We already heard Giorgio Sanna, Head of Motorsport at Lamborghini, mention an entry into the 24h de LeMans back in December 2014 during an interview with Top Gear, and several years later we suddenly get the SC18 Alston, a bespoke one-off built for a wealthy client that allegedly put down $7,000,000 to have a unique car, but we all got the impression the SC18 was a one-off a kind of trial run to create a bespoke endurance racer based on the Aventador, and that impression became even more relevant when Lamborghini brought the car to the Goodwood FOS the same place where Domenicali talked about the new hypercars class in endurance racing a coïncidence?
But that never happened and with the modified FIA regulations for the World Endurance Championship (WEC) adding a hypercar class (that replaces the LMP) for the 2020/2021 season, things got really interesting, the LMDh class, or Hyper Sports category comes with ACO stipulations of a minimum weight of 1,100kg and limited power output to 750hp, while manufacturers are allowed to add a hybrid system, but this must only add 270hp or less and now it gets really interesting: prototype hypercars can use a special design or modification of the street-legal variant I can’t help but think about the Essenza SCV12 at this point.
Lamborghini has now committed themselves to creating an LMDh race car that should be ready for the 2024 season, eligible for both IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and FIA World Endurance Championship, this new race car from Squadra Corse will be able to compete in the world’s most prestigious endurance races, such as the 24 Hours of Le Mans, 24 Hours at Daytona and 12 Hours of Sebring. This will be the first entry from Squadra Corse into the world of hybrid racing, with Automobili Lamborghini SpA converting the entire product line-up into hybrid models by 2024, it only makes sense for the race segment to follow suit.
“This step up into the highest echelon of sports car racing marks an important milestone for our company,” stated Stephan Winkelmann, Lamborghini Chairman and CEO. “We will be measuring ourselves against the very best, on the most demanding proving grounds. On one hand, this will give our successful motorsports program even more visibility, but it will also allow us to test future technologies: our LMDh prototypes will become our most sophisticated open laboratory on four wheels.”
LMDh is an abbreviation for Le Mans Daytona hybrid, which is the name for the new sports prototype (previously called LMP, Le Mans Prototype) that uses hybrid propulsion to debut for the 2023 season of both the FIA World Endurance Championship and the IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship, fear not, Lamborghini’s Squadra Corse will add their LMDh race car to the existing Huracán Super Trofeo and Huracán GT3 racecars.
Speaking about the entry into LMDh, Lamborghini Head of Motorsport Giorgio Sanna commented: “I am absolutely delighted that Lamborghini will be taking the next step in our motorsport journey, the step into LMDh and the top level of sports car racing. LMDh will play a special role in Lamborghini’s Motorsports strategy, giving us the unique opportunity to expand our customer racing activities to new platforms and enforce our long-term partnership with customer teams and drivers.”
Pierre Fillon, President of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest commented: “To be joined by such a prestigious make as Lamborghini is fantastic for endurance racing. Hypercar, the discipline’s new top tier, has attracted carmakers from across the globe. We are soon to celebrate the centenary of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and another golden age of endurance is just beginning. I for one am ready to enjoy it to the fullest.”
IMSA President John Doonan stated: “IMSA has enjoyed a longstanding partnership with Lamborghini dating back to the introduction of Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America a decade ago and continuing into a successful GTD program. We are proud that Lamborghini is confirming plans to grow its IMSA footprint even further in 2024 into GTP and the top category of prototype sports car racing. Having another manufacturer of this caliber make the commitment to race in GTP reinforces the LMDh technical platform that we developed alongside our partners at the ACO, and we cannot wait to see these new Lamborghini prototypes debut in the 2024 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.”
Frédéric Lequien, FIA WEC CEO, commented: “We are honoured that Lamborghini will join the Hypercar class of FIA WEC from 2024. Lamborghini is an iconic brand but it has never competed in the premier class of endurance racing before. They will join the FIA WEC at a very exciting time in its history. For the 2024 season there will be an exceptional line-up of marques competing in our premier class. The competition will be fierce but we have no doubt that Lamborghini will be in the thick of the fight. Lamborghini has been highly successful in other classes of endurance racing so we cannot wait to see them compete for overall victories at our iconic events.”