2025 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing ‘Le Monstre’ limited edition celebrates Le Mans


We just wrote about Cadillac Racing in the doldrums in the World Endurance Championship, the automaker sitting next-to-last in the World Endurance Championship’s manufacturer’s standings. The factory-backed V-Series.R found its mojo at this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, though, the #2 and #3 cars qualifying second and third on the Hypercar grid only after Penske Porsche driver Kevin Estre blitzed a surprising end-of-session lap to take pole. A happy coincidence for Cadillac, which chose Le Mans to launch two new entries in its Collector Series dedicated to the brand’s first competitive appearance at La Sarthe, when racing legend Briggs Cunningham developed two versions of the Cadillac Series 61 coupe to contest Le Mans in 1950. The French public nicknamed both of them, one called Le Monstre, one called Petit Pataud (“Little Clumsy”). They’re now honored with the 2025 CT5-V Blackwing Le Monstre and CT4-V Blackwing Petit Pataud. 

(From 2017, the Cadillac DPi-V.R Prototype IMSA racer, Le Monstre, and Petite Pataud)

Note, Cunningham entered as a privateer — Cadillac had nothing to do with either car — and he originally wanted a Cadillac V8 engine for a Ford chassis. Le Mans rules at the time allowed rebodied production cars, but the engine and chassis had to come from the same manufacturer, so Cunningham stuck with the Cadillac’s 331-cubic-inch V8 (5.4 liters) with a stock 160 horsepower.

Back to the present, Cadillac designers prepared a CT5-V Blackwing Le Monstre to honor Cunningham’s aero-bodied entry, the one with the riveted aluminum skin shaped with the help of Grumman Aircraft and a wind tunnel normally used to test slow flyers like crop dusters. Cadillac plans to put the special CT5-V into production early next year, making 101 examples to celebrate the first running of the race in 1923 (due to various interruptions, this year marks the race’s 92nd running). Magnus Metal Frost exterior paint gets Stormhawk Blue carbon fiber accents and Royal Blue brake calipers, black mirror caps and badges, a medallion with the #2 of the original Le Monstre and an American flag, the car’s nickname on the side skirts, plus laser-etched sill plates. A Phantom Blue interior with Santorini accents comes with seats in either Jet Black or Sky Cool Gray, and a 3D-printed medallion with the race number atop the six-speed manual shifter.

The 2025 CT4-V Blackwing Petit Petaud gets the same treatment and options, but the #3 race number of the original coupe. Only 50 of these will come off the lines, a nod to the 1950 race.

Cunningham entered his two cars as a test to see if American cars could hack the French race; the Stars and Stripes hadn’t sent a representative to Le Mans since a Duesenberg tried in 1935. He made a fine showing with both, Le Monstre falling to 35th out of 60 cars when Cunningham crashed into a sand bank on the second lap and had to dig the car out, fighting back to 11th with co-driver Phil Walters. Petit Pataud finished 10th, five miles up the road from Le Monstre.

Today, Cadillac’s part of an American contingent, but the only one to be fighting for the overall. Last year, the team qualified seventh and eighth and finished third and fourth. This year, with a lone Porsche ahead to start, maybe there’s a chance Cadillac will have to add a “#1” to the 2025 special editions come next year.

The race started this morning, East Coast time. If you’re looking for diversions during slow bits, check out Cadillac Racing’s Le Mans documentary No Perfect Formula now on YouTube, or read about the original Le Monstre and Petit Petaud at the Revs Institute, the Naples, Florida, museum that counts both cars among its collection. If there’s anything more awesome, it’s Cadillac Racing live-streaming the race on YouTube, the first eight hours of the race here, the second eight hours here, the third eight hours here.



Source link