Chip Ganassi Racing heads to this weekend’s 24 Hours of Le Mans with the aim of making history, seeking their maiden overall victory in Cadillac’s first time returning to the series since 2002.
The American outfit is fielding two entries in the Hypercar class, which continues to grow with an impressive 16 competitors in this year’s event. They have never won the overall race, which is considered one of the pinnacles of the sport.
Full-time World Endurance Championship competitor Earl Bamber lines up in the No. 2 V-Series.R Cadillac with Richard Westbrook and Alex Lynn, while Scott Dixon joins the IMSA-based No. 3 V-Series.R with Sebastien Bourdais and Renger van der Zande.
Bamber has won the iconic race twice, first in 2015 driving Porsche Team’s 919 Hybrid with Nico Hulkenberg and Nick Tandy, and then again two years later with compatriot Brendon Hartley and German Timo Bernhard.
“It’s exciting to see the talent we have at Cadillac Racing, and I’m looking forward to going to Le Mans,” says Bamber. “It’s going to be tough, but we’re definitely closing the gap to Toyota and Ferrari step by step, and the endurance and performance testing we have done has been important.
“You have to run a clean race and have good pit stops at Le Mans to have a chance at victory. I said it at Daytona that if that car was at Le Mans, it would have won because we had a clean race and a quick car. That’s what we need to repeat when we go to Le Mans, and I think this group is building towards it.”
Dixon has competed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans four times. However, this year’s event will be his first gunning for overall victory. His best result in the race came in 2016 with Chip Ganassi Racing, who fielded a Ford GT in the GTE Proc class. Dixon was joined by Westbrook and Ryan Briscoe that year.
“I’m excited to go back to Le Mans. It’s been a few years and my first time to go in the premier class,” said the IndyCar veteran. “Competing with the Hypercar brings a totally different level to it. It’s a difficult race, and having the opportunity to win with the Cadillac is very special.”
Chip Ganassi’s six-driver lineup holds nearly 50 starts in the race between them, with three of those drivers having experienced success at Le Mans.
The No.2 V-Series.R, shared by Bamber, Westbrook and Lynn, was driven to fourth in the 1000 Miles of Sebring and 6 Hours of Portimao earlier this year before a fifth-placed finish in the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps last time out.
The IMSA-based No. 3 entry of van der Zande and Bourdais won last month at Laguna Seca, with the pair sitting fourth in the standings after four rounds. Dixon joined the duo for this year’s 24 Hours of Daytona, where they finished third, and the 12 Hours of Sebring, where they failed to finish after catching fire.
The No.3 ventured to Europe for April’s 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, which saw van der Zande spectacularly wreck at the top of Eau Rogue after just 40 laps of running.
New Zealander Brendon Hartley is also competing in this year’s race for Toyota Gazoo Racing.
Coverage of the 24 Hours of Le Mans begins at 1.00 am this Sunday and concludes at 3.00 am on Monday. The race will be shown live, in full, on Sky Sport 5.