Opening lap despair for Sims at Circuit de la Sarthe

No. 311 Cadillac V-Series.R soldiers to the finish of centenary running of 24 Hours of Le Mans

LE MANS, France (June 11, 2023) – The race was effectively over after one lap for Alexander Sims and the Whelen Engineering Cadillac team, following an incident at the exit of the Daytona Chicane.  Although Jack Aitken was able to nurse the car back to the pits, having sustained heavy suspension damage to the left-front, significant bodywork repairs needed along with parts under the car coming loose, the No. 311 Cadillac V-Series.R would re-join the race 15 laps down on the lead cars.
As the race continued, multiple downpours on different areas of the 8.45-mile course combined with nightfall to make for hazardous driving conditions, leading to numerous incidents, full-course yellows and multiple local slow zones, turning the race into a real battle of attrition.
The No. 311 along with every other car still in the race, continued to encounter further toil and trouble throughout the 24 hours, however Alexander along with teammates Pipo Derani and Jack Aitken soldiered on to finish 10th in class at the finish.
The No. 2 Cadillac V-Series.R, co-driven by Earl Bamber, Alex Lynn and Richard Westbrook, boosted by reliability, the ability to run a relatively clean race and consistent pit stops earned a well-deserved third place in the iconic endurance race.
The No. 3 Cadillac V-Series.R finished fourth after an adventurous race with Sebastien Bourdais, Renger van der Zande and Scott Dixon alternating in the seat. 
After a 21-year absence, the Cadillac crest was front and centre at Le Mans for the more than 300,000 race day spectators to see and cheer every time the 5.5-liter DOHC naturally aspirated-powered car roared past.
“Great to be back at Le Mans after 21 years and even more special as it was in the centenary year for Le Mans,” said Rory Harvey, GM North America president.  “Fantastic that all three Cadillacs finished, with the pinnacle being the No. 2 Cadillac getting on the podium. Fantastic job by all involved and proud of the team. We will take time to evaluate the race and understand how we can do even better moving forward.” 
“I couldn’t be more proud of all three Cadillacs crossing the finish line, which I think is a huge feat at this race especially considering everything that happened.  This is the busiest Le Mans that I can remember for the past few years and we were able to have such a strong finish,” said GM sports car racing program manager Laura Wontrop Klauser, who also celebrated a class victory by the Chevrolet Corvette team. “We can’t wait to be back next year and go for that top step.”
Alexander Sims: “It’s been a massive education for the whole Whelen Engineering Cadillac team. It was their first time here at Le Mans and it was a real shame that it turned out the way it did, but it was a phenomenal effort by everyone involved to get us back out in the race and ultimately to the chequered flag.
Le Mans is the ultimate test of driver, crew and car and it’s never been more so than this year.  We encountered all sorts of conditions out there over the 24 hours and you just couldn’t switch off at any point.  The car, considering the hit that it had on the opening lap, was all pointing in the right direction and I was able to put in some good laps at various points, particularly in the early hours of the morning.  The conditions were so changeable though and it was just so difficult to see and assess the surface, particularly when night fell.  I had a few spins but thankfully kept the car out of the barriers, which only goes to show the fine line between success and failure.
It would have been cool to stay out in the fight and see what we could do but it just wasn’t to be. Congratulations to the No. 2 Cadillac V-Series.R on its podium and the No. 3 Cadillac V-Series.R on finishing fourth.
Our focus immediately shifts back to the IMSA championship where we will all join back together at Watkins Glen shortly. We’re right in the championship hunt in IMSA so we’ll take the track time we got here, take the learnings from it and get straight back into that fight.”
The next IMSA Grand Touring Prototype race takes place on June 25 at Watkins Glen International.
Share this content

About Alexander Sims

The 36-year-old Corvette Racing driver has been involved in motorsport since he was 10 years old, initially racing karts before moving on to single seater, GT and Endurance racing and most recently four seasons in the all-electric FIA Formula E World Championship. With wins across the board including Spa 24 hours, Nurburgring 24 hours, Petit Le Mans and the Diriyah E Prix Sims continues to showcase his skill and race raft on the global stage.

Alongside his racing activities, Alexander is a passionate advocate for sustainable technology and electric mobility on the road, having owned and driven EVs since 2012, and aims to incorporate sustainable choices in his daily lifestyle wherever possible.