Imagine, if you will, a group of Cadillacs driving together. In your mind, it’s a serene, soft cruise, with the drivers enjoying the scenery, the road, and more importantly the buttery-smooth ride of their American luxury cars.
Not anymore. Many Cadillacs, like the CTS-V, include a viciously powerful engine, not to mention suspension and braking components designed for maximum performance. These machines need the apex of a mind-bending corner to reach their limits and the purity of a race-track to fulfill their purpose.
That’s the main reason Cadillac enthusiasts, as well as tuning group D3 Racing, have partnered to create the Cadillac Challenge. It’s the first Cadillac-exclusive race that allows owners to compete with one another in a “Time-Attack” format. David Caldwell, a PR representative from Cadillac, said “There are certain cars that compel their owners to drive them to the fullest extent. I think that’s how this idea and series was conceived for CTS-V drivers.”
The race takes place in a few locations across the U.S. West coast, and puts all cars on the track at the same time. Each driver races for their best time, and prizes are awarded to the fastest drivers.
According to James Gill of the D3 Group, which is helping sponsor the Cadillac Challenge, owners need a platform to help tap into the potential of their cars. Gill says that, “Cadillac built a car that catered to enthusiasts. Theses enthusiasts can’t get enough.” So what’s a Cadillac enthusiast to do? Gill has the answer: “put something together that would allow them to enjoy their cars in a controlled setting.”
The D3 Group, it should be pointed out, makes aftermarket parts for Cadillac vehicles. This series could do quite a lot to prove the effectiveness of their product, and can help validate the brand’s overall performance and engineering advantage.
“[Cadillac] is the only American performance luxury brand that has this much momentum now.” Gill said after noting the upcoming ATS “Cadillac’s future is strong, and every good brand needs a platform to showcase its goods.” He’s got a point. You don’t (and won’t) see a Lincoln or Buick racing series anytime soon.
The Cadillac Challenge series offers participants the opportunity to pick how far they want to go with their car. Gill explains to us “There are rules and regulations in place to make the event ultra-competitive and help level the playing field”
We wondered what happens if a car is fully decked out in, say, D3 Groups modifications?
“If someone wants to enter with a full blown Cadillac race car, they could certainly do so,” said Gill. “There would be points and time added to their quickest lap to reflect the modifications done and the added advantage such modifications provide.”
The competition begins this month at Autoclub Speedway in Fontana, Calif ., starting on February 24 and 25, and there will be an event just about every month until December. With a bit more interest the Cadillac Challenge could become something bigger. Gill says, “Once the series grows to the point where it can hold Cup races like Viper & Porsche, then yes, it would morph into something along those lines.”
As new as this unique track format for Cadillac owners is, it’s hardly the first time in recent history Cadillacs have taken to the road courses of America. The CTS-V sedan competed in the GT Class of the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) World Challenge series, capturing the Manufacturer’s Championship in 2005 and 2007 and the Driver’s Championship in 2005. Now, a new CTS-V Coupe is taking its place in the series. Cadillac Challenge participants will likely keep that in mind while throwing their cars around the track.
It’s also worth noting that the current CTS-V once held the record as the fastest sedan around the Nurburgring, and was the first four-door to run a sub-eight minute lap.
The Cadillac Challenge hasn’t gone unnoticed by the manufacturer either. Caldwell from Cadillac said, “It’s great to see the Cadillac V-Series inspire this kind of enthusiasm from its owners and admirers.” He also added that they’re excited about the new series. “This series brings a new element to Cadillac, inspired by the technology and performance of the CTS-V. It’s great for owners to have a new way to appreciate and enjoy them.”
For more information and to register, visit www.cadillacrace.com. Prices for competing vary from track to track but generally cost in the area of $150-$200.