Cadillac's 'No Perfect Formula' is a brutal, beautiful look at Le Mans program

As Le Mans has built a much wider audience over the past couple of decades, automakers have increasingly used the crown jewel of endurance racing to add luster to showroom products, and we’ve been treated to numerous long-form stories and documentaries about what it takes to claim victory at La Sarthe. Audi, who arguably kicked off the Le Mans modern era, returned and reeled off an absurd string of wins while promoting several variants of R8. Peugeot returned and won. Bentley returned and won. Ford returned and won (in the GT class). Porsche returned and won. Ferrari returned and won. Cadillac? Well, it’s got the return completed, it’s still working on the win.

America’s luxury brand has lined up on the Dunlop Straight five times so far, the first time in 1950, without so much as a podium to show for it. A feature-length documentary called “No Perfect Formula” takes an unflinching look at how hard it is to win the race and how much Cadillac is putting into the challenge.

We know Cadillac knows how to race, the brand’s had a particularly tough time getting into the WEC groove. Before the IMSA race began in Detroit over the weekend, Cadillac led the IMSA Weathertech SportsCar Championship by 10 points; it exited Detroit 13 points behind Porsche. The situation’s worse in the WEC, where Cadillac sits next-to-last with 2 points, behind Porsche, Toyota, Ferrari, Alpine, BMW, Peugeot, and Lamborghini, only ahead of Isotta Fraschini. 

The trailer for “No Perfect Formula” is full of the kinds of “Ouch” moments that, based on such corporate exercises, we expect to end in shots of triumph and a trio of drivers spraying champagne. Not so, here. Cadillac spent the money to make a 98-minute doc about the fight, the emotion, and the pain that goes into winning before the wins come. And we’re thankful for it. Racing is brutal.

The doc is free to watch on any Samsung device by downloading the Samsung TV Plus app and searching for the title, or by going to Hagerty’s channel 2245 on a Samsung Smart TV, or you can see the whole thing on Hagerty’s Facebook page. And don’t forget to root for the V-Series.R in two weeks when the Le Mans action begins June 12.

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