Lamborghini made the announcement today that it would be joining the world of endurace car racing. The Italian company released a teaser sketch of the upcoming Lamborghini LMDh Prototype that will be eligible for both IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and FIA World Endurance Championship.
Endurance racing has taken place on both sides of the Atlantic for decades. In Europe we are probably all familiar with the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and similar races, while the US has the 24 Hours of Daytona as its crowning long-distance event.
However, the rules for these two championships have always differed. This meant that teams had to choose which side of the pond they wished to compete and build cars accordingly. A few years ago rule makers from both series decided to collaborate on a rule set that would allow cars/team to compete in both series.
This new category is referred to as LMDh, for Le Mans Daytona hybrid. It is this category that the Lamborghini LMDh Prototype will compete in. In this class Lamborghini will compete against the likes of Alpine, Peugeot, Porsche, Audi, and BMW to name a few. More info on those entries here. It is rumoured that McLaren, Honda/Acura, Ford and Cadillac are all considering entries as well.
The LMDh entry and development coincides perfectly with Lamborghini’s electrification strategy, which you can read about at this link. The Lamborghini LMDh Prototype will have an engine with peak power of 470 kW as stipulated by the rules. Total system power output is pushed to 500 kW when combined with a standardised hybrid system.
The new racer will make its debut in the 2024 season. Interestingly, the Lamborghini LMDh Prototype will compete against two stablemates in the shape of Audi and Porsche, making it three VW Group brands competing for the same glory.
A bold move
It is bizarre to think that in Lamborghini’s almost 60-year history, the company has never featured a full works entry into any form of racing. Instead, it has always provided back-up and support for privateer entries. This continues today with the support it provides to GT3 racers across the world, including South Africa.
Since 2015, Lamborghini has claimed more than 40 titles and some unique achievements in GT racing. These include a triple GTD class win at the 24 Hours at Daytona between 2018 and 2020. This was the first time a manufacturer won three on the bounce.
In their own words
“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.”
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.”