Lamborghini will enter LMDh prototype in IMSA’s new top GTP category, starting in 2024

Lamborghini Motorsport
0 Comments

The IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship will welcome another manufacturer to its new premier division as Lamborghini Squadra Corse announced plans Tuesday to join the GTP class via the LMDh prototype in the 2024 season.

It’s a significant leap for Lamborghini, which has competed exclusively in the GT divisions since its return to motorsports and sports cars nearly a decade ago.

The automaker won the GTD class in the Rolex 24 at Daytona for three consecutive years from 2018-20 but now will be competing against big-budget manufacturers Acura, BMW, Cadillac and Porsche while building its first prototype.

“For sure, it’s a double step,” Lamborghini head of motorsport Giorgio Sanna told NBC Sports in a recent interview. “But it’s something we have digested and prepared ourselves for this kind of jump. It’s not something we’re doing just being brave to do it.

“We consider ourselves ready to move into this field considering the experience we’ve done. The results we’ve achieved but much more important with the structure we are putting together to face this kind of challenge. So we are absolutely excited about this opportunity but especially motivated and convinced that we have all we need to do everything in a proper way.”

Lamborghini also will be entering the top Hypercar level of the FIA World Endurance Championship with the move, which will put the company in all of the world’s biggest endurance races such as Le Mans, Daytona, Sebring and Spa as the top divisions in IMSA and WEC can square off starting in 2023.

“This step up into the highest echelon of sports car racing marks an important milestone for our company,” Lamborghini Chairman and CEO Stephan Winkelmann said in a release. “We will be measuring ourselves against the very best, on the most demanding proving grounds. On one hand, this will give our successful motorsports program even more visibility, but it will also allow us to test future technologies: our LMDh prototypes will become our most sophisticated open laboratory on four wheels.”

AMERICAN RACERS: Lamborghini CEO on company’s U.S. sports car racing investment

In addition to the brand appeal and its impact on production sales, Sanna said Lamborghini is intrigued by the technology spinoffs of LMDh racing and its hybrid powerplant. By the end of 2024, Lamborghini’s street cars all will be hybridized.

“Motorsport is becoming step by step a real asset from the marketing perspective for the company,” Sanna said. “It’s still a very good benchmark to develop technologies and a technical future that could be transferred on street legal cars, as we have already done in the last few years. Motorsport is an opportunity to develop technology, and the LMDh is also a good opportunity to link the experience and technology of hybridization that will be the base of all the product portfolio of our street cars.”

Lamborghini has used a customer approach for its GT program, selling more than 500 race cars in the past seven years. Sanna said the company won’t have a “pure factory team” the way that future LMDh manufacturers such as Acura and Cadillac currently employ in DPi.

But Lamborghini intends to have a “reference customer team” that will help manage the program.

Lamborghini head of motorsport Giorgio Sanna (Lamborghini).

“At the moment, it’s quite early to talk about how many cars or teams we can manage for the simple reason that LMDh is not a GT3,” Sanna said. “It’s a car much more complicated on the technical side. The costs are higher, but more than that, we have to take in consideration the capability that we have to support more than one to two teams, and two to six cars. So it’ll be evaluated with the right time in the future.”

After completing engineering over the rest of 2022, Lamborghini plans to begin on-track testing by March of 2023. The goal is to be racing no later than the 2024 24 Hours of Le Mans, but the LMDh car possibly could be ready by Daytona or Sebring in ‘24.

Lamborghini will continue to operate its GT customer programs, which includes its IMSA-sanctioned Super Trofeo North America series whose deal was extended in January through 2026 in another example of Lamborghini’s growth in sports cars.

Super Trofeo started with fewer than 10 cars in 2013 and had a record field of more than 30 cars for its recent Laguna Seca round. Sanna expects to have 40 cars by the end of the season.

“We started from ground zero, especially in America, and had to build up the credibility, and that is something you cannot buy in the supermarket one day,” Sanna said. “It’s something that you have to achieve day by day. The trust from the fans, the drivers, the teams, the partners all together.

“The feedback we see is they like our family feeling we have. We like to manage the business and the racing activities with the same passion as our customers. We share the same passion for the super sports cars. This is something people can recognize easily with us. This kind of passion, vision and attitude is for sure something that is appreciated.”

“IMSA has enjoyed a longstanding partnership with Lamborghini dating back to the introduction of Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America a decade ago and continuing into a successful GTD program,” IMSA President John Doonan said in a release. “We are proud that Lamborghini is confirming plans to grow its IMSA footprint even further in 2024 into GTP and the top category of prototype sports car racing. Having another manufacturer of this caliber make the commitment to race in GTP reinforces the LMDh technical platform that we developed alongside our partners at the ACO, and we cannot wait to see these new Lamborghini prototypes debut in the 2024 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.”

