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Lamborghini SC63 set for historic Le Mans 24 Hours debut

10 juin 2024
Motorsport
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#63 of Bortolotti-Kvyat-Mortara joined by Cairoli-Caldarelli-Grosjean in #19 for FIA WEC endurance classic

Lamborghini Iron Lynx will embark on the most significant race in its history this weekend as it prepares to fight for outright honours at the 24 Hours of Le Mans with a pair of Lamborghini SC63 LMDh prototypes in round four of the FIA World Endurance Championship.

Edoardo Mortara returns to the #63 full-season FIA WEC entry, alongside Mirko Bortolotti and Daniil Kvyat, while Andrea Caldarelli will line up with regular IMSA team-mates Romain Grosjean and Matteo Cairoli in the #19 car, which will make its FIA WEC debut in France.

Lamborghini will also compete for LMGT3 spoils with two Huracán GT3 EVO2s. After securing their maiden FIA WEC podium at Spa-Francorchamps, Franck Perera, Claudio Schiavoni and Matteo Cressoni will again team up in the #60 car while Michelle Gatting, Sarah Bovy and Rahel Frey continue in the #85 Iron Dames machine. The Dames were forced into a late alteration to their entry following the unfortunate rib injury to Doriane Pin, who had been originally scheduled to drive.

Preparations for the 24 Hours are already well underway, with the traditional public scrutineering taking place on Friday in the city centre of Le Mans before the official Test Day over the weekend of 8-9 June. The Test Day gave the team its first opportunity to turn laps on the iconic 13.626km Circuit de la Sarthe and their eye in before official timed practice begins in earnest on Wednesday 12th June.

Across the pair of three-hour sessions, the #63 ended up as the seventh-fastest car out of 23 Hypercar entry, while the #19 completed its first day in the FIA WEC in 18th.

The season so far

There have been mixed fortunes for the #63 in the FIA WEC season so far, with strong reliability taking the crew to a 13th place finish in the opening round of the year in Qatar. On home soil at Imola, Bortolotti, Mortara and Kvyat profited from a noticeable performance improvement to take the car to a promising 12th amid changeable conditions. Unfortunately, the 6 Hours of Spa ended prematurely as a suspension failure delivered the first non-finish for the SC63.

For the #19, race running has been limited in 2024 to date, with just one event for the car coming in March for the 12 Hours of Sebring, the first outing on American soil for the SC63. Despite being ostensibly a test for the new car, the notoriously bumpy circuit provided enough data and learning throughout the weekend and a superb seventh-place finish delivered the first drivers’ championship points and demonstrated the mechanical integrity of the SC63 which suffered only a minor issue with a loose door.

Ambition high on both fronts
In keeping with the objectives during the Lamborghini SC63’s debut season in both the FIA WEC and IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship campaigns, data gathering and reaching the finish with strong reliability remain the overriding aims for the Lamborghini Iron Lynx team.
Additionally, performance improvements will be expected throughout the Test Day and race week, with the inclusion of a second car key to building a strong platform on which to take the next step into the second half of the season.

Meanwhile, expectations in LMGT3 are high for both cars which demonstrated race-winning potential at the previous round in Belgium. The #60 of Perera, Cressoni and Schiavoni came within a lap of taking a remarkable victory, from the back of the grid, only for a late splash for fuel which dropped it to third at the finish. For the #85 Iron Dames crew of Bovy, Gatting and Frey, redemption will also be on their minds after dominating the Spa event from pole position until the red flag before they too had to pit for fuel in the closing stages, ultimately ending up fifth at the finish.

Track Description
Regarded as one of the most iconic venues in the world, the Circuit de la Sarthe is a 13.626km, 38-turn track which uses a combination of permanent circuit and public roads, giving it a unique place on the racing calendar. Overtaking opportunities are plentiful but traffic management will undoubtedly play a crucial role in both qualifying and the race, particularly when night falls.

Key to a fast lap are the flowing corners of Virage de la Chapelle and the Esses de la Fôret at the start of the lap which lead onto the Tertre Rouge and the start of the long Ligne droite des Hunaudières on which straight-line speed and top-end power are essential. Punctuating the Hunaudières straight are the two chicanes (Daytona and Michelin) before the big braking zone of Mulsanne Corner. All three offer overtaking chances, while the second half of the lap provides challenges at Indianapolis, Arnage and the Porsche Curves.

Weather can also play an important role on the race, and it is not uncommon for rain to fall on one part of the track while the other remains dry. Tyre strategy and choice, therefore, remains a race-defining element.

The Le Mans week will be one of the busiest for Lamborghini Squadra Corse, as attention not only focuses on the 24 Hours, but also round three of the one-make Lamborghini Super Trofeo Europe championship which is expected to field a grid of 51 cars. Also, on the support bill of the FIA WEC this weekend is the Road to Le Mans, a pair of 55-minute races which are part of the Michelin Le Mans Cup series. Iron Dames is the sole Lamborghini representative, with Swiss racer Karen Gaillard and Frenchwoman Célia Martin at the wheel of the #83 Huracán GT3 EVO2.

The weekend at a glance

Wednesday 12th June
Free Practice 1 (14:00-17:00)
Qualifying – Hypercar and LMGT3 (19:00-20:00)
Free Practice 2 (22:00-00:00)

Thursday 13th June
Free Practice 3 (15:00-18:00)
Hyperpole (20:00-20:30)
Free Practice 4 (22:00-23:00)

Friday 14th June
Traditional Drivers Parade in Le Mans city (16:00-19:00)

Saturday 15th June
Warm-up (12:00-12:15)
Official Start Procedure for the 24 Hours of Le Mans (15:30-15:50)
Race start (16:00)

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