As Cadillac celebrated its 100th birthday in 2002, one of the first presents to be unwrapped was the all-new Cadillac Northstar Le Mans Prototype (LMP). With an aerodynamic new body design, an updated engine package and a performance-driven team, the second-generation Cadillac LMP 02 represented a bold break from the past for young Team Cadillac.
"Very seldom in racing can you talk about a program in its third year and say that you have an all-new race car, but that is exactly the case with the Cadillac LMP 02," said Herb Fishel, executive director of GM Racing. "The Cadillac LMP 02 marks a new beginning for Team Cadillac with a state-of-the-art race car.
"We recognize that Cadillac faces formidable and experienced opponents in the top tier of international endurance racing," Fishel noted. "Now after seeing what Team Cadillac has created, we are optimistic that the 2002 Cadillac LMP will be a credible contender in this fiercely competitive arena. And once you can race side-by-side with the competition, you can begin to look forward to beating them."
Designed under the direction of GM Racing by Nigel Stroud, the Cadillac LMP's carbon fiber monocoque chassis and suspension components were fabricated in Brackley, England, and assembled at the team's headquarters near Atlanta. An extensive testing program led up to the 24 Hours of Le Mans on June 15-16, 2002. The Cadillac LMP 02 also competed in selected American Le Mans Series events in North America.
"The new Cadillac LMP 02 is the culmination of a deliberate step-by-step process," said Jeff Kettman, GM Racing Cadillac LMP program manager. "In the first year of the program, we learned about the level of competition we faced. In the second year, we focused on collecting data and accumulating experience while racing a highly modified LMP 01 chassis. Now in the third year of this program, we are introducing the new Cadillac Northstar LMP 02 - a car that incorporates the lessons we have learned and embodies the knowledge we have gained."
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