The convergence of the top platforms in IMSA and the ACO (sanctioning body for WEC) will allow the series to cross over at Daytona and Le Mans for the first time in decades, harkening back to the “Ford v. Ferrari” era and helping cement Lamborghini’s LMDh decision.

“Absolutely, because it’s the first time that we have a real cooperation between IMSA and ACO to have at least two LMDh cars on a global platform where you can use this kind of car in the entire world,” he said. “This is fundamental for us because we consider ourselves global players. It’s fundamental to invest money in something you can use and capitalize globally.”

With Porsche entering the IMSA GTP category next season with Team Penske, Lamborghini’s arrival will mark two brands under the Volkswagen Auto Group umbrella. Sanna said Lamborghini will work independent of Porsche.

“It’s fundamental within the group,” he said. “Everyone is under the same umbrella to share the strategy and needs of each company and each brand, and we have the freedom to take our decision that has to be shared inside the group, but we are independent, and for this reason also, we decided to develop a standalone project. Because we aren’t looking to do motorsport just to put a badge on the car but really to learn, to experience and to grow, bringing technical know-how and competence in house. That’s the key factor of doing motorsport.”

2023 SuperMotocross Power Rankings after Detroit: Chase Sexton narrowly leads Cooper Webb

0 Comments

For the fifth time in 10 rounds of the 2023 Monster Energy Supercross season, the three riders at the top of the championship standings shared a podium and while those points tell one story, the NBC SuperMotocross Power Rankings after Detroit tell a slightly different tale.

SuperMotocross Power Rankings Detroit
Cooper Webb is peaking at the right time. – Feld Motor Sports

Chase Sexton has been all but perfect during the past 45 days with podium finishes in each of his heats and Triple Crown features. His only stumble during this period was a 10th-place finish in the Indianapolis Main. Last week, Sexton was perfect with wins in both his heat and the feature, although he needed a little help from an Aaron Plessinger mistake to take the top spot on the podium at the end of the night.

Cooper Webb finished fifth at Houston and was beginning to worry ever so slightly about his position in the points. Prior to the race in Tampa, he told NBC Sports that it was time to win and like Babe Ruth pointing to the outfield fence, Webb went out and captured it. Following that race, Webb has swept the podium and earned the red plate two weeks ago in Indianapolis. At Detroit, he added two more points on Eli Tomac as the season begins to wind down.

Tomac struggled with a stiff neck at Indianapolis and after a modest third-place showing in Detroit, he revealed he was still suffering a little. Webb and Sexton have been able to close the gap on Tomac in the past 45 days, but one of the main reasons he is so close in the points was a pair of wins that started the year. Seattle is going to be important for the defending champion because Tomac cannot afford to lose any more momentum with seven rounds remaining.

MORE: Chase Sexton inherits the win in Detroit

It appeared Jason Anderson was turning things around. He earned his fifth heat win at Detroit, which was also his sixth consecutive race (including features) in which he scored a top-five. A fall in the Detroit Main dropped him a lap off the pace and sent him home with a season-worst finish of ninth, causing a ripple effect in the SuperMotocross Power Rankings.

Justin Barcia was a huge part of the show last week in Detroit. He swapped positions with both Webb and Tomac in the middle stage of the race, which allowed Sexton to close the gap. Barcia finished fourth in that race to earn his third consecutive top-five. He’s been outside the top 10 only once in the first 10 rounds.

Adam Cianciarulo had a great start to the Main. He led a couple of laps before losing a lap and slipping back to eighth in the final rundown. That run was strong enough to elevate him three positions in the SuperMotocross Power Rankings after Detroit.

450 Rankings

This
Week
Driver Percentage
Points
Last
Week
Diff.
1. Chase Sexton
[2 Main, 6 Heat wins]
87.00 1 0
2. Cooper Webb
[2 Main, 1 Heat win]
86.71 2 0
3. Eli Tomac
[5 Main, 6 Heat wins]
84.57 3 0
4. Jason Anderson
[5 Heat wins]
80.71 4 0
5. Ken Roczen
[1 Main, 1 Heat win]
80.50 5 0
6. Justin Barcia
[1 Heat win]
79.07 7 1
7. Aaron Plessinger 77.14 6 -1
8. Adam Cianciarulo 69.75 11 3
9. Christian Craig 68.86 10 1
10. Justin Cooper 63.90 9 -1
11. Justin Hill 58.57 15 4
12. Dean Wilson 51.50 12 0
13. Colt Nichols 51.25 13 0
14. Shane McElrath 46.86 17 3
15. Josh Hill 46.79 16 1
16. Benny Bloss 45.31 18 2
17. Jared Lesher 39.00 NA
18. Joey Savatgy 38.63 14 -4
19. Cade Clason 37.50 21 2
20. Grant Harlan 35.54 23 3

