Endurance racing has had a tumultuous few years, with the nascent Hypercar class facing struggles and LMP1 regulations drawing to a close. However, a new day is dawning, and there's hope on the horizon. Manufacturers have been piling in to sign up for competition under the new LMDh rules, and the latest to do so is Lamborghini, reports RACER.
Lamborghini is set to join alongside factory efforts from Acura, Audi, BMW and Porsche, which will all compete in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship class. Cadillac is also understood to be preparing an LMDh effort which will be officially announced prior to the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The report makes Lamborghini the sixth automaker to join the burgeoning competition.
It's welcome news for endurance racing fans, who have had to watch a steady decline of entries in top classes over the years. The LMDh class, standing for Le Mans Daytona Hybrid, has some appeal, as it allows manufacturers to enter both IMSA races as well as the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) with the same car. Historically, this hasn't been possible, with IMSA-ready prototypes requiring major changes in order to compete in the WEC, for example. With LMDh, that will no longer be the case.
As is their custom, the Italian automaker will likely work with an external partner that will handle the nitty-gritty of running a race team and developing the cars. The arrangements aren't completely done and dusted, with Lamborghini senior motorsport manager Chris Ward stating "We are not 100 percent over the line, I can confirm that, but if I was to say we’re 90 percent of the way there, that would be pretty accurate." Ward goes on to note that "Historically, we don’t go factory racing in the way that you might see Porsche or others go factory racing. To get us all the way there, it’s going to take a customer effort behind it."
With fellow Volkswagen Group companies Porsche and Audi also competing in LMDh, the three companies seem likely to use the same underlying chassis from Canadian supplier Multimatic. The two German companies are set to compete in 2023, with Lamborghini stepping up to the plate a year later in 2024.
All in all, it's nice to see manufacturers backing the new regulations in numbers. It bodes well for the future of motorsport, in an era that has seen many factory efforts fall by the wayside in the face of rising costs. Fans can look forward to seeing the new LMDh prototypes hitting the track in just over 18 months time.
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