DIME Racing will be contesting the full Pirelli World Challenge SprintX season and making selected Sprint race appearances, beginning the weekend in Long Beach with Jonathan Summerton behind the wheel of a Lamborghini Huracan GT3.
It marks the debut for the GT3-spec Lamborghini in World Challenge, and a step in a new direction for the team after fielding a Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 last year.
Team owner Rod Shegem, whose DIME Research and Development company manufactures both Lamborghini and Mercedes aftermarket parts at its Huntington Beach, Calif. headquarters, said the discussions to bring Lamborghini to World Challenge had been taking place since the middle of last season.
“We’ve been talking with Lamborghini for awhile,” Shegem told Sportscar365. “We’re planning to run SprintX this year for sure, and we’re going to run a couple other Sprint races as well.
“We’re pretty busy in the business, and this year we decided to go with the Lamborghini to promote the Lamborghini aftermarket side of our business. We build twin-turbo packages for the street Huracans.
“We still work on Mercedes as well as aftermarket and love working with them still.
“Luckily this year there’s five Mercedes that are going to run the series, so it’s good for us to run Lamborghini.
“We think it’s a good car for the track to run the Lamborghini here this year. The SprintX should be enough but we might run Laguna Seca and Sonoma as well for the Sprint.”
After debuting with the team for two rounds at Sonoma last year, Summerton said he stayed in touch throughout the offseason in the hopes a deal would materialize.
“Rod’s been working really hard to get things together,” Summerton told Sportscar365. “Since we last drove together at Sonoma, it’s been non-stop.
“We’ve been trying to put thing together for a Mercedes gig, but this came together with Lamborghini and they were really excited so we decided to jump on it.
“Of course the series is very excited about having a Lamborghini in, so all the better. It’s looking promising for the rest of the year, but just for now we’re starting off here.”
For Summerton, tomorrow’s one-hour practice session will be his first in a Lamborghini, and the first on-track session for the team with their new car which is currently being leased from the DAC Motorsports IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship squad.
“It’s going to be straight into practice, first time driving the car,” Summerton said.
“We got the car on Monday, so pretty much the first practice is going to be a bit of a shakedown and put everything right, get me acclimated to the car.
“In all fairness, street tracks, you have to be right on the limit but it’s not necessarily going to be down to the best setup. That’s the good part.”
For the Californian team and driver, Long Beach is a chance to impress in front of their home crowd.
“It is our home grand prix,” said Shegem. “It’s a good track for us, home track, and we’re happy to be here.
“We hope we do a good show this year, and we expect a lot of good results with the Lamborghini.”
John Dagys contributed to this report