Sebastien Bourdais, Renger van der Zande, Pipo Derani and Alexander Sims Will Pilot the Cadillac V-LMDh Prototype in 2023
By Mark Robinson
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Three familiar, winning names in Cadillac’s prototype program will be joined by another IMSA winner when the GM marque embarks on its Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) endeavor in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship next season.
Cadillac named the four full-season drivers who will wheel the two Cadillac V-LMDh entries when the new version of the GTP class makes its debut in 2023. Sebastien Bourdais and Renger van der Zande will share the car fielded by Chip Ganassi Racing, where they currently drive the No. 01 Cadillac Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R in the Daytona Prototype international (DPi) class that’s being succeeded by GTP next year. Pipo Derani, the 2021 DPi champion for Action Express Racing (AXR) in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac, will pair with versatile, veteran racer Alexander Sims in AXR’s GTP entry.
Additional drivers for the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup races, as well as the lineup for Cadillac’s entry in the FIA World Endurance Championship’s Hypercar class, will be named later.
“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.”
Sims will make his IMSA prototype debut in the Rolex 24 At Daytona in January, but he already boasts a winning pedigree in WeatherTech Championship competition. The 34-year-old from London collected five wins with BMW Team RLL in the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class in 2018 and ’19, including victories at the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen and Motul Petit Le Mans. He drove in three endurance races for Corvette Racing last year, including a runner-up Rolex 24 GTLM finish in the No. 4 Corvette C8.R with co-drivers Nick Tandy and Tommy Milner.
“I’m excited to be racing back in IMSA fulltime and to be driving the Cadillac V-LMDh,” said Sims, who also has one FIA Formula E victory to his credit. “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. 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.”
Derani, who has 11 career wins with six coming in a Cadillac DPi since 2019, said being named a Cadillac factory driver “is a dream come true.”
“I’ve been with Action Express Racing since 2019,” he added, “and we’ve developed a great relationship in terms of knowing each other really well, working together and understanding from each other what we need to succeed. It’s a big pleasure to be staying on with Action Express and a big pleasure to be representing the Cadillac brand that has given me most of my wins and championships in the DPi era.”
Bourdais and van der Zande have earned three DPi wins this season in their first year as co-drivers. Bourdais is eager to carry on the partnership and get the Cadillac V-LMDh ready for 2023 competition.
“The development has started on the new car and we’re trying to take it to as many places as possible, and I’ve been I’ve been a part of that since the beginning,” Bourdais said. “It’s something I very much enjoy, developing a new car. It’s a bit like a new baby. You kind of put your mark on it and give your feedback and dream to develop it in a way where you feel one with the car.
“We have a very strong base and Cadillac and Dallara have done a great job. It’s a very exciting program and a very exciting new era for endurance racing.”
Cadillac will compete against Acura, BMW and Porsche in the GTP class in 2023, with Lamborghini to join the following year.