Ebimotors will return to the Rolex 24 at Daytona for the first time in more than a decade, with a GT Daytona class effort with its Lamborghini Huracan GT3 also confirmed for the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in March.
The Italian squad is present at this week’s IMSA-sanctioned test at Daytona to prepare for January’s twice-around-the-clock endurance classic, with Lamborghini factory driver Fabio Babini and fellow countryman Emanuele Busnelli at the wheel of the V10-powered GT3 beast.
Both drivers took part in last year’s Rolex 24 in separate Konrad Motorsport-entered Huracan GT3s.
“The dream was to do the [Daytona] 24 Hours and Sebring,” Busnelli told Sportscar365.
“We’ve invested lots of money for this race. Ramez has helped us a lot and Lamborghini too. We have [nearly] an entire other car in the truck, just in spare parts.”
Veteran Florida-based GT racing outfit NGT Motorsport is assisting the Italian squad at this week’s test and for the planned two-race program, with the Ramez Wahab-led operation providing logistical and crew support.
It marks the team’s first Daytona start since 2005 when it entered a Red Bull-backed Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car for Karl Wendlinger, Dieter Quester, Johnny Mowlem and Vincent Vosse.
Busnelli said the remainder of the driver lineup for Daytona and Sebring has yet to be finalized but their goal is to have a competitive package that can fight for top class honors.
As for additional races in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship this year, Busnelli hasn’t completely ruled out that possibility, particularly with its European program still up in the air.
“It depends on a lot of things,” he said. “We’re from Italy and every time coming here, with Italian people, it’s not easy. Then I think Ramez will be starting with his championship, so he would need all the trucks and equipment.
“In principle, it’s a nice idea as I love to race in the United States. But we have to see what’s going on.
“[Fabio] is a Platinum and most of the championships in Europe, they don’t want to have a Platinum [for Pro-Am lineups], so there are not many championships you can do. That’s a pity.
“You can do Blancpain GT but you have 60 cars all the time and most of the cars are very, very competitive and you have all the [factory] cars, so it’s a bit tough.
“GT Open, which we’ve done a few races, but it’s not very well managed, so there’s no difference between a car that’s driven by a gentleman or two professional drivers.
“The only nice thing is the Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup was perfect for us.”
While a GT3 program with Lamborghini planned for next year, the team is already looking at the prospects of stepping up, either into the GTE or LMP2 class by 2018, depending on car availability.
“Our idea is to be in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2018 or 2019, but of course not with this car. It can be a GTE or LMP2,” Busnelli said.
“We would start in the middle of the season doing something with this, and then practicing with the LMP2. We will see. This is the idea, in principe.
“But we are [also] waiting what Lamborghini will do because Lamborghini says they will start to develop a GTE car but it’s not official. If they will start, the car would be available in 2019.
“We are going to wait [on a decision] from Lamborghini. Otherwise, there is no solution. The only other [GTE] car available in the market is the Ferrari but it’s a little bit overpriced.”