Sunday, February 28, 2010

Motorsports Style - The Cadillac Northstar LMP and LMP 02

John Marine | 2/28/2010 07:55:00 PM | |
The Cadillac Northstar LMP is one of only few Cadillacs I'm ever excited about. Granted this is a race car (as opposed to a street car), this is still a very beautiful racing car. Cadillac had two LMP racing machines. The first of which is the Northstar LMP followed by the LMP 02. So what you're getting is a double feature of Cadillac goodness. I learned about this car first in 1999 from AutoWeek magazine. I started watching the 2000 24 Hours of Daytona race. I noted this car had pretty good fuel mileage. Every time I've seen this car, I fell in love with it. Not as much as the Ferrari 333SP, but it was a very beautiful car. I would later see the second-generation LMP in the near future.

This is a blog entry about BOTH of Cadillac's Le Mans Prototypes. You're getting one blog entry on two race cars.

--- Motorsports Style: The Cadlliac Northstar LMP ---

^ from: (I honestly couldn't find a better picture from a non-commercial website)

I actually have a model car version of the Cadillac Northstar LMP. Unfortunately, I kind of screwed up the rear wing, so I have it taped up to stay in place. I remembered once seeing a commercial featuring the Cadillac Northstar LMP racing on a wet race track. Truly a sweet car. I even played around with the Caddys in "Le Mans 24 Hours" for the PlayStation 2.

Two pairs of big headlights are encased in glass on either side up front for this car. The larger of the lights is up above with smaller diameter (only slightly in comparison to the big ones) headlights. Cadillac's grill design adorned the front of this LMP race car. Big louvers are situated above the tires and blends in nicely with the rest of this car's graceful design. The canopy is somewhat like an Indy car as the driver sits on the right-hand side.

The side profile features a big side duct as well as two large brake ducts up top. The design remains graceful as a whole. There is a single roll hoop sort of like on an Indy car. On the right side of the roll hoop is the gas cap. Whereas the Ferrari 333SP I highlighted on has an elegant and fast profile, the Northstar LMP doesn't have such a graceful design for the engine cover.

The rear wing is perhaps the highest element of the car. Miniscule endplates and a trick aerodynamic package delivers lovely style to compliment the car. The wing is mounted rather low for this car.

I can only think of the Cadillac team here in the United States and the French DAMS team that have raced this car. It's one of my favorite prototypes of the 2000-2009 timeframe.

--- Cadillac LMP 02 ---

^ from:

An auto manufacturer named Audi was rocking and rolling with a car called the Audi R8 LMP, which did pretty well in its time (understatement). This car would have been Cadillac's best chance to take down Audi. Unlike the outgoing Cadillac LMP, this car possesses absolutely beautiful and gracious styling. It was just too bad this was never a car that could TRULY contend. Cadillac would go on to scrap their program to focus on making some high-performance sports cars.

This race car featured design elements that would follow for roadgoing Cadillacs. Most notably, the tall lights and sharp lines. The glass clusters featured a lovely pair of equal-size headlights. Small signal lights (or hazard?) were featured at the top corners of the headlight cluster. A miniscule front scoop up front is met with some bigger scoops further along the front of the car. More narrow louvers accentuated the areas above the tires. The same Indy car-style canopy was the office space racing drivers had for this car.

The previous Cadillac LMP had a lot of blunt edges. This one features a lot more streamlined edges with a healthy dose of style. The side ducts were now more towards the front tires rather than near the rear of the previous car. The side profile is much more elegant on this car. You get glimpses of how the headlights and tail lights look with this car. The tall tail lights also served its own outlook on style for future Cadillacs, such as the CTS, XLR, and other models. Even the brake ducts were more streamlined.

The rear wing sits lower than the previous car. The design elements suggest this car was made to take on Le Mans and its high-speed character. As previously mentioned, there were the tall tail light designs that complimented the rear.

This was just a car that never really competed to really take on the Audis. And in essence, became a glorious also-ran.

Both cars are lovely, and the only real Cadillacs I really care for. I'm easing up on road-going Cadillacs, but I am just not connecting with them style-wise. These two Cadillac prototypes are lovely machines.

(ADDED: May 29, 2011)
Even though the video is in Japanese, this video gives you a look at the Cadillac Northstar LMP:

I couldn't find anything of the Northstar LMP-02. If I do, though, I'll be sure to feature that in a future edit. Thank you for reading!

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