Lamborghini Could Race Le Mans in 2021 with SC18 Alston-Derived Hypercar: Report
Lamborghini’s CEO says Aventador-derived one-off could evolve into a Le Mans fighting racecar for 2021.
In 2020, the FIA World Endurance Championship's top-tier LMP1 class will be replaced by a new hypercar-like prototype class that seeks to more closely emulate road cars, reduce costs, and attract more manufacturers. Aston Martin has already committed to entering, and other automakers such as Koenigsegg and Toyota have been linked to entries, and according to an interview with Lamborghini CEO Stefano Domenicali, the bull-branded supercar manufacturer is interested in wrecking the china shop.
"There are discussions and we are looking to understand the regulations to see if it is of interest," Domenicali told Autocar at the 2019 Goodwood Festival of Speed. "There is nothing to say until the evaluation is finished, and at that point the answer could be yes or no. For now, it is possible."
Translated from corporatese, "of interest" means that Lamborghini won't commit to involving itself in the top-level endurance series unless the regulations will be to its favor. Multiple automakers have already seemingly backed out of the series for this reason, their numbers including the likes of Ford, Ferrari, and Porsche.
The FIA is grappling with pressure from IMSA and its competitors, which hope to engage with the hypercar series if costs remain in line with their current commitments—another concern for Lamborghini. Domenicali implied that to save costs, Lamborghini could base its as-of-yet hypothetical racing hypercar on its Aventador-derived SC18 Alston, which effectively takes the supercar's platform to its logical performance conclusions.
"We don't have the budget to invest in a totally new project, but the SC18 shows that we have a base for what could be an interesting approach. The car shows that we have internal capabilities for such a project," Domenicali commented.
Enactment of the 2020-onward WEC hypercar regulations will approximately coincide with the Aventador's retirement and replacement. Lamborghini has confirmed that the Aventador's followup model will be a plug-in hybrid, one that nevertheless features a naturally aspirated V12, and nearly 1,200 horsepower. Domenicali, however, said in 2017 that this model was five to six years out, meaning the next flagship Lamborghini may arrive too late to participate in the WEC hypercar series's first couple of seasons.