The Cadillac V-Series.R LMDh took pole for the race last weekend and was the fastest GTP class car in each of the four practice sessions this week, but Bourdais insisted that it is unlikely to be the car to have in the all-important final stages of the race.
“We’re plenty quick on outright pace: we can do a quick lap, we’ve seen that in all the sessions and in qualifying,” said Bourdais, who races the #1 Ganassi-run Cadillac Racing entry together with full-season team-mate Renger van der Zande and IndyCar stars Scott Dixon and Alex Palou.
“But we have the lightest car and therefore the least powerful car, and we know that at Daytona power is king.
“Power has a big effect on the dynamic of the race, particularly in the closing stages.”
Bourdais outlined concerns about what he called the “raceability” of the car in the last hour when Daytona traditionally boils down to a sprint between the remaining cars on the lead lap after the final safety-car period.
“So many times we’ve seen Daytona come down a shoot-out over the last 30 minutes or so, and in that scenario power is what you want,” he said.
“It is probably the car with the most power that is going to come out on top – and that’s not us.”
IMSA does not publish top speeds on the 3.56-mile Daytona International Speedway, but Bourdais believes that the Cadillac is lacking in that respect against at least some of its rivals.
“In the interactions I’ve had with the other cars out on circuit we know we aren’t so good in terms of top speed,” he explained.
Photo by: Alexander Trienitz
#3 Cadillac Racing Cadillac V-Series.R of Sebastien Bourdais, Renger Van Der Zande
“The Porsche looks really strong: a few times I’ve been in the draft, popped out to try to overtake, and then I’ve had nothing for them and had to pull back in.”
Cadillac’s V-Series.R is running at the LMDh base weight of 1030kg under the Balance of Performance at Daytona.
That compares with 1072kg for the Acura ARX-06, 1051kg for the Porsche 963 and 1031kg for the BMW M Hybrid V8 at the opening round of the 2024 IMSA season.
But the Caddy is permitted a maximum power output of 510kW or 684bhp, less than the 520kW (697bhp) for the Acura, 519kW (696bhp) for the Porsche and 514kW (689bhp) for the BMW.
The two Cadillacs will start the 62nd running of the early-season Daytona endurance classic from the front row.
Pipo Derani took pole for the Action Express Racing team by just seven hundredths from Bourdais.
The race starts at 13:40 local time in Florida.