Lamborghini has officially announced its development of an LMDh car that will enable the Italian marque to compete for overall wins in the FIA World Endurance Championship and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship beginning in 2024.
The manufacturer’s Squadra Corse racing department will develop the 500 kW prototype, which will use the common hybrid system required for all LMDh cars.
The program’s confirmation after more than a year of speculation returns the total number of active LMDh programs to six with Lamborghini joining Acura, Alpine, BMW, Cadillac and Porsche in the global platform created by IMSA and the ACO.
It will also race against LMH cars thanks to the global prototype rules convergence.
Technical details of the publicly unnamed Lamborghini LMDh are limited at this stage, with the bespoke internal combustion engine and LMP2 chassis partner not mentioned in Tuesday’s official announcement.
However, Sportscar365 understands that Ligier Automotive is set to provide the base chassis while the engine is expected to be a Lamborghini unit.
“This step up into the highest echelon of sports car racing marks an important milestone for our company,” said Lamborghini chairman and CEO Stephan Winkelmann.
“We will be measuring ourselves against the very best, on the most demanding proving grounds.
“On one hand, this will give our successful motorsports program 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’s LMDh program will bring the company back to Le Mans for the first time since 2010 and will pave the way for its first attempt at overall victory in the race.
Lamborghini has been heavily active in the GT3 formula since 2015 and has established a customer sales program there with the Huracan model and its Evo variants.
It will continue to be involved in GT racing alongside its arrival into prototypes, both in Super Trofeo where an updated Huracan was introduced earlier this year, and in GT3 where the STO-based Huracan EVO2 is due to arrive in 2023.
Lamborghini’s Head of Motorsport Giorgio Sanna suggested that the LMDh program will complement Lamborghini Squadra Corse’s existing customer racing activities.
“I am absolutely delighted that Lamborghini will be taking the next step in our motorsport journey, the step into LMDh and the top level of sports car racing,” he said.
“LMDh will play a special role in Lamborghini’s motorsports strategy, giving us the unique opportunity to expand our customer racing activities to new platforms and enforce our long-term partnership with customer teams and drivers.”
Debut Projected for “First Quarter” of 2024
The Lamborghini LMDh car’s race debut within the 2024 season is loosely projected to take place in the “first three or four months of the year” according to Sanna.
The plan is for track testing to begin at the start of next year, giving a period of around 12 months for the manufacturer to complete a complex timeline of development, validation, endurance testing and homologation.
“The program is for the WEC and IMSA, starting from 2024,” Sanna said.
“The target is clearly to be at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2024 and then we will evaluate, probably within the end of this year, if and when it will be possible to debut.
“I expect in the first quarter of 2024, but we have to evaluate where and when, and it all depends on the development process. At the moment, it’s difficult to say.
“Where and when [the car debuts] is probably something we will define in the next 12 months.”