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Lamborghini GTE Program Called Off

Lamborghini calls off proposed GTE program; focus shifts to GT3, Super Trofeo…

Photo: Jamey Price/Lamborghini

Lamborghini has elected not to move forward with its proposed GTE effort, with a focus instead set to be placed on its customer-based programs in the short and mid-term, according to motorsports boss Giorgio Sanna.

The Italian manufacturer had been evaluating a step up to the top production-based ranks since at least 2016, with multiple design studies undertaken for a Lamborghini Huracan GTE.

It’s understood the proposal would have seen factory programs in both the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and FIA World Endurance Championship, including an assault on the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

In a Sportscar365 exclusive interview, Sanna explained that current instability in the overall sports car racing landscape has resulted in Lamborghini putting its GTE prospects on hold for the time being.

“GTE, for the moment, is not in our plan,” Sanna told Sportscar365. “For sure in the next three years, there will be no [higher] program than GT3.

“It was a decision made recently based on the actual situation on the next few years.

“As you can imagine, to develop GTE car, you need to at least work two or three years. But first of all you need to know where you’re going.

“Until the situation will become clear or sustainable, for us, we prefer to wait.”

Sanna indicated the evolving regulations in the sports car racing world, including the FIA and ACO’s proposed ‘Hypercar’ platform, which could lead to a depletion of GTE manufacturer involvement, was a contributing factor.

Sportscar365 understands the decision was taken by the Lamborghini board last month, following the ACO’s announcement at Le Mans.

A handful of existing Lamborghini customer teams, including Wayne Taylor Racing and Team Rosberg, had been tipped to be part of the proposed factory GTE program.

“Of course our customer teams worldwide were asking to do something more,” Sanna said.

“But they’re the first to understand that we have to move together, step by step, because the more you go up, the more risks [you take].

“We have to manage the risks in a proper way, looking for solid rules on the technical and sporting side.”

Focus on Growing GT3, Super Trofeo Market

Sanna said the focus for the time being will be on growing Lamborghini’s customer base in both GT3 and its single-make Super Trofeo series worldwide.

An extensive Evo kit is set to be rolled out on the Huracan GT3 in 2019, which Sanna said will ensure the car’s competitiveness for the next three years.

“We have to consolidate what we have today in our hands,” he said.

“Looking at Super Trofeo and GT3… the effort in GT3 is getting bigger and bigger every year because the market is requesting this kind of effort because the championships are becoming more challenging.

“Since the beginning, Lamborghini Squadra Corse is focused on customer racing. Where there are not enough guarantees to have a solid platform for [GTE], we prefer to wait.”

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

23 Comments

23 Comments

  1. Tim Lawrence

    August 4, 2018 at 3:27 pm

    An interesting view point from Danna, as an industry insider, that the Hypercar proposal may deplete the level of manufacturer involvement in GTE.

    • The Esses

      August 4, 2018 at 3:57 pm

      I thought about this too, if for instance, Ford, Ferrari, Aston, – all rumoured to be in the hypercar class picture -, decide not to fund two programs at once. My thinking is really that maybe GTE ought not to be an outright manufacturer class. Customer formats seem to work well on the GT3 level, even in all-pro contexts like N24. I’d personally like to see GTE return to a mixture of fully supported and partially supported manufacturer teams. I miss seeing all the different colored Porsches from Alex Job, Flying Lizard, Petersen White Lightning etc. Or perhaps a situation like Super GT could work as well where you have a host of teams running the cars with factory support spread amongst them.

      • AudiTT

        August 4, 2018 at 4:09 pm

        GTE shouldn’t exclusively be for factory teams. We want manufacturers to follow the model of Porsche, Ferrari and Aston Martin by selling cars to anyone who wants them. The Ford GTE program is more in line with what a GTP program will be.

  2. Old Trombone

    August 4, 2018 at 3:48 pm

    ACO/FIA Le Mans June 2021 – a grid of 10 cars, with only one finishing after 3 hours of totally empty track while fixing its rear hubs.

    SRO/IMSA Le Mans October 2021 – a full grid of 65 cars, 16 DPi’s, 20 GT3-Pro’s, 8 GT2-Am’s, 21 GT4-Am’s, with a reserve list of 20 more excellent teams to choose from.

    • AudiTT

      August 4, 2018 at 4:04 pm

      It’s always very strange to see people in the US hyping up SRO.

      They clearly don’t follow the SRO European scene. Spa 24 apart spectators are actively discouraged. SRO did try to promote the recent Silverstone round but the numbers were pitiful and they decided not to bother again. SRO is for the teams. They are not interested in a fan base, TV or media coverage.

