Lamborghini is reportedly becoming an LMDh manufacturer
If it happens, Lamborghini Squadra Corse will enter IMA and the WEC in 2024
The world of endurance racing is looking like it's going to become very exciting indeed following the reconfiguring of the top classes of IMSA and the WEC into LMH and LMDh specifications. A whole gamut of new and existing manufacturers are vying to commit to either one of the two new sets of regulations. This will, allegedly, include Lamborghini! RACER is claiming that Lamborghini is aiming to become one of the next manufacturers to enter endurance racing under the LMDh regulations.
If this actually does happen, Lamborghini will enter IMSA and the WEC in 2024 under the Lamborghini Squadra Corse brand. It being under the Lamborghini Squadra Corse brand is a very important part of the entire programme, as that's the official name of Lamborghini's customer racing operations reserved for its most elite clients who are interested in doing some of their own racing. Customer integration will reportedly be a huge part of Lamborghini's LMDh programme from the early stages, with the brand wanting to find customer teams to partner with to facilitate it.
"We are not 100 percent over the line, I can confirm that, but if I was to say we’re 90 percent of the way there, that would be pretty accurate," Lamborghini's senior motorsport manager Chris Ward told RACER about the plans. "We’ve got a couple of I’s to dot and T’s to cross with a couple of the main providers. That’s what has separated us from a lot of the manufacturers; historically, we don’t go factory racing in the way that you might see Porsche or others go factory racing. To get us all the way there, it’s going to take a customer effort behind it."
"But we’re in a fortunate position as a manufacturer to have the relationships and individuals among our existing and growing portfolio that could help us achieve that. So those are the elements that we’ve got to really get over the line with to make sure that it’s 100 percent."
This comes off the back of its two other Volkswagen Group siblings Audi and Porsche announcing that they'll be entering LMDh in 2023, with Porsche's LMDh efforts being run in collaboration with Penske. The reports suggest that the Lamborghini effort will use the same chassis as the Audi and Porsche cars, which is being built by Multimatic. RACER states that the reason the Lamborghini entry is intended to happen a year later than the Porsche and Audi entry is so that the Volkswagen Group can be sure that it can meet all the chassis supply, engine supply and infrastructure requirements before entering a third VW Group-affiliated effort with Lamborghini.
With more than two years being allocated to find customer teams to partner with (if this timeline is correct), it seems like Lamborghini might have a decent amount of breathing space to find customer teams to partner up with in IMSA and WEC. However, it's not been quite that simple. "The missing 10 percent I mentioned, and why I said we were not quite all the way there yet, is because it’s difficult to ask a team that you’re talking with to do nothing for a year (in 2023)," Ward said to RACER. "That’s a big ask, which takes more effort to find a solution, but we are very lucky. We’ve got a huge breadth internationally of existing customer teams, some of whom it would be easier to step into an LMDh program than others."
"I think it’s fair for me to say it’s more likely that we would grow upward with an existing customer [GT] racing effort, than take over the reins of an existing prototype team. With all of that said, we’re also speaking to existing prototype teams. But we have a vast array of people that would be more than capable of being able to do it. We’re just working to get things lined up before they’re all snapped up by others."
Lamborghini isn't the only new manufacturer that's expected to be announcing an LMDh programme pretty soon. Cadillac is also rumoured to be announcing its plans to join LMDh in a couple of weeks in the lead-up to the 24 Hours of Le Mans. If this is the case, it would become the 5th official LMDh programme to be confirmed. This would make Lamborghini (if it does enter) the 6th official LMDh manufacturer.
It's safe to say that, in the world of top-class endurance racing, things are looking the most exciting that they've been for a very long time. With up to 6 new manufacturers joining LMDh in the coming years and more LMH entries expected to surface within the next couple of years too, the grids at the top of the field at the world's biggest endurance races could be some of the most diverse and competitive since the 80s and 90s!