Lamborghini Essenza SCV12: The First Car You Can Buy With a FIA-Spec Carbon Fiber Rollcage
Unsightly steel tubes are entirely absent from Lamborghini’s new track-only hypercar.
When it comes to safety on the track, a rollcage is absolutely essential to protect the driver in the event of a major crash or rollover. Historically, these have been built out of thick steel tubes, with designs growing more complex over the years to better guard the driver against impacts or potential cabin intrusions. However, Lamborghini's new track-only hypercar eschews the typical rollcage entirely, replacing it with a FIA-homologated carbon rollover structure instead.
The car in question is Lamborghini's Essenza SCV12, part of an arrive-and-drive program run by the company similar to Ferrari's XX Programme. Owners of the cars drive them at select events organized by the company, with the cars taken care of by Lamborghini in a special hanger in Sant'Agata when they're not out on track. It's a product targeted at wealthy enthusiasts with cash to burn, who can easily afford not just the purchase price but also the time to regularly travel to far-flung locales for a bit of track action.
Lamborghini is touting the fact that the car is the first on the market that complies with FIA Hypercar safety standards, particularly in the case of its carbon fiber roll structure. One of the main benefits of this is that it frees up rather a lot of space without having big steel tubes cluttering up the interior. Other cars such as the Ford GT have achieved this by integrating a steel rollcage into the existing roof and pillar structure, but Lamborghini's design eschews metal tubing entirely. Instead, the carbon composite monocoque serves as the crash structure itself. Of course, there's still the carbon-fiber side impact structure to climb over, but it still looks easier to get into and out of than the typical rollcaged track special.
The added interior space is intended to appeal to Lamborghini's wealthy clientele, who presumably grow tired of squeezing through rollcages when entering and alighting from their limited-run track-only hypercars. Commenting on the design, factory driver Marco Mapelli said "Essenza SCV12 is not only a fast car that can deliver exhilarating experiences, but it’s also equipped with an incredibly comfortable and spacious cabin. This is a unique feature appreciated by all gentlemen drivers, for whom it is intended.”
One suspects that the feature may have come about as Lamborghini's coaching drivers got sick of hearing their students grumble and complain about the tight cockpits of the company's track-only specials. Whether or not that's true remains pure speculation, of course. Regardless, it's a feather in the cap of the automaker nonetheless. We fully expect to see their competitors copying the idea in future cars, now that it's obvious it can be done. No tycoon will want to be caught crawling out of a rollcage now that Lamborghini has made them obsolete, after all.
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