Lamborghini SC63 Le Mans racer undergoes first track test

Lamborghini’s WEC and IMSA contender hits Imola for testing ahead of its race debut next year

Launched at the 2023 Goodwood Festival of Speed ahead of its race debut next year, the Lamborghini SC63 Le Mans racer has now embarked on its development programme with a two-day test at Imola. The LMDh-class racer is destined for both the European WEC and American ISMA racing series where it will join a packed-out field that includes rivals from Ferrari, BMW, Porsche, Peugeot and Toyota.

The SC63 powered by a 3.8-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine developed specifically for the project by Lamborghini Squadra Corse. It’s the first time Lamborghini’s motorsport arm has had the chance to design an engine from scratch, and like other V8s in the series the unit will run a 90-degree V-angle. The turbochargers are mounted low down and either side of the engine to optimise the car's centre of gravity, with power sent to the wheels via a seven-speed transmission developed by Xtrac. The recent test saw factory drivers Mirko Bortolotti, Andrea Caldarelli and Daniil Kvyat cover over 900 miles across two days at Imola, with initial focus being on the powertrain – gearbox calibration, the traction control system, aerodynamics and data acquisition were also a high priority.

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In accordance with the LMDh (Le Mans Daytona Hybrid) class regulations, this engine is paired to a control hybrid module, including an MGU sourced from Bosch, and battery and control units from Williams Advanced engineering. As with all its LMDh rivals, peak power delivery to the wheels is limited to 671bhp, although its cumulative system power will be significantly higher.

Lamborghini Squadra Corse has elected to partner with Ligier to supply the car’s chassis, diverging from VW Group rival Porsche which has partnered with Multimatic. This suggests that the two racers will be quite distinct from one another, as they are varied in terms of both chassis and the choice of combustion engine. 

Designed by the firm's in-house Centro Stile department, the SC63 uses Lamborghini's y-shape running light signature and an angular, futuristic-looking body. As in many of its racing counterparts, the cockpit is very narrow to keep the car’s frontal area as small as possible, and at the back sits a large stacked rear wing. The design incorporates cooling for eight separate radiators, with vents inspired by those of the Lamborghini Countach

The SC63 will be run by the Iron Lynx racing team on behalf of Lamborghini, and it's been developed by the firm's existing factory drivers as well as Romain Grosjean and Daniil Kvyat, drawing from their experience of hybrid powertrains in Formula 1. Both Grosjean and Kvyat will run the car in a competitive capacity, alongside Mirko Bortolotti and Andrea Caldarelli.

Lamborghini’s entry in this class of endurance racing precedes the marque’s forthcoming hybrid road car models, starting with the Revuelto. With such a clear and obvious connection between race and road cars in the LMDh class, manufacturers are queueing up to be part of the action, which is only good news for fans of endurance racing.

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