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Lamborghini SC63 finishes home race: reliability and performance continue to grow at the 6 Hours of Imola

21 April 2024

Improved race pace and first Manufacturers world championship point the reward in Italy

Lamborghini Iron Lynx produced its most promising race performance for the Lamborghini SC63 to date, as Mirko Bortolotti, Daniil Kvyat and Edoardo Mortara finished 12th in the 6 Hours of Imola, the second round of the 2024 FIA World Endurance Championship.

Off the back of two morale-boosting performances in Qatar and Sebring, the team approached its home WEC round with optimism following a break in the Balance of Performance (BOP) which offered a lighter car with more power and stint length from the hybrid unit. The pair of Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO2s, competing in the LMGT3 category, also benefited from increased downforce which, combined with the cooler ambient temperatures, suited the #60 and #85 cars during free practice and qualifying.

The result for the #63 also means it scored the first Manufacturer points for Lamborghini in the FIA World Endurance Championship in any case; the #83 Ferrari and #38 Porsche are not eligible to score in the Manufacturers world championship as privateer entries, which elevated the SC63 to 10th, scoring one point.

Free Practice and Qualifying
The weekend began on Friday morning with the first of three practice sessions during which Lamborghini Iron Lynx showed promising pace throughout. Bortolotti set an early flyer, with his best time of 1m32.015 good enough to leave the #63 fourth fastest of the Hypercars at the end of the 90-minute session. With the track surface and characteristics differing wildly from the opening round in Qatar, the drivers reported some issues with the handling of the car, despite overall performance improvements. During the afternoon’s second session, the car suffered a couple of issues, namely a small brake fire which was caused by overheating after a sensor failure, while a minor steering problem curtailed the running towards the end.
Saturday morning was the final chance to fine-tune the car before qualifying, with the #63 finishing 16th fastest after a brief recurrence of the steering gremlin from the previous day. Despite this, Bortolotti qualified the car in the same position for the race, beating the pair of Alpines with a time of 1m31.862, 1.666s off the ultimate pace.

Bortolotti started the race and crucially kept out of trouble during a chaotic opening lap as multiple cars were involved in an incident at Tamburello off the rolling start. The #63 therefore leapt to 12th which then became 11th after a superb overtaking move around the outside of the Proton Porsche at Piratella. Bortolotti completed a triple stint after the early safety car intervention in order to minimise the effect of the tyre warming issues experienced in Qatar. Mortara took over after two hours and maintained the #63’s position on track and even began closing down what had been a five-second margin to the Jota Porsche in front to just under a second before coming into the pits again. Although the race started under clear skies, rain clouds rolled in and added an extra layer of unpredictability as everyone was eventually forced to pit for wet tyres. Kvyat was tasked with finishing the race in the final two hours and arguably had the most demanding conditions as a dry line began to appear entering the closing stages. Two badly timed Full Course Yellow periods dented the #63’s hopes of reaching the points but Kvyat kept it clean, having switched back to slicks, to chase down the Porsche of Jenson Button, coming up just short at the line.
More importantly for the team and Lamborghini Squadra Corse was the trouble-free run for the SC63 which completed its third long-distance race – following the 10-hour WEC opener in Qatar and the 12 Hours of Sebring – in a row and continuing the positive start to the FIA WEC season.

Free Practice and Qualifying
The #85 Iron Dames crew of Sarah Bovy, Michelle Gatting and Doriane Pin entered the weekend in positive moods, and the second-fastest time in qualifying pointed towards a more positive weekend than in Qatar. Bovy set a best time of 1m43.743 to end up just over one-tenth behind the leading Porsche, securing her passage into the top 10 Hyperpole shootout. In the 10-minute session, Bovy placed the Dames fifth on the grid. Meanwhile, after finding their feet in free practice, the #60 of Claudio Schiavoni, Franck Perera and Matteo Cressoni lined up 16th in the LMGT3 field for the 6 Hours.

Unfortunately for the #85 Iron Dames, the race turned sour even before the start of the 6 Hours as an electrical issue was discovered on the formation lap which affected the torque sensor at the rear of the car. Bovy, who started the race, was then hit by the #91 Porsche, causing her to drop four positions. The sensor issue meant that the team had to bring the car into the pits to carry out repairs and the #85 drop over 20 laps before returning to the track. It eventually retired with a damaged floor. In the #60 machine, Schiavoni completed his mandatory drive time without any issue before handing over to Cressoni after two hours. The car remained on the cusp of the top 10 positions, but its cause was dealt a blow after receiving a drivethrough penalty for failing to adhere to blue flags. Cressoni swapped with Perera for the final stints and the car finished 13th at the end.

The next round of the FIA World Endurance Championship will take place at Spa-Francorchamps on the weekend of 9-11 May, which will be the last major hurdle for the SC63 in race conditions before the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June.

Mirko Bortolotti: “It’s been a really special race, it’s always great to race at Imola in the home race for both Lamborghini and me, so it was really amazing to see all the fans [and] to enjoy the atmosphere as well. I’m really happy with the performance; I had a great start from P16 in the first few laps and then after the restart I got up to P11. It was a great first stint, I really enjoyed my first double and I think we can be really happy to bring the car home again, proving the reliability. For sure, we know what we have to work on, but it has been a solid race for the whole team. Everyone did a great job, and we can build on this going forward.”

Daniil Kvyat: “It was a good race, I think the team did a great job in order to be in the mix all race long. Obviously, there are a lot of things to work on, but we are on the right path that’s for sure. Now, we need to communicate as well as possible to try and keep improving the car, we also need to be wise on how we improve the car, but I think we are going in the right direction. But honestly, we need to enjoy this result, 12th is our best result [in the WEC] and in these conditions it was very tough, and I had to really work them out; I had a few scary moments, but I enjoyed the conditions.”

Edoardo Mortara: “In the end, it is a positive result for us; it’s the second race that we have finished without any issues which is quite incredible considering it is a brand-new car. We are also unlocking more performance in the car, and this is something we are seeing week after week. We were definitely more competitive than we were in Qatar and hopefully in the next ones we will be even better, but it has been quite a successful weekend for us in Imola and we are eager for more.”

Rouven Mohr, Lamborghini Chief Technical Officer: “I’m super excited about this result, this is our home race, and Imola is always something special and emotional, and the performance is going in the right direction. The pace is improving, and we are really learning a lot about the car, so I am super happy about this.”


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