Lamborghini Squadra Corse launched 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 Sports Car Championship Endurance Cup, comprising classic races such as the 24 Hours of Daytona and 12 Hours of Sebring.
Lamborghini has partnered with Italian team Iron Lynx to run the car in international competition and has signed world-class drivers from the world of Formula 1 and endurance racing.
The SC63 features an all-new 3.8-liter twin turbo V8 engine that has been developed by Lamborghini engineers specifically for the racing program. The engine is a cold V configuration, meaning that the turbos are mounted outside the vee angle of the engine which makes them easier to cool and to 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, and perfect balance, drivability and consistent speed both over a single lap but also 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). The Power Unit is managed by a Bosch electronic control unit. The LMDh (Le Mans Daytona h) 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 been able to exert their influence over all aspects of the car. Although the gearbox is standard across all LMDh cars, there is still freedom to customise it to a brand’s requirements including the selection of the gear ratios and the slip of the mechanical differential.
Motorsport is, to us, also a valuable and demanding proving ground for our technology. 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.—Rouven Mohr, Lamborghini Chief Technical Officer
Lamborghini has selected renowned experts 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 bellhousing, which fills the gap between the rear of the engine and the front of the gearbox, positively affects torsional stiffness, and has been designed to house the electric engine.
Another key aspect of development is the braking system, which must deliver the highest level of 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 also a system that is able to accommodate different styles of driving.
The bodywork has been designed by Lamborghini’s Centro Stile design department, in conjunction with the race design team. It features very clear 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, in keeping with the branding seen 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 colours, and will carry the branding of 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 sidepods behind the cockpit underwent several iterations before a final design was settled upon. 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. The design team therefore has to take into account 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 widest 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.
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.