2023 iRacing Season 3 kicks off next week, and with the new build that released on Tuesday (6th June), the new Cadillac V-Series.R GTP was introduced to go against the existing BMW M Hybrid V8 in GTP class competition.
These two cars, along with an Acura and a Porsche, go against one another in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship series in their GTP class in real-world racing action.
So far in 2023, iRacing has been able to provide top level GTP racing in many of their Special Events with the BMW, such as the Daytona 24 and the Sebring 12. Now with the Caddy, there’s a choice for which GTP beast to take to the track. That will be the case when the VCO Watkins Glen 6HR event takes place in just over a week.
This season, I’ve been getting my hands on the BMW GTP in a league called SimCar on Thursday nights. I don’t claim to be the fastest driver, but drivers such as Blake Reynolds (former eNASCAR driver) and Flinn Lazier (Buddy Lazier’s son, up-and-coming open wheel talent) share the track with me in those GTP rides.
How does the new Cadillac V-Series R GTP stack up? I pinned it against the BMW M Hybrid V8 at Watkins Glen for an hour of testing, and here’s what I found out.
Cadillac had that pure American Luxury swagger
There’s a meme that exists out there with Jeremy Clarkson, where he points at a red Ford Fiesta and proclaims “this is brilliant”, but then in the next panel, he points to an adjacent Volkswagen Up and states “but I like this”.
I’m sure you’ve seen it before, and that’s exactly how I feel about the Cadillac and the BMW.
The BMW is a pleasure to drive, but in the way it looks, feels and sounds, I have to give all the points to the Cadillac. I took them both to Watkins Glen in the same conditions. I attempted to use the same custom setup that I had previously used at the track in the BMW, but as it turns out, BMW sets won’t be compatible on a Caddy.
Defeated, I put in a stock setup, the Daytona set, and took to the track. Obviously these cars haven’t been BoP-ped for this purpose, and they likely will be to make things more comparable in the upcoming VCO Watkins Glen 6HR, but the difference was staggering. While the times were similar, the cars seemed completely different.
Perhaps the thing you notice immediately is the way these cars sound. The Cadillac GTP is about two octaves lower than the BMW M Hybrid. It’s so throaty, it sounds like it has that deep power off the bat.
It threw me off with my shifting points at first. The BMW whines but doesn’t seem to change pitch as much as the Cadillac, so without looking at my rev lights, I would shift much earlier, not letting it completely wind out the gear. Once I figured that out, my times improved.
I tried this at a whole host of tracks too, to see how the sound was in different environments. It’s just always beefy and sounds so good to the ears.
Speaking of times, they were near identical on my best laps. I ran slightly faster times with the Cadillac, but rewatching those laps, it was cool to see the variation. The Cadillac had more top end speed, reaching about 188 to 190 mph at the fastest point of the track, entering the bus stop. As for the BMW, it was around 185 mph there.
Where the BMW made up its time in comparison was in acceleration and the corners, it seemed. The BMW had shorter shifts, which meant it got up to speed a little faster, and it was able to maintain a higher corner speed. Still the Cadillac’s pace was just slightly higher at this particular track.
Had I tested a track like Jerez, for example, the BMW would have likely been a bit quicker for the same reasons.
Having about a full season of BMW M Hybrid racing under my belt, it was like I turned on easy mode when I started driving in the Cadillac on Tuesday. It just feels good. I felt like I could attack the corners better, in entry and exit, without the jitters that the BMW had plagued me with all season long.
Maybe easier isn’t the better word, but more fun would be a good alternate. It was still difficult to get everything out of the car, and perhaps that’s just from a lack of practice.
Yesterday, I also took the car for some hot laps at the new Willow Springs track, a place I’m familiar with through Gran Turismo 7. It just felt perfect, but there were so many points of the track, such as up by the Budweiser Balcony and through the ensuing Turn 5 into Monroe Ridge that I just felt like I couldn’t capitalize on the car.
My overall thought is that this car is truly something special. The BMW is still a fantastic car in its own right, and there are going to be many who continue to use it in future events. However, I’ll be telling my teammates later this week that our operations will be moving to the Cadillac stables going forward.