Cadillac Northstar LMP

The Cadillac Northstar LMP was a series of Le Mans Prototypes, by the Cadillac division of General Motors for use in the American Le Mans Series and as an attempt to return the Cadillac brand in the 24 - hour race at Le Mans was built. Cadillac took part in the race at Le Mans for the first time part 1950. The Northstar LMP was named after the new GM Northstar V8 engine, which they drive. This Cadillac project ran from 2000 to 2002. Then GM decided to abandon it and focus instead on the use of the Chevrolet Corvette.

  • 2.1 2000
  • 2.2 2001
  • 2.3 2002



GM decided during the planning for the Cadillac program that unlike the Corvette program in the early years of competition use any completely new vehicles should be built. Instead, GM went out of an already established chassis and set its own motor, which it so long wanted to fine-tune until he at Le Mans not only survive, but could also suggest the dominant Audi R8. GM turned to this purpose at Riley & Scott, designers of the successful Mark III chassis. GM used the base chassis of the Mark III, but developed its own body. The new design showed elements of the new Art & Science design of Cadillac, such as a functional grille in the box design of the vehicle front and large side air scoops for the turbocharger.

A highly refined 650 bhp ( 478 kW) version of the Northstar engine was initially used by the GM racing division for the Indy Racing League in 1995; From 2000 he was employed in the Northstar LMP program. The two engines had 4.0 liters, but the version for Northstar LMP had two turbochargers. The motor for the Northstar LMP was based on a smaller 4.0L version of the Northstar, which was used in Cadillac - series vehicles, had the code number and L47 was installed in the Oldsmobile Aurora. It was adapted in 1995 to meet the requirements of racing in the Indy Racing League, but now carefully revised, so that not only increased the maximum performance, but has also been paid to stability. McLaren assisted GM in the development of the new racing machine and IHI delivered the two turbochargers, which should improve performance yield.

A total of six cars were built in 2000, two of which went to the team of Cadillac in the U.S., three of DAMS to France and remained as a test vehicle at the factory.


For 2001, the Northstar LMP was further developed in order to better compete against the Audi R8 can. The new cars are still based on the chassis of Riley & Scott, but got a completely new body, which was designed by Nigel Stroud. They used a more angular approach, especially on the side parts that were no longer simply horizontally - flat, but were pulled down and forward to the wheel arches of the front wheels. The air intakes were moved from the sides of the vehicle in the wheel wells, so the new outlets could be secured from the wheel arches on the new side panels. Also, the grille has been revised and lose his own function.

Beside the body was little changed on the new cars that were called Northstar LMP01. Two of the cars from 2000 were fitted with new 201er bodies and a car was completely rebuilt.


After Cadillac had spent two years with the development of the Northstar V8 engine, they used the year 2002 to introduce their new, purpose-built chassis. The Northstar LMP02 based no longer on the construction of Riley & Scott, but was an designed by Nigel Stroud, completely different vehicle. Although he took some aerodynamic details from Northstar LMP01, but was even more angular design. The most striking feature was the raised airbox at the front of the vehicle, which allowed the entry of air into the center of the vehicle and no non-functional grille longer needed. The air outlets on the side were also reduced to a minimum, so that the entire structure appeared much smoother.

In the engine compartment of the Northstar V8 has been slightly modified; new Garrett loader replaced the old turbocharger IHI. The X -Trac gearbox had a pneumatically operated circuit.

A total of three chassis for the Northstar LMP02 emerged.

Racing history


For the debut of Cadillac in 2000, GM decided to have two teams competing in various competitions in order to achieve a better preparation for Le Mans. Riley & Scott left his factory teams in the American Le Mans Series under the name 'Team Cadillac run '', while the team DAMS from France was competing in European sports car racing a privateer team.

The 24 - hour race at Daytona was the first race of the year in which the team used his two Cadillac cars. Like their counterparts from Team Corvette the Northstar LMP talked well at the beginning and used in qualifying the second and third place. In the race, the car ran quite well, but fell due to technical problems almost 100 laps behind the leading GTs back. Although a car lost its transmission at the last second, both cars were able to finish the race and took positions 13 and 14, this race was followed by the 12 - hour race at Sebring, wherein both the Team Cadillac and the DAMS team launched, Cadillac with two cars and a DAMS. Both teams had trouble. When DAMS car failed at the beginning the clutch and a wagon team of Cadillac was involved in an accident. The third Northstar LMP but finished the race in a promising 6th place, albeit 29 laps behind the winning Audi R8.

Back in Europe, DAMS sat for the first time two cars in a race, and indeed in the first race of the Le Mans Series. The team brought a seventh and an eighth place home, only three laps behind the winner Ferrari 333SP. In the following race a DAMS car took a fourth place, the other could not finish the race. At that time, the American Le Mans Series, their first race in Europe. DAMS started with two cars instead of Team Cadillac and reached fifth place in Silverstone. DAMS reappeared in the World Sportscar Championship, before they went to Le Mans, but none of the cars managed to finish the race.

