Lamborghini is ramping up plans to be represented in the GTD Pro class of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship next year, with multiple teams in the mix according to Head of Lamborghini Motorsport Giorgio Sanna.
The Italian manufacturer, which is also finalizing a LMDh program for 2024, could focus its resources in the short-term on IMSA’s new-for-2022 class with Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evos crewed by all-factory driver lineups.
Multiple teams, including FFF Racing Team, Grasser Racing Team and K-PAX Racing are understood to be in discussions for the factory-supported program next year.
“The target is to have at least one GTD Pro car,” Sanna told Sportscar365. “Now it’s a bit early but we’re talking with all of our teams that would be interested in an American program.
“So we will take a decision by the end of the season in IMSA this year.”
FFF Racing Team principal Andrea Caldarelli said his team has been in discussions for an IMSA GTD Pro program although admitted it will ultimately be a decision made by Lamborghini.
The Italian also drives in Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS for K-PAX Racing, which could operate or assist with an FFF-led program from its California base.
“As soon as IMSA announced it last year, we had a conversation with Lamborghini,” Caldarelli told Sportscar365.
“I think first, Lamborghini has to decide who represents what in which championship. We know we would be ready to go [to IMSA] if needed. We are just waiting to hear from them on what’s going to happen.
“[GTD Pro] is going to be a very important championship for manufacturers because on paper, it’s a manufacturer championship. That’s very important.
“We have to think about the best thing for Lamborghini: how to go there to win it.
“So if it’s going to be us, or if it’s going to be an American team, the priority goes on Lamborghini to win the championship.”
Gottfried Grasser said his squad is also in contention, with the Austrian-based Grasser Racing Team planning a two-car full season effort next year in either GTD Pro or GTD.
“This depends on the rules,” Grasser said on the possible differences in sporting regulations between the two classes. “This depends on how much the rules make sense.”
Grasser said half of his European full-time staff will be sent over to America to support the increased effort.
The team has used Starworks Motorsport’s shop in Deerfield Beach. Fla. and Lamborghini’s facility in Detroit for its operations this year.
“We will bring over a huge amount of our European team to the USA and we will have a lot of new things in Europe next year,” he said.
“I see really positive moves in the American market, so it makes sense. From the economy side, especially with sponsorships, I see much more possibilities next year in the U.S. than in Europe.”
Sanna, however, has cautioned possible logistical challenges for European teams amid the ongoing pandemic.
“Today we can discuss any kind of program but we also have to take into consideration a possible potential logistic problem we have to face in the pandemic and all this stuff,” he said.
“The scenario can always change quickly. We’re taking our time and we will take a decision, in agreement with the teams, in the next 2-3 months based also on the global situation of the pandemic.”
Caldarelli revealed that FFF had been eyeing an entry in the Rolex 24 at Daytona in recent years, which was ultimately called off.
“Also in these difficult times, it’s difficult to do a long-term project,” Caldarelli said. “Because you don’t know logistically what can happen or not.
“We’ve always been very close with Lamborghini, together to enter into manufacturers’ championships. I think in the next couple of months we will get the direction.”
Lamborghini “Happy” With Formation of GTD Pro
Sanna has praised IMSA for committing to a Pro platform for GT3 machinery.
“In general I’m happy IMSA will be the first promoter to open the opportunity to the GT3 to go for the overall title in GT, replacing the existing GTLM [class],” he said.
“This is the first step, in my opinion, that will be fundamental for the next few years in customer racing.
“If we talk about Pro, Pro-Am or Am categories, I think the final goal must be to have only one class in GT competition. This is fundamental and I’m happy IMSA will have this chance starting from next year.
“I think the BoP rules always needs to be fine-tined step by step. This is part of the game from the promoter’s side; it’s not a problem.
“We’re always available to work in a proactive way with the promoter to find the best sporting and technical regulations.
“In principle, I’m very happy to have a pro class that opens the opportunity to have a single GT class.
“It’s easier for the fans and easier for the manufacturer, less expensive, so that’s the future.”
Daniel Lloyd contributed to this report