As Cadillac seeks to continue its rich heritage of winning on the racetrack in an exciting new era of IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship prototype racing, reigning IMSA DPi Driver Champion Pipo Derani will be paired with multi-faceted British driver Alexander Sims in the Cadillac V-LMDh prepared by Action Express Racing.
Also competing in the nine-race Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) schedule for 2023 are Renger van der Zande and Sebastien Bourdais, who will continue as teammates in the Chip Ganassi Racing-prepared sister Cadillac V-LMDh.
“The new GTP class is set to create some of the most exciting competition in decades,” said Rory Harvey, Vice President Global Cadillac. “We look forward to seeing our world-class driver lineup in the Cadillac V-LMDh and we welcome Alexander Sims to Cadillac.”
Codeveloped by Cadillac Design, Cadillac Racing and chassis manufacturer Dallara, the Cadillac V-LMDh race car features an all-new Cadillac 5.5-liter DOHC V-8 engine developed by GM’s Performance and Racing propulsion team based in Pontiac, Michigan, which is paired to the LMDh spec energy recovery system to serve as Cadillac’s first hybrid prototype.
Sims will make his IMSA prototype racing debut at Daytona International Speedway in the Cadillac V-LMDh but is already a member of the GM family, having been a part of the Chevrolet Corvette C8.R entry in 2021 for the Rolex 24 At Daytona — finishing second in the GTLM class to the sister Corvette — the Twelve Hours of Sebring, the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the season-ending Petit Le Mans. He recorded the fastest race laps in class at Le Mans and the Petit Le Mans.
Sims rejoined the No. 64 Corvette team this past June for the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The entry earned the pole in the GTE Pro class. Previously, he recorded five victories and nine podium finishes in 25 IMSA GTLM races in 2017-18.
“I’m excited to be racing back in IMSA full time and to be driving the Cadillac V-LMDh. It’s an impressive piece of kit. I had a good couple of years with Corvette doing some GT racing, which brought me back to the IMSA paddock,” said Sims, who competed against Derani in Formula 3. “It’s racing that I absolutely adore. The format of the racing, the competitiveness, the tracks that we go to are brilliant.
“To be stepping across within the GM family to Cadillac in the top tier of racing with Action Express, which is a championship-winning team, is exciting for me.”
Sims and Derani recently participated in development sessions of the Cadillac V-LMDh at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta and Watkins Glen International.
Looking ahead to the new season, Derani commented; “To be moving on to a bigger step and representing the brand as a factory driver starting in 2023 is great and a story that continues to grow into great things. I hope we can continue to achieve fantastic results and to keep Cadillac on the top step where it belongs. Alexander has lots of experience with electric and hybrid vehicles, which will add a lot to our team. We don’t have the luxury with the development of the new car to go through an adaptation time. We need to hit the ground running and Alexander will allow us to do just that.”
Alexander continued; “I’m excited to be racing back in IMSA full time and to be driving the Cadillac V-LMDh. Over the last couple of years with Corvette I’ve gotten to know (GM sports car racing program manager) Laura Klauser and others within the GM motorsports family, and they have been brilliant to work with. To be able to continue that relationship while now working day in and day out with Action Express is a great feeling and I’m looking forward to the future. My last few years have been in Formula E, so from a technical perspective I hope I can bring some of that experience into this hybrid era of sports car racing. I’ve looked up to Pipo for many years in the level of racing that he’s been able to win in. It’s a lovely opportunity for me to be getting back to the racing that I love and doing it alongside him. We raced in F3 together, so we’ve always been battling against each other, and I’ve always had a deep respect for what he does. Really looking forward to working with him. To be able to have a solid testing program is important from an engineering and technical perspective, but just as important from the human side is to spend some time getting to know each other in less pressure situations.”
The 2023 IMSA season begins with the 61st Rolex 24 At Daytona on Jan. 28-29.