Lamborghini could expand its commitment to Blancpain GT World Challenge in Europe next year with an additional ‘reference’ team according to its motorsports boss Giorgio Sanna.
The Italian manufacturer currently has factory-supported efforts with Grasser Racing Team and Orange 1 FFF Racing Team, which moved over from GT World Challenge Asia competition this year.
“We are working to have a third team next year,” Sanna told Sportscar365 at last month’s Total 24 Hours of Spa.
Sources have indicated to Sportscar365 that Emil Frey Racing could be in line for a Blancpain GT return after a year successfully campaigning Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evos in International GT Open.
When asked if the third reference team could be the Swiss operation, Sanna said “could be”, with a smile.
Emil Frey team principal Lorenz Frey-Hilti remained noncommittal when approached for a comment, meanwhile.
“Our current priority and focus is placed fully on the GT Open championship. It is therefore too early to talk about the 2020 season,” he said.
Sanna said Lamborghini’s expansion to a second reference team in FFF has been a positive experience.
Both Gottfried Grasser’s operation, which was Lamborghini Squadra Corse’s first works outfit in 2015, as well as the Andrea Caldarelli-led FFF outfit, have been organized in different ways, which Sanna said has played to their benefit.
“The cooperation is something that is going in the right way,” he said.
“It’s clear they are competitors, so we of course are giving them the freedom to develop and work on the car setup based on their know how and competence.
“We’re just here to take care of the technical support and driver support.
“Then it’s based on the strategy also from the team.
“In the case of Gottfried, we have Rolf Ineichen in the car. He’s a pillar of our customer racing activities. He’s already won the Daytona 24 two times.
“Rolf is doing a good job and he can be competitive with Mirko and Christian.
“On the other side, we have two cars that are driven by six factory drivers.
“So it’s clear that the expectation from the drivers is higher but just because we have professional, factory drivers in the car.
“But GRT has already shown twice this year in the Blancpain series with two pole positions. Also the No. 63 car is competitive.”
Lamborghini Targeting World Challenge Manufacturer Participation
Sanna said they hope to be in a position to contest SRO’s World Challenge manufacturer’s championship next year, with cars competing on all three continents.
While well-represented in GT World Challenge Europe and with cars in Asia, Lamborghini currently does not have a customer in GT World Challenge America.
Rules dictate a manufacturer must be present in all three series to be eligible for the title, which sees only Mercedes-AMG and Ferrari registered for this year’s inaugural season.
“We’re already working and talking with some teams in America for the GT World Challenge America” Sanna said.
“It’s not so easy because the running costs in America in general is higher than Europe. The format is different than the WeatherTech Championship; that’s clear. But we mainly have teams located on the West Coast. We will see.
“If you look today the numbers Stephane has shown in overall classification of brands worldwide, even without GT World Challenge America today, we are always in the top-three.
“When you see these kind of numbers in a very tough market and category of GT3, it means you have a high level of trust from the customers’ point of view.”
Sanna indicated that they’ve received “a few requests” from teams wanting to run this year’s GT World Challenge America season finale at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, which could potentially turn into a full-season program in 2020.
Jake Kilshaw contributed to this report