Chip Ganassi Racing will expand its factory Cadillac IMSA DPi program to two cars next season.
RACER understands the expansion to two cars in 2022 is part of a long-term plan between Cadillac and CGR; the General Motors luxury and performance brand is said to be readying the confirmation of its 2023 LMDh program leading into the August 21-22 running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. It’s believed CGR will be among Cadillac’s anchor teams in the hybrid LMDh wars with multiple cars—possibly spread across IMSA and FIA World Endurance Championship campaigns—when the new formula debuts.
Asked to confirm the move to two DPis, a team representative declined to comment, but did acknowledge a driver evaluation test will be held after the August 8 IMSA race at Road America.
In light of what CGR’s LMDh future is meant to hold, getting a head start by ramping up to two cars next season, hiring the necessary crew and engineering staff to support the effort, and building chemistry with additional drivers will give the team and manufacturer ample time to ready themselves for what lies ahead in 2023.
A late addition to the Cadillac DPi-V.R stable after Wayne Taylor Racing switched to Acura during the offseason, CGR was immediately competitive with the 5.5-liter V8-powered prototype in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship as a factory presence for the brand. DPi champion Renger van der Zande and new teammate Kevin Magnussen won last month’s race a Detroit, and with the contributions of six-time NTT IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon at the endurance rounds, the No. 01 Cadillac holds fourth in the standings with four events left on the calendar.
Magnussen is set to leave at the end of the year for a new role with the Peugeot LMH program, so CGR will need to replace the Dane for 2022 and find more talent to pilot the second Cadillac DPi-V.R. One or more current or recent IndyCar drivers are expected to be on the team’s short list for DPi consideration.
Additionally, with Mazda readying its exit from DPi in October, the second CGR Cadillac will help IMSA to cover that loss from the entry list. It’s unclear whether any of Mazda’s factory drivers would be on CGR’s short list.
It has been a busy year of growth and contraction within CGR. A new, fourth, full-time NTT IndyCar Series entry for seven-time NASCAR Cup champion Jimmie Johnson and 2013 Indy 500 winner Tony Kanaan was added alongside the IMSA program and a new Extreme E electric off-road campaign. Counter to those three programs, CGR announced the sale of its NASCAR outfit, which will become the new shop and infrastructure behind Trackhouse Racing’s rapid rise in stock car racing when the 2022 season arrives.