      • Sestom

        August 4, 2018 at 4:24 pm

        Blancpain GT Series fans across the globe will enjoy extensive coverage of the 2018 season, with TV and online broadcasts combining live programming and highlights packages of the most competitive GT racing on the planet.

        https://www.blancpain-gt-series.com/gt-tv/tv-guide

        Blancpain GT total Fans 2017 = 171’400 / 2018 = 485’357

      • Matt

        August 5, 2018 at 2:53 pm

        Yeah the SRO is currently in the act of tearing apart PWC and ruining it. Not an organization that I’d support as an American.

    • Marco

      August 4, 2018 at 4:21 pm

      Rolex24 2018:
      P2 10 starters, 10 finishers.
      DPI 10 starters, 4 finishers.

  3. David Chaste

    August 4, 2018 at 4:03 pm

    He can’t really speak his mind. He really wants the program. But Porsche probably said no. If GTE was so bad Porsche wouldn’t be in it armed to the teeth. They had the most factory drivers at lemans this year. 12 in pro and 2 or 3 in Am.

    Besides with the dpi and p2 split porsche might need resources to mount a dpi program.

    • JMartinni

      August 4, 2018 at 6:59 pm

      “Porsche said no”? Instead of, you know, Lamborghini perhaps deciding GTE isn’t worth it when they could invest in the new “hypercar” regs instead. Porsche isn’t going to say no to more (customer) cars on the grid, especially when they’re all from the same parent company and keep the class healthy.

  4. Andy

    August 4, 2018 at 4:29 pm

    That was an early concern from a couple manufacturers, Ford is done with GTE after the GT program with most likely a supercar top class project to win out right. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Aston pass the Vantage in to the Am class and try to win out right with a Vulcan-styled car.

    We could end up with Vette vs Porsche in GTLM in the US and maybe a Ferrari in GTE

  5. Sestom

    August 4, 2018 at 4:34 pm

    Good news for this useless GTE category.

    • jason

      August 4, 2018 at 6:17 pm

      Ok what a ridiculous comment this is. GTLM has been great for the past decade. I just think its time will have run its course by the end of 2020. Atherton even hinted at that during the IMSA 2019 press conference. Yes the new GTP category will likely make GTE obsolete. I think GT3 could step in at this point.

  6. Passenger

    August 4, 2018 at 8:09 pm

    They should have designed Huracan GT3 can convert GTE car by package that like Ferrari does.

  7. TF110

    August 4, 2018 at 8:38 pm

    The simplest answer is probably WV group don’t want more brands infighting at Le Mans and gave a whisper to Lamborghini to stick with GT3 which is a hit and makes money. The rest of the talk is excuses as to this decision if it was ever on the cards in the first place.

    • Jake

      August 6, 2018 at 6:17 pm

      I agree that the majority of this release seems like excuses. Instability in the rules? In GTLM? The rules haven’t changed since 2016, and even then, all cars previous to 2016 were able to be adapted to compete in the current rules. I haven’t heard any rumblings of GTLM getting another rules overhaul.

      As for the new hypercar regs depleting GTE, I don’t see it happening. With the recent news that Ford, Ferrari, Porsche and McLaren have been absent from the roundtable discussions, it doesn’t seem like any of them will be involved at the moment. Ford will be out of GTE at the end of 19 regardless. Its more likely that they drop out entirely, or develop a DPi, than go ahead with the new category. Outside of that, BMW, Porsche, Aston, Corvette and Ferrari don’t seem to be going anywhere.

  8. Davy

    August 4, 2018 at 9:52 pm

    GTE should be the basis of the top class with GT3 as the second level. Get rid of the ugly prototypes that nobody really likes.

    • Av

      August 4, 2018 at 11:45 pm

      Davy. People do like the prototypes.

  9. Dave

    August 5, 2018 at 7:41 am

    GTE makes no sense. GT3 PRO and GT3 AM. AM has the nannies, PRO has factory backed drivers and cars with more HP and DF. That all you need don’t overthink it.

    • daedalus

      August 5, 2018 at 11:01 am

      Yes it makes perfect sense with all the models of GT3 cars available and with the same pace as current GTE cars but it will never happen. GTE is the ACOs baby and under their control. GT3 is under the control of the FIA with input from the SRO. They turfed GT3 cars out of ELMS so hell will freeze over before they are allowed in the WEC.

  10. FIAWEC

    August 12, 2018 at 11:39 pm

    1 italian constructor on the grid.

  11. Not A Fish

    August 13, 2018 at 7:51 pm

    Porsche will have 2 cars on the grid in WEC 2021 if they win all championships in 2018 and 19, wec 2018-19 and 19-20. GT3, 2019 and 2020 FE. Blancpain. DTM.

  12. Nerd WEC

    August 13, 2018 at 7:59 pm

    I was watching Le Mans 2017 on YouTube live and somebody asked if in GTE AM the cars were actually slower than Pro or if ’twas the drivers.

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