Lamborghini's plans to take on Ferrari at Le Mans – and win

Le Mans News

The Lamborghini SC63 enjoyed its big unveil at Goodwood - all eyes focused on success against Ferrari's Hypercar at Le Mans. Stephen Dobie speaks to the folk behind its WEC and IMSA entry

Lambo Ferrari

Can Lamborghini challenge the reigning Ferrari at Le Mans?

Lamborghini/Getty Images

With celebrations of one Italian car’s victory at Le Mans still fresh, Lamborghini used the Goodwood Festival of Speed to unveil what it hopes will be the next: the SC63, its brand-new endurance prototype.

The car is set to compete next year in the World Endurance Championship (WEC), including the 2024 Le Mans 24 Hours. It will also race Stateside in IMSA.

It offers the salivating prospect of Ferrari and Lamborghini locking horns at La Sarthe: “The two most important brands in Italy” says team principal Andrea Piccini. Lamborghini is taking aim at its Maranello rival from the very start: “They are competitors, but we respect them,” he says.

Unlike Ferrari’s Le Mans-winning 499P Hypercar, which was designed from scratch, Lamborghini is building its contender to LMDh regulations, using a chassis already designed by Ligier, as well as a standardised hybrid powertrain.

Related article

It will be the first Lamborghini to compete for top honours in the endurance classics: a Balance of Performance system is designed to ensure that Hypercars and LMDh cars can both compete for overall victories in WEC.

Its Squadra Corse racing department has partnered with Iron Lynx, a team already racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo 2s in IMSA, where the two outfits are building their relationship in readiness for the cut and thrust of endurance racing’s hectic Hypercar era.

“We only considered the LMDh platform,” Lamborghini head of motorsport Giorgio Sanna says. Its tighter rules compared to the Hypercar category helps slash costs while placing the car on the grid in the US, the supercar firm’s largest global market. “LMDh is the right product in terms of technology, marketing and financial sustainability, which is fundamental for the future of motor sport, in my opinion. If companies ten times the size of us are committed to it, the philosophy must be good.” One presumes he’s alluding to LMDh rivals BMW and Porsche.

The SC63 uses a bespoke 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 engine mated to out-of-the-box hybrid technology for a 670bhp peak delivered solely to its rear axle. The engine is all-new and may act as a precursor to a future road car powertrain, while this is the first LMDh contender to use a Ligier chassis. Over it all lies bodywork that incorporates styling from Lamborghini’s road cars.

Lamborghini Le Mans Hypercar

There’ll be a car each in IMSA and WEC, with four of their six drivers confirmed: Mirko Bortolotti and Andrea Caldarelli step up from GT cars, while Daniil Kvyat and Romain Grosjean bring blockbuster names and hybrid expertise from Formula 1. The as yet unnamed pair have apparently signed but won’t be unveiled until later in the year.

“We’ve already seen a few top drivers in WEC who’ve successfully made the step up from GT3 to Hypercar,” says Sanna. “While Romain and Daniil bring a methodology of work from F1.”

Related article

Can Grosjean win Le Mans and Indy 500 in 2024? ‘It’s cool to do both!’
Sports Car News

Can Grosjean win Le Mans and Indy 500 in 2024? 'It's cool to do both!'

Romain Grosjean has signed for Lamborghini to join the Hypercar revolution, as he looks to combine an IndyCar campaign with endurance racing. "We can still be like those drivers who used to jump from one car to another," he tells Damien Smith

By Damien Smith

Caldarelli is, as you’d expect, quite keen for his first go in the car, which begins testing in the coming months ahead of its race debut in 2024 – though the Daytona grid in January looks unlikely. “I’m now in my sixth year with Lamborghini and since day one we’ve had something in common – a wish to bring Lamborghini to the pinnacle of racing,” he says. “Looking at all the hard work they’ve done in the factory is both a pleasure but a reminder that I’ve an important commitment.”

We spoke to Grosjean as he raced the Iron Lynx Huracan at the Rolex 24 in Daytona earlier in the year, and he was already excited to conclude some unfinished business at La Sarthe.

“It’s going to be tough, but it’s going to be fun,” he grinned. “I entered Le Mans in 2010 and loved it. We retired partway with engine failure. It was around 2am; I walked to the Dunlop chicane and watched the cars because I just loved being there. I absolutely want to go back.”