Lamborghini SC63 LMDh
The Lamborghini SC63 LMDh racing car was revealed ahead of the 2024 FIA World Endurance Championship and IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship racing programs.
Lamborghini Squadra Corse today launches its first hybrid endurance racing prototype, the SC63, at Goodwood Festival of Speed. The SC63, which will begin testing within weeks, is set to compete in the Hypercar class of the 2024 FIA World Endurance Championship, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and in the GTP class of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Endurance Cup, comprising classic races such as the 24 Hours of Daytona and 12 Hours of Sebring. Lamborghini has partnered with the Italian team Iron Lynx to run the car in international competition and has signed world-class drivers from Formula 1 and endurance racing.
The LMDh project represents a new concept of racing. It fits the Direzione Cor Tauri strategy presented in 2021: a roadmap for electrification leading the company to hybridize the entire model range by the end of 2024, enhancing driving emotions and performances simultaneously. Thanks to the SC63, this approach has also been applied to the motorsport program representing a new pillar of the Lamborghini Manifesto: Driving Humans Beyond.
The SC63 features an all-new 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8 engine developed by Lamborghini engineers specifically for the racing program. The engine is a "cold V" configuration, meaning that the turbos are mounted outside the engine's vee angle, making them easier to cool and service. Furthermore, the "cold V" solution lowers the mass and optimizes the car's center of gravity. This solution, combined with a specifically developed aero balance and attitude, has been identified as the most effective to achieve the best tire grip, perfect balance, drivability, and consistent speed over a single lap and across long-distance races.
Power from the engine and the hybrid system, which is standard across the LMDh-category cars, is limited by regulation to 500kW (680 CV). A Bosch electronic control unit manages the Power Unit. The LMDh rule set specifies a standard gearbox, battery, and motor generator unit (MGU), which helps to contain the development costs for the prototype.
Under the skin, Lamborghini engineers have exerted influence over all aspects of the car. Although the gearbox is standard across all LMDh cars, there is still freedom to customize it to a brand's requirements, including the selection of the gear ratios and the slip of the mechanical differential.
Lamborghini has selected renowned expert Ligier as its partner to develop and build the monocoque. As the first manufacturer to select Ligier on an LMDh project, there was freedom for Lamborghini to specify its requirements, including the development of the push rod front suspension design, overall weight distribution, and ease of service for critical parts of the car. The bell housing, which fills the gap between the engine's rear and the gearbox's front, positively affects torsional stiffness and has been designed to house the electric engine.
Another critical development aspect is the braking system, which must deliver the highest performance and reliability in all conditions. Endurance racing places a lot of stress on the brakes, and the first target has been to find a compromise between weight and durability, effective cooling, and a system that can accommodate different driving styles.
Lamborghini's Centro Stile design department has designed the bodywork with the race design team. It features obvious brand styling cues throughout the car, including the iconic y-shaped lights at the front and rear.
The cars will be dressed in a familiar livery, keeping with the branding on the Huracán GT3 challenger. The SC63s will run in Verde Mantis green, with a black Nero Noctis strip over the cabin, front hood, carbon diffuser, rear fin, and wing. The cars will also feature green, white, and red Italian Tricolore colors and will carry the branding of the long-time partner of Lamborghini, Swiss watch manufacturer Roger Dubuis.
The cooling layout for the car has decided much of the engineering and design. For example, air intakes into the side pods behind the cockpit underwent several iterations before a final design was settled. The team has incorporated eight different radiators, including two intercoolers, one gearbox radiator, one condenser for the air conditioning, one radiator for the Energy Recovery System (ERS), one for the Energy Storage System (ESS), and two water radiators.
One of the limitations of the regulation is that there is only one body kit configuration allowed, and changes that teams are allowed to make to that kit race-to-race are limited. Therefore, The design team has to consider the worst-case scenario, such as high ambient temperatures, and manage the thermal efficiency of the car at both IMSA and WEC circuits.
The SC63 has been designed and developed to offer the most comprehensive "operating window" possible to optimize performance while also being able to look after its tires even on the most aggressive track surfaces. Ahead track testing, intense development work has been carried out in the virtual world using a Driver in the Loop (DiL) simulator.
Further help has come from the Lamborghini factory drivers Mirko Bortolotti and Andrea Caldarelli and new drivers Daniil Kvyat and Romain Grosjean. The latter two have recent race experience with hybrids in Formula 1 and have been able to help the engineers to tune the LMDh system, in particular, design the steering wheel controls to allow the driver to control the necessary functions of the hybrid system.
Starting in 2024, one car will compete in the full FIA World Endurance Championship. The second car will race in the North American Endurance Championship races of the IMSA series. The Iron Lynx team, presented as a partner at the 2022 Lamborghini Grand Finals, will run the cars in both series, and the driving lineup will include Bortolotti, Caldarelli, Grosjean, and Kvyat. Other drivers will be confirmed later in 2023.