Cadillac’s Early IMSA Dominance May Be A Problem Sooner Rather Than Later

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Column By: JOHN DOUGLAS / RPW – VERNON, NY – Expectations were high going into this year’s IMSA Weather Tech Series season as teams in the newly formed DPi class unveiled their new machinery to do battle at the best permanent and temporary circuits in America. While to date the racing has been overall stellar from class to class, it’s hard not to notice that Cadillac has been widely out-performing the competition in the series top class.

“But we’re only three races in!” You might retort. Let’s look at those three races.

The Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona was lopsidedly in the favor of the Cadillac teams as they dominated the first endurance challenge the team faced. Although the racing itself was great, Mazda, Nissan and all others fell by the wayside early with either no pace in their cars, or mechanical issues. Relatively, the Cadillacs ran for lack of a better term, like a Swiss watch.

Fast forward to the Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring. The Cadillacs now had to deal with a bumpy temporary airport circuit that presented a whole new challenge to the team than that of Daytona. Again the Cadillacs dominated the competition. While others broke, crashed and sat in the garage, Cadillacs just kept going. Not that it really mattered. The pace of the cars alone had sealed the other team’s fates.

Now let’s look at the Toyota G.P. of Long Beach. The first true sprint race of the season, and the first temporary street circuit on the schedule. Though the Tequila Patron Nissan team led in the late stages, there was no denying that it was simply a strategy call that put them there in the first place. Did lapped traffic assist in the pass? No question. However, there is no doubt the Cadillac was the much faster car and with the rate in which the Wayne Taylor owned car closed in on the Nissan, no one thought the lead would last to the checkered flag anyway.

This is an issue going forward. Fans will not cling to the shiny new cars forever and the luster of a new class will wear off quickly if there isn’t real competition between manufacturers. That’s what Sports Car racing is all about. The real question is where does IMSA begin? Engine restrictions? Weight penalties?

I just know this. I’m glad I’m not the one who has to figure it out but someone will have to do something soon to keep the momentum in the series going. This is a golden opportunity for a new Golden Era of Sports Car racing, akin to the days of the GT-P monsters. I for one hope IMSA doesn’t squander the opportunity.

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