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Lamborghini SC63 reaches finish of FIA WEC

4 März 2024
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Strong reliability earns #63 a top 15 result as Iron Dames pick up first points in LMGT3

Lamborghini Iron Lynx delivered a landmark result for the SC63 LMDh prototype by reaching the finish of its first-ever appearance in the top class of the FIA World Endurance Championship in Qatar.

The #63 crew of Mirko Bortolotti, Daniil Kvyat and Edoardo Mortara brought the car home in 15th place at the end of 10 hours of racing at the Lusail International Circuit, demonstrating strong reliability and a solid platform on which to improve for future races.

Having qualified the car on Friday, Kvyat started the race with driving duties split evenly across the trio. The #63 kept its nose clean throughout and avoided any penalties and also battled several more experienced rival teams, gaining knowledge and intelligence of the car and championship with each stint.

Lamborghini Iron Lynx will now shift its attention to another new challenge: the second round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship – and its first competitive outing on US soil – at Sebring in two weeks’ time.

Free Practice and Qualifying

Following the completion of the official pre-season Prologue earlier in the week, competitive timed action began with two free practice sessions on Thursday. The #63 machine notched up 40 laps in a stop-start morning session, where track temperatures were at their highest, and set the 16th fastest time. FP2 took place under the evening floodlights and, with Mortara at the wheel, the car ended up 12th quickest on the timesheets. Unfortunately, a gearbox issue forced Bortolotti to stop at turn seven with 10 minutes remaining, bringing out the red flag and ending the session prematurely.

Friday morning gave the team a chance to ready itself for qualifying during final practice, with Kvyat setting the quickest time of the three drivers (1m42.653) early on. Building temperature in the tyres was a real issue for most crews in the 12-minute qualifying session but Kvyat still managed to set the best lap-time for the SC63 with a 1m41.699 leaving the #63 car 18th on the grid, albeit with plenty of room for improvement.

Race

The race began at 11:00 local time and, with Kvyat at the wheel, the #63 successfully navigated the opening salvo, maintaining position and subsequently moving into the top 15 before making its first scheduled pit-stop. In the early stages, the pace of the SC63 was similar to those cars around it and Kvyat managed to fight with the #35 Alpine and the pair of BMWs approaching the end of his double stint. Similarly, Mortara was embroiled in an entertaining battle with the recovering #51 Ferrari in the third hour before slipping back after another round of stops.

From then, the Lamborghini SC63 kept to its programme of putting in laps, with a particular focus on reliability and operational efficiency in the pits. Bortolotti took over and guided the car to the halfway stage before handing back to Kvyat, with each driver racking up an average of 30 laps in the car.

Unfortunately, the #63 encountered an issue with the front suspension which forced Kvyat to reduce his speed and lose four laps to the leaders with just over three hours of the race remaining. Despite this hiccup, the team remained focused and kept the car running, with the pace improving entering the closing stages. Mortara completed a triple stint with relative ease, benefiting from mechanical problems for both the #15 BMW and #38 Jota Porsche to take the chequered flag in a creditable 14th position.

LMGT3

Free Practice and Qualifying

Both the #60 Iron Lynx and #85 Iron Dames crews entered the weekend off the back of a productive Prologue and racked up the kilometres during free practice. In qualifying, Sarah Bovy took the #85 Huracán she shared with Michelle Gatting and Doriane Pin into Hyperpole and secured sixth on the grid for the race. The #60 of Claudio Schiavoni, Matteo Cressoni and Franck Perera qualified 17th. 

Race

From the start, there was drama as Bovy made contact with the #59 McLaren, an unfortunate consequence of the tight bottleneck at turn one. The stewards deemed it a racing incident and the #85 settled into a good rhythm inside the top 10 and was involved in close battles. With Gatting at the wheel in her opening pair of stints, the #85 slipped down the order as the team opted conserve tyres at the fourth pit-stop. However, it made inroads in the second half of the race and took Lamborghini’s first world championship points in eighth place. For the #60, Schiavoni kept out of trouble to complete his minimum drive time of two hours and 55 minutes and, despite a late drivethrough penalty for track limits infringements, Cressoni and Perera hauled the car to 12th at the finish.

Quotes

Mirko Bortolotti: “I think we have to look at the positives and for sure, we can consider this a great start to the journey, we managed to finish the race which was the target for us. It’s been an extended test as we have been learning with every session this weekend and I think it’s a good starting point for us. There is a lot of work ahead of us that we are happy to continue. But for Qatar, it has been a good start by finishing the race and collecting a lot of useful data for the future.”

Daniil Kvyat: “It was important to finish the race and get to the chequered flag today, because we need to get a lot of information for the drivers, the engineers and the mechanics, and we did exactly what we planned. It’s a good start, we have a strong foundation, a lot of work to do to get to the top, but personally I want to get to the top someday with this team and that job starts today.”

Edoardo Mortara: “This is the end of our week in Qatar, it has been a long week with some very long hours of, hard work and in the end, we are actually extremely happy to have been able to finish the race. Our first race in WEC was not an easy one for us but we are happy to see that we could compete with the others, obviously there are many things to improve, but at least in terms of reliability we proved that we could finish the race without any major issues. Now, we just need to understand how to extract more performance out of our package, for sure we will have some long days ahead of us but it’s a fantastic project and personally I enjoyed my first race weekend with Lamborghini very much and I am already looking forward to the second race.”

Rouven Mohr, Lamborghini Chief Technical Officer: “I am super happy that we have made the finish of our LMDh debut. This is a very exciting moment for us because it was a big challenge and, at the end of the day, the result has shown that the team worked very well together, and the base performance of the car is there. For sure, we have to improve a lot to be more consistent and overall, I am very happy.”

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