Lamborghini to enter WEC and IMSA in 2024 with new LMDh

Lamborghini will join the FIA World Endurance Championship and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in 2024 with a new LMDh prototype. 

Lamborghini to enter WEC and IMSA in 2024 with new LMDh
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Lamborghini Squadra Corse, the Italian manufacturer’s motorsport division, confirmed on Tuesday that it will compete at the pinnacle of sportscar racing for the first time, which will include bids for outright honours at the 24-hour endurance classics at Le Mans and Daytona. 

It follows a series of statements over the past year from Giorgio Sanna, the boss of Squadra Corse, outlining an intent to develop a car for the new category coming on stream in both WEC and IMSA next season.

Lamborghini has not revealed its technical partners for the move into LMDh in year two of the category, but it is known that it is partnering with French constructor Ligier Automotive. 

Ligier, one of four licensed constructors for the next-gen LMP2 chassis around which LMDh cars must be based, is therefore set for its first manufacturer partner, with Oreca, Dallara and Multimatic already all having at least one confirmed partner each.

Confirmation of Lamborghini's Ligier tie-up is expected in July on a further announcement, which will likely include the configuration of the new car's internal combustion engine.

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Lamborghini chairman and CEO Stephan Winkelmann said: “This step up into the highest echelon of sportscar racing marks an important milestone for our company. We will be measuring ourselves against the very best, on the most demanding proving grounds. 

“On one hand, this will give our successful motorsports programme even more visibility, but it will also allow us to test future technologies: our LMDh prototypes will become our most sophisticated open laboratory on four wheels.”

Lamborghini LMDh

Lamborghini LMDh

Photo by: Lamborghini S.p.A.

Lamborghini is adding LMDh to its existing programmes in GT3 and one-make racing with its portfolio of Super Trofeo series around the world.

The Volkswagen group brand becomes the seventh manufacturer to commit to developing an LMDh after Audi, Porsche, Acura, BMW, Cadillac and Alpine, although Audi’s programme is officially on hold and is known to have been axed earlier this year.

Lamborghini had been working to piggy back on the same Porsche-led VW group LMDh project as Audi, which is being undertaken in conjunction with Multimatic.

But it has now switched tack to work with Ligier, part of a wider group with which it has an existing relationship. 

Italian-based HP Composites, which like Ligier is part of former Le Mans racer Jacques Nicolet’s Everspeed group, produces carbon-fibre components for the Huracan GT3 and the Super Trofeo racers. 

The Lamborghini LMDh assaults in the top classes of the WEC and IMSA, respectively called Hypercar and GTP, will replicate the model of the marque’s GT3 programme. 

There will not be overt factory teams in either arena; rather Lamborghini will support customer operations in the same way as it does with the Huracan GT3 Evo in series such as the GT World Challenge Europe, the DTM and the GT Daytona classes in IMSA.

Sanna alluded to this in Lamborghini’s LMDh announcement, saying the new programme will offer “the unique opportunity to expand our customer racing activities to new platforms and enforce our long-term partnership with customer teams and drivers”.

Lamborghini loans out drivers from its factory roster to race the Huracan. 

It is no coincidence that Lambo works driver Mirko Bortolotti will be gaining prototype experience in LMP2 at Le Mans this year with the Belgian WRT team, winner of the class at the 24 Hours in 2021.

Teams with which Lamborghini is known to be in negotiation include Prema, which has joined the LMP2 arena in the WEC and the sister European Le Mans Series this year. Both Lamborghini and Prema have stressed that no deal has been done so far. 

Lamborghini’s announcement was welcomed by both WEC promoter the Automobile Club de l’Ouest and IMSA.

ACO president Pierre Fillon said: “To be joined by such a prestigious make as Lamborghini is fantastic for endurance racing.”

IMSA boss John Doonan added: “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 programme [with the Huracan]. 

“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.”

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