IMSA: Andy Blackmore's Cadillac DPi styling review

IMSA: Andy Blackmore's Cadillac DPi styling review


IMSA: Andy Blackmore's Cadillac DPi styling review


Vehicle stylist and racecar livery specialist Andy Blackmore offers his insights on the styling cues involved with Cadillac’s DPi-V.R Daytona Prototype international car.

Andy Blackmore’s Mazda DPi styling review

The Cadillac is the more aggressive of the two DPis currently shown. Cadillac road car design language over the past few decades has been forward-thinking and distinctive with aggressive, angled geometric form, with narrow, tall lighting.

The base car is a Dallara P2 and until we see more detailed shows of the standard non-DPi Dallara, it’s harder to guess which parts are specific to Cadillac.

The Cadillac team has completed a very good job throughout its DPi-V.R. the car shown in the launch is unmistakably its own and aggressive.

So, now onto some of the smaller points:

1 – As with the Mazda, the splitter is visually imposing. Unlike Mazda, Cadillac chose to show the car with dive planes.

2 – The headlamps are the main styling feature of the car and they are keeping with the Cadillac design language with the vertical LED lighting graphic. The hard upright form of the front fender also follows the Cadillac look, although this is also the trend with other prototypes. Compare this with the Mazda, though, and the differences are clear.

At the rear, a thin band of vertical red LEDs on the rear edge of the rear wing end plates will tie into the design language seen on the rear of many production Cadillacs on the road.

3 – One of my favorite features is the line which runs from the mirror, down to the floor, picked out in red.

4 – Compared to the Mazda RT24-P DPis, individual teams – Wayne Taylor Racing and Action Express Racing – will run these cars, so come Daytona, expect them to trade the black Cadillac liveries for those used by WTR and AXR.

This will dilute the look of the car and it’s hard (but not impossible) to see the Cadillac crest graphic being retained on the Big Honkin’ Fin, which is prime real estate. More likely would be to keep these flashes of the crest on the aerodynamic fins by the sidepod. In recent years, the old Corvette DPs ran with Corvette and Chevy logos on their cars, and as an additional example, privateer Ligiers have to run with mandatory Ligier branding. Time will tell if the Cadillac crest will be featured on the DPi-V.Rs.

5 – Hard form again with the sculpting of the rear fender, at odds with Mazda’s approach, but closer to the WEC prototype grid.

6 – These wheels are pure bling, but also what a Cadillac needs!

7 – The rear wing endplate is integrated into the rear bodywork similar to Porsche’s 919 Hybrid LMP1 car.

8 – As mentioned, the crest on the Big Honkin’ Fin is striking on the launch livery, but will it survive? I hope so. Compared with previous graphics, Cadillac has limited its palette with the omission of yellow. Is this so it works with the blue and black of Wayne Taylor Racing, perhaps?

9 – One thing which needs to survive is the cockpit window “graphic.” Recent trends have seen this graphic stylized and not necessarily follow the actual window openings for the cockpit. The chrome stripe with the acute angle by the fuel filler really helps the success of the Cadillac styling. It will be a shame if this isn’t retained by the teams come race season. The red key line at the top could be harder to incorporate, depending on team sponsorship.

10 – This view shows the angled feature of the nose, which helps with the Cadillac look.

11 – I’m a little surprised there wasn’t some chrome, or at least a hint of Cadillac grille on the front, but this would have been hard to incorporate into the form. As with the Mazda, a wide lower underwing intake is located beneath the nose.

Visually, the success of the Cadillac will be down to how the teams manage to implement the Cadillac graphics and decals. It has a danger of ending up looking like a Dallara with different headlamps without the many subtle details incorporated into the launch car.

For me, the DPi-V.R form may not be as striking as the Mazda, but it’s more contemporary and its similarities to other P2 machines may be the result of a strong reliance on wind tunnel data. The first race of the new season is rapidly approaching, which means we will soon know which DPi concept has achieved the best balance of making a visual impression while out-running the opposition.