably going to get just before, and some we might not have backups for backups.

Insight: What the brave new world of LMDh really looks like on track

“Really, just having enough parts to field the cars successfully and working with the supply chain.

“Of course, Christmas makes things a little tricky, too. Trying to get things this time of year is a challenge, but we have a full team on it and working through it.”

Expanding on the nature of that challenge, Klauser commented: “It’s been incredible what we’ve done in a short period of time with all of the economic factors in the world that have influenced how everyone is running their businesses these days. Labor shortages, supply chain – they are real and they impact us every day.

“We have brought on some incredible young people to our programme that are just blowing us away with what they are able to do. If you say, ‘Hey, we have this problem to solve. Figure it out,’ and then give them the freedom and the ability to do what they think is right, it’s been awesome. It really is the future.

#02 Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac LMDh (Photo by: Charles Bradley)

“It’s seeing how we can mesh people with 20-plus years of experience in racing with new people who have more experience in this new software and everything we’re bringing onboard.

“You can see the mature and the up-and-coming working together and how they are learning from each other.”

Klauser also pointed out that the various car brands had combined forces in some areas, in order that they all meet the necessary race-readiness in time.

“This programme in general has really rallied all of us to work together – even across the OEMs,” she said.

“We had such compressed timelines. We have a brand-new hybrid spec system in the car.

“The chassis are all new for all of us, so we had to pool resources to get to the point where we had running cars at Daytona [in the test] and as we prepare.

“It’s the same approach for the teams. If we try to be off on different islands, we would be unable to compete. We had to work together.

“We had to swap parts back and forth to make sure cars were running. We had to share learning and, I think, necessity can be the best tool that you can have in your toolbox because there really was no other option to get this programme done than to collaborate.”

#02 Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac DPi: Earl Bamber, Alex Lynn, Richard Westbrook (Photo by: Michael L. Levitt / Motorsport Images)

Speaking of cooperation, Klauser sounded confident that the differences between LMDh and LMH will be handled competently to ensure parity when Cadillac enters the World Endurance Championship with Ganassi.

PLUS: The long road to convergence for sportscar racing's new golden age

She said: “In terms of the two platforms racing against each other, there’s been so much work that has gone into that, countless technical working groups meetings, discussions, lots of decisions that were made to try to bring parity between the two platforms. The effort has been put forward to make it happen correctly.

“Did we miss something? Maybe.

“There’s always that one thing that once you worry about all the bigger things then the little things become big things. I really applaud the effort from the two sanctioning bodies as well as the manufacturers.

“This is definitely a team sport to figure out how to get all these cars together so they can race in parity.”

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