Supercross 450 Points


The NBC SuperMotocross Power Rankings look at the past 90 days in the 250 class in order to have a balanced comparison between the East and West divisions and Hunter Lawrence has been all but perfect this year. At Detroit, he earned his fifth win of the season and kept alive a streak of podium finishes in six rounds. He tied his brother Jett Lawrence with 10 250 wins one week before the West riders take to the track for back-to-back races at Seattle, Washington and Glendale, Arizona.

SuperMotocross Power Rankings Detroit
Nate Thrasher is settling into a comfortable role as ‘best in class’. – Feld Motor Sports

The Lawrence brothers are dominating the points in each of their respective divisions, which means the remainder of the field is battling to be best in class.

In the East, that rider is Nate Thrasher, who beat Hunter in a head-to-head matchup in their heat only to finish second in the main when the majority of points were awarded. Thrasher seems to have accepted his position in the championship standings, but that doesn’t mean he won’t keep trying for wins.

Haiden Deegan showed a lot of aggression in his heat last week. He threw a couple of block passes at his teammate Jordon Smith and set up a series of events that kept Smith from making the big show while Deegan settled into second in the preliminary. Deegan was unconcerned about how he raced his teammate and would not let a little controversy keep him from celebrating his second career podium in Detroit.

Supercross 250 Points

Jeremy Martin just keeps clicking off solid results. He won his heat last week by making a pass on Deegan and Smith while they were in the heat of their battle. Martin finished fourth in the Main, which means he continues to have only one finish worse than sixth in any of the features or mains.

Smith fell one position in the points standings, but the damage was even worse in SuperMotocross Power Rankings after Detroit. Crash damage in his heat contributed to a last-place finish in that race, for which he earned minimal points. He was not able to advance from the Last Chance Qualifier after stalling his bike in heavy traffic.

250 Rankings

This
Week
Rider Power
Avg.
Last
Week
Diff.
1. Hunter Lawrence – E
[5 Main, 5 Heat wins]
90.43 1 0
2. Jett Lawrence – W
[3 Main, 3 Heat wins]
90.30 2 0
3. Nate Thrasher – E
[1 Main, 3 Heat wins]
84.00 5 2
4. Cameron McAdoo – W
[1 Heat win]
79.80 9 5
5. Haiden Deegan – E
[1 Heat win]
78.21 7 2
6. Jeremy Martin – E
[2 Heat wins]
78.00 8 2
7. Jordon Smith – E
[3 Heat Wins]
76.77 4 -3
8. Levi Kitchen – W
[1 Main]
75.30 3 -5
9. Mitchell Oldenburg – W 75.20 11 2
10. RJ Hampshire – W
[4 Heat wins]
74.50 17 7
11. Max Anstie – E 74.43 6 -5
12. Tom Vialle – E 72.07 12 0
13. Max Vohland – W 71.56 10 -3
14. Stilez Robertson – W
[1 Heat win]
69.22 14 0
15. Chris Blose – E 67.43 18 3
16. Chance Hymas – E 67.10 15 -1
17. Enzo Lopes – W 66.00 20 3
18. Michael Mosiman – E 65.80 16 -2
19. Pierce Brown – W 65.78 13 -6
20. Phil Nicoletti – W 59.25 21 1

* The NBC Power Rankings assign 100 points to a Main event winner and 90 points for each Heat and Triple Crown win, (Triple Crown wins are included with heat wins below the rider’s name). The points decrement by a percentage equal to the number of riders in the field until the last place rider in each event receives five points. The Power Ranking is the average of these percentage points over the past 45 days for the 450 class and last 90 days for 250s (because of the split nature of their season).

POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 8 AT DAYTONA: Chase Sexton unseats Eli Tomac
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 7 AT ARLINGTON: Jason Anderson narrowly trails Tomac
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 6 AT OAKLAND: Perfect night keeps Tomac first
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 5 AT TAMPA: Sexton, Cooper Webb close in
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 4 AT HOUSTON: Tomac rebounds from A2 crash, retakes lead
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 3 AT ANAHEIM 2: Consistency makes Ken Roczen king
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 2 AT SAN DIEGO: Roczen moves up, Sexton falls
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 1 AT ANAHEIM 1: Tomac, Jett Lawrence gain an early advantage