The Team Cadillac on the other hand said that tests would work better for the Northstar LMP and did not return to the American Le Mans Series returns, before flying to the 24- hour race at Le Mans. The car lacked practical applications, in order to compete with the big teams in their class. Even if one of the DAMS car reached a ninth place in qualifying, his colleague was able to provide only the 20th - fastest lap time. So no team in the race result was achieved and only three Northstar LMP could finish the race, on disappointing squares 19, 21 and 22

After race at Le Mans took DAMS at the second race of the American Le Mans Series in Europe and arrived in fifth place at the Nurburgring. Back in America, the team Cadillac again took part in the race and sent a single car to the Portland International Raceway, where he was able to get a eighth place. DAMS came for the Petit Le Mans race also back to the U.S.; the use of four Cadillac cars brought better results. All of the cars were able to finish the race and reached the places 6, 7, 8 and 13 The Team Cadillac yet reached a seventh place at Laguna Seca before it withdrew its car for this season. At the race in Las Vegas they did not participate. DAMS entered for the last time this year at the Adelaide Street Circuit in Australia, but only reached the seats 19 and 20

At the end of the season DAMS reached because of the factory testing of the Cadillac team in the American Le Mans Series seventh place, while the team was eighth Cadillac only. In addition DAMS reached an eighth place in the World Sportscar Championship.


GM opted for a change of strategy in the new season. Cadillac should be prepared only with factory tests on the 24 - hour race at Le Mans and DAMS compete with two cars in the other races. The Team Cadillac should support them in their efforts, but participate only after the race at Le Mans at the American Le Mans Series, there were then plant tests with the Northstar LMP01 no longer necessary because GM already the all-new Northstar LMP02 knew in development.

At Le Mans the cars of DAMS showed the speed potential of the Northstar V8 with an eighth place in qualifying, before the new Bentley EXP Speed ​​8, two of the Chrysler LMP and the Panoz team. At the race had a Northstar LMP01 after an accident in the first few hours are taken out of the race, but the other could be compared with the results of the previous year to improve to 15th place.

After his return to the United States, the Cadillac team competed in the American Le Mans Series with the race at Sears Point. Both cars had problems and faced the places 12 and 24 The race in Portland was left out and stepped on the Mosport International Raceway again. There, the team achieved the best result ever achieved score for that race car, a third and a fourth. According to a seventh and an eighth place at Mid-Ohio, the car reached a fourth and a fifth place at Laguna Seca and the last race of the season a fourth and a fifth place at Petit Le Mans. Although Cadillac had only participated in the half- season in the competition, the team achieved a fourth place in the team competition this year.


With the all- new Northstar LMP02 Cadillac, the team prepared again before the 24- hour race at Le Mans. The Team DAMS took no further part in the project, so the U.S. team wore the entire burden of the development of the new car. Again, it was decided to carry out only factory tests before Le Mans, although Cadillac should compete in the 12 Hours of Sebring this year.

The season started in Sebring not good at the Northstar LMP02. A car retired shortly before the end of the race with any error in the electronics, while the remaining cars took only a disappointing 31st place. At Le Mans, the Cadillac again showed their potential through the eight and tenth fastest time in qualifying, where they beat both an Audi and a Bentley. In the race itself the Northstar LMP02 confirmed the hopes placed in it, as they were most of the time in the top ten. Finally, Cadillac was able to enter the ranks 9 and 12, the best result since the start of their deployment in Le Mans.

Back in the United States ended a Cadillac the race in Washington DC fourth, one lap behind the winner. Trois- Rivières was from one and reached a third and a sixth place at Mosport, followed by a third place at Laguna Seca. The best ever achieved for the Northstar result, there was in the streets of Miami, where a LMP02 with drivers JJ Lehto and Max Angelelli took second place, just 14 seconds behind the leading Audi, won. In the last race of the year, Petit Le Mans, there was a third and a fourth place for Cadillac. Again, it was the team succeeded with a bet of only half the season to achieve an impressive fifth place in the team standings in the American Le Mans Series.

GM announced in late 2002 that the Cadillac project would not continue in 2003. It was thought that the program for GM had achieved what it should achieve, and there was therefore in favor of the more successful Chevrolet Corvette program on. GM did not offer the Northstar LMP the private drivers for sale, but retained all the cars themselves

In 2009, GM decided to sell some prototypes from their museum. Thus, the Cadillac LMP was No. 8 (, chassis 02-002 ) first sold to a private operator.


History of Chassis

There were a total of seven Northstar LMP ( Riley & Scott) and Northstar LMP01 built, as well as three other Northstar LMP02. Team Cadillac and DAMS team were allowed to use as the only car in this race.

No LMP 00-001

  • Development prototype, never used in a race

No LMP 00-002

  • 2000 ( DAMS )
  • Destroyed in a fire at Le Mans, replaced by No. LMP 00-006

No LMP 00-003

  • 2000 ( Team Cadillac )

No LMP 00-004

  • 2000 ( Team Cadillac )
  • 2001 ( Team Cadillac )

No LMP 00-005

  • 2000 ( DAMS )

No LMP 00-006

  • 2000 ( DAMS )
  • 2001 ( Team Cadillac )

No LMP 00-007

  • 2001 ( DAMS )

No LMP 02-001

  • 2002 ( Team Cadillac )

No LMP 02-002

  • 2002 ( Team Cadillac )

No LMP 02-003

  • 2002 ( Team Cadillac )

= ALMS American Le Mans Series GARRC = Grand- Am series SRWC = FIA World Sportscar Championship