LMDh car revealed at Goodwood Festival of Speed ahead of the 2024 FIA World Endurance Championship and IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship racing programs.
The SC63 is the first hybrid endurance racing prototype from Lamborghini Squadra Corse, and it was unveiled today at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. In the coming weeks, the SC63 will begin testing in preparation for its 2024 FIA World Endurance Championship debut in the Hypercar class, which will include the 24 Hours of Le Mans, as well as the IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship Endurance Cup debut in the GTP class, which will feature iconic events like the 24 Hours of Daytona and 12 Hours of Sebring. Lamborghini has hired top-tier drivers from Formula One and endurance racing to pilot the car in international competition as part of a partnership with Italian squad Iron Lynx.
The LMDh initiative is a new way of thinking about racing, and it fits in with the Direzione Cor Tauri plan unveiled in 2021. This strategy is a road map for electrification that will eventually see the business hybridise all of its models. A new tenet of the Lamborghini Manifesto, "Driving Humans Beyond," has been implemented through the SC63's race programme.
The SC63 is the most advanced racing car ever produced by Lamborghini and it follows our roadmap ‘Direzione Cor Tauri’ laid out by the brand for the electrification of our product range,” says Stephan Winkelmann, Lamborghini Chairman and CEO. “The opportunity to compete in some of the biggest endurance races in the world with a hybrid prototype fits with our vision for the future of high-performance mobility, as demonstrated for road legal cars with the launch of the Revuelto. The SC63 LMDh is the step into the highest echelons and into the future of motorsports for our Squadra Corse.”
Lamborghini engineers designed a brand-new 3.8-liter twin turbo V8 engine for the SC63's racing programme. Since the turbos are externally installed in the 'cold V' layout of the engine, cooling and maintenance are simplified. In addition to minimising weight, the 'cold V' approach also improves the vehicle's centre of gravity. The best tyre grip, flawless balance, driveability, and constant speed can be attained with this approach, especially when paired with a specially built aero balance and attitude, and this holds true for both short and long races.
The combined output of the LMDh-category automobiles' base engine and hybrid system is capped at 500 kW (680 CV). A Bosch electronic control unit regulates the Power Unit's operation. The LMDh rule set helps keep prototype costs down by mandating a common gearbox, battery, and motor generator unit (MGU).
Engineers at Lamborghini have complete control over everything under the hood. While all LMDh vehicles share the same gearbox, the gear ratios and mechanical differential slip may be adjusted to meet the specific needs of each manufacturer.
“Motorsport is, to us, also a valuable and demanding proving ground for our technology,” states Rouven Mohr, Lamborghini Chief Technical Officer “Our LMDh car, the Lamborghini SC63, is an exciting challenge from both a technical and a human standpoint. The development of our internal combustion engine, aerodynamically efficient bodywork and the overall technical package is a process that has pushed us to constantly raise our own standards. Now, it is time to put the wheels in motion, literally, on track in order to be ready and competitive for the 2024 season. As we develop our LMDh car, we are also mindful of the technology transfer opportunities. We will take our learning experiences from motorsport and apply them where possible to our future production cars.”To collaborate on the design and construction of the monocoque, Lamborghini has chosen recognised experts Ligier. Since Lamborghini was the first automaker to work with Ligier on an LMDh project, it was able to dictate terms such as the push rod front suspension design, overall weight distribution, and simplicity of repair for key components. The bellhousing, which houses the electric motor, bridges the space between the engine and the gearbox, and has a beneficial effect on torsional rigidity.
The braking system is also an important part of the development process since it has to work perfectly every time. The brakes take a beating in endurance races, therefore the primary goal has been to develop a system that can adapt to diverse driving styles while still being efficient and lasting.
Lamborghini's Centro Stile and the racing design team collaborated on the exterior design. All across the automobile are obvious trademark style references, such as the distinctive y-shaped headlights and taillights.
“From the beginning, my personal briefing to the design-team was that the car needs to be highly functional, but we wanted to create a car that is immediately recognizable as Lamborghini,” says Mitja Borkert, Lamborghini’s Head of Design at Centro Stile. “The main recognition of the front and rear of the SC63 is driven by the y-shaped signature light. The size of the cabin and the main character of the car is driven by the sporting rules, but we have also implemented our own brand styling cues throughout the car. Integrated into the side panel of the body you can see a NACA duct that was inspired by the air intake of the Countach. When you look at the rear wheel arch, we gave the impression of acceleration towards the front, and this relates to the wheel arch design language of Lamborghini that can also been seen on the Revuelto.”
The vehicles will have a recognisable livery, echoing the branding of the Huracán GT3 rival. The SC63s will compete while wearing a Verde Mantis green body with a Nero Noctis black stripe over the roof, front hood, carbon diffuser, rear fin, and wing. In addition to the Italian Tricolore hues of green, white, and red, the automobiles will also have the logo of Lamborghini's long-time collaborator, the Swiss watchmaker Roger Dubuis.
Much of the engineering and design of the vehicle was determined by the cooling system's configuration. There were several revisions made to the design of the air intakes in the sidepods behind the cockpit, for instance, before a final version was chosen. Two intercoolers, one gearbox radiator, one air conditioning condenser, one Energy Recovery System (ERS) radiator, one Energy Storage System (ESS) radiator, and two water radiators are among the eight radiators the team has integrated.
One restriction of the rule is that teams are only permitted to use one specific body kit configuration for an entire racing season. Therefore, the design team must manage the car's thermal efficiency for both IMSA and WEC circuits, taking into consideration the worst-case scenario, such as high ambient temperatures.
The SC63's 'operational window' has been optimised to be as large as possible so that it can maximise performance while yet protecting the tyres, even on the roughest of tracks. Driver in the Loop (DiL) simulations have been used for extensive development work prior to track testing.
Lamborghini factory drivers Mirko Bortolotti and Andrea Caldarelli, together with newcomers Daniil Kvyat and Romain Grosjean, have also contributed to the team's success. The latter two helped the developers refine the LMDh system by providing first-hand knowledge of driving hybrids in recent Formula 1 races and providing input on the design of controls mounted on the steering wheel.
“This year marks not only the 60th anniversary of our brand, but also the tenth anniversary of Squadra Corse, Lamborghini’s motorsport division,” says Giorgio Sanna, Lamborghini’s Head of Motorsport. “Over the last decade we have achieved great results. Starting from scratch we have won some of the most prestigious endurance races in the GT category for our production-based racing cars. These include three class wins at the 24 hours of Daytona, and two wins in a row at the Sebring 12 hours. Now we are ready for what is our biggest step into the future of motorsport, measuring ourselves against the best manufacturers in the world.”
The FIA World Endurance Championship will have a single vehicle beginning in 2024. The IMSA North American Endurance Championship is where the backup vehicle will see action. Bortolotti, Caldarelli, Grosjean, and Kvyat will be the drivers for the Iron Lynx team in both series once they are announced as a partner at the 2022 Lamborghini Grand Finals. Later in 2023, we expect to announce more drivers.