As reported by RACER yesterday, Lamborghini has confirmed that it is developing an LMDh car that will join the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s new Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) class and the World Endurance Championship Hypercar class in 2024.
The GTP class debuts in the WeatherTech Championship in 2023, replacing Daytona Prototype international (DPi) as the most technologically-advanced class in the series. The Hypercar class in WEC was introduced last year, and LMDh cars will be integrated into the class in 2023.
The Lamborghini announcement marks a major advancement for the Italian sports car manufacturer. While it built a Formula 1 engine 1989-’93, its racing activities have largely been limited to GT cars, first with the Super Trofeo single-make series, then into GT3. The Lamborghini Huracan GT3 has 15 victories in the GTD class since 2016, including three straight Rolex 24 at Daytona victories in 2018-’20.
“This step up into the highest echelon of sports car racing marks an important milestone for our company,” said Stephan Winkelmann, Lamborghini chairman and CEO. “We will be measuring ourselves against the very best, on the most demanding proving grounds.”
The addition of Lamborghini brings the number of manufacturers committed to producing LMDh cars to five. Acura, BMW, Cadillac and Porsche previously announced plans to join the class at its inception in 2023.
“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,” IMSA President John Doonan said. “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.”
LMDh is a hybrid-based platform shared between IMSA and the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO). LMDh engines will generate more than 670 horsepower (500 kilowatts) from the combined output of an internal combustion engine developed individually by each participating manufacturer and a common hybrid powertrain.
“We are honored that Lamborghini will join the Hypercar class of FIA WEC from 2024,” said Frederic Lequien, FIA WEC CEO.
“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.”
“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,” said Giorgio Sanna, Lamborghini’s head of motorsport. “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.”
Winkelmann views the company’s investment in LMDh as having a larger effect than just on the racing program. The company recently introduced its first hybrid model, the limited Sian, and the replacement for its current top-of-the-line production car, the Aventador, will have a hybrid powertrain as well. The company says that its entire lineup will be hybrid by the end of 2024.
“On one hand, this will give our successful motorsports program even more visibility,” Winkelmann said. “But it will also allow us to test future technologies: Our LMDh prototypes will become our most sophisticated open laboratory on four wheels.”