Cadillac Racing aims to be “ready to go” for Monday’s Prologue to the FIA World Endurance Championship after receiving two of its containers early Sunday morning according to Chip Ganassi Racing director of international operations Mike O’Gara.
The German-based factory squad was the only Hypercar team to have its car delayed by sea freight, which affected many of the LMGT3 competitors and led to a delayed start to the official pre-season test.
According to O’Gara, the CGR containers arrived at the Lusail International Circuit at 5:30 a.m., with the No. 2 Cadillac V-Series.R rolled out of its container just after 10 a.m.
“Everyone came here yesterday morning because we were first told at 8am (to arrive),” O’Gara told Sportscar365.
“Once we were given an update of 10 o’clock and it was 2 o’clock at night and it was 11 o’clock so we sent everyone back to the hotel to rest and a few of us stayed here just waiting.
“And then around 8pm last night and we gave up and went back. The DHL people told us they would text or call us when things went this way. That was first thing this morning.
“So now it’s all hands on deck to get it going. But the engineering center is already set up at the back of the paddock. (The garage set-up) is almost done. So, that’s good. Next is the car and everything goes with it.”
O’Gara admitted it would be “difficult” to be ready in time for the start of tomorrow’s first session, which has been postponed until 12pm local time.
“It’s going to be a long night tonight, I think, but we’ll do whatever we can,” he said.
“For us, the important thing is that everything be right, especially in the car. Make sure the telemetry works and the radios work and everything is up to date and the car is nice and safe.
“If that means missing a bit of track time, then that’s what we’ll do. We’re not going to rush things to make sure we’re on the line tomorrow at noon.
“We’ll make sure everything is fine and hopefully resolve it on the back end.”
O’Gara explained that his car was sea freight and part of the WEC’s basic freight following an off-season test at Motorland Aragon in December.
“Everything went back to the shop to be rebuilt and then in the middle of January, I think January 10, everything had to be loaded on a boat to come here,” he explained.
“So some of these teams that were flown in were tried after that date with the things to fly here and we didn’t do it, so we got stuck on the boat. Or not stuck on the boat but stuck in customs.
“I think some teams sent things directly from Bahrain to here, but all our things have been brought back to the factory in Germany and refreshed.
“The car is freshened up and ready to go. There are quite a few updates that have come in from the time the car hit the boat until now, like the things we’ve updated for the Daytona, that this car needs to get.
“So the next thing, once the garage setup is done, the next step is to apply those updates to the car and get it through the technology.”
When asked if he had personally experienced any such race delays or postponements, O’Gara compared this event to the COVID-19 shutdown in March 2020, when he was working with the CGR IndyCar effort in St.
“We were talking about that, the closest thing in my American racing career that I can relate to is the things that happened about the COVID,” he said.
“We were racing IndyCar at the time. We’d go to St. Pete and then everybody would stop.
“That, and maybe 9/11 are the two things that are here. We were, at the time, racing in the IRL, on our way to Texas and we had to stop and wait and find out what was going on there.
“But this is crazy to be out of our control and it seemed like we were very far behind, because many teams had cars. But being in the paddock yesterday, I don’t think everyone had everything at all.
“Some teams had cars, but no equipment, other teams had equipment, but no cars.
“We didn’t have anything, unfortunately. But we’re all finishing now.”