Lamborghini is a name that has graced the world of motorsport all too rarely over the course of its history. Recently, the Italian supercar manufacturer has been stepping up its GT racing programme and focussing more and more on the world of endurance racing. Now, for the first time, Lamborghini is openly talking about potential for LMP1.
The Lamborghini racing history is a short one, certainly when compared against the Prancing Horse just a short 30-minute drive from Lamborghini’s Sant’agata factory. After flirting with Formula 1 as an engine supplier in the early 90s, Lamborghini then decided to focus on GT racing after being bought out by Volkswagen in 1998. The Diablo and subsequently the Murciélago proved to be a great success in FIA GT racing, with Lamborghini even launching its own Super Troféo series to meet demand. The Gallardo subsequently became a mainstay of GT3 racing across Europe and the world and the next generation has already arrived in the form of the Huracán. The Lamborghini Huracán is likely to make its racing debut in next season’s Blancpain Super Trofeo series. A GT3 version is also in the pipeline.
But now, Lamborghini has for the first time publicly stated its desire to compete in LMP1, and therefore the FIA WEC. “I not only want to participate at Le Mans,” Lamborghini’s head of motorsport and chief test driver Giorgio Sanna told Top Gear magazine. “I want to win.” With two VW brands already racing at the peak of prototype endurance racing, it’s not so much of a mission statement from Lamborghini, rather a statement of desire.
After all, going from single-make series and factory-supported, but ultimately privately entered, GT3 cars in the likes of the Blancpain Endurance Series to an LMP programme would be a huge step up. But, according to Sanna, nothing is out of the question. “Our racing programme and budget currently extends to 2018,” he continued. “F1 is completely out of our mind because VW is not interested. But endurance racing is a very good programme, and we have to look at LMP1. But we have to grow step by step.”
The FIA’s and ACO’s ruleset has been a forerunner in promoting hybrid technology and the take-up has been extremely impressive. With four manufacturers set to line up on the grid at Silverstone in April, the FIA World Endurance Championship now boasts more factory entries than Formula 1 and it’s clear that marques value the series as a way of showcasing their technology and, ultimately, selling more cars.
One stumbling block may prove to be Porsche and Audi. However, the Volkswagen Group has already shown that it’s willing to let two sister brands fight it out for honours on the track. And with each brand’s clear focus on technology development through distinctly different concepts, Porsche’s turbo hybrid vs Audi’s diesel hybrid, there may be room for Lamborghini at the LMP1 table, too.