Lamborghini could expand its racing program by competing in the World Endurance Championship (WEC). The Italian company has never been able to justify funding the development of an LMP1-spec prototype from the ground up, but the hypercar category the WEC will launch in 2020 makes competing in high-profile races like the 24 Hours of Le Mans much more affordable.
The new class created to pick up where LMP1 will leave off has piqued the interest of Lamborghini boss Stefano Domenicali. He told British magazine Autocar that his team is taking a careful look at the regulations, and company officials will decide whether to go racing by the end of 2019.
The hypercar category will replace LMP1 during the 2020/2021 season, and its guidelines call for racers that look like production models. They'll need to weigh under 2,160 pounds, and they'll be allowed to use active aerodynamic technology, which Lamborghini already uses on production models like the Aventador SVJ, the Huracán Performante, and the Huracán Evo.
Domenicali hinted a car similar to the one-off, Aventador-based SC18 (pictured) introduced in late 2018 could take Lamborghini racing. It shows the company has "a base for what could be an interesting approach," he told Autocar. Created at the request of a customer, the SC18 delivers 770 horsepower and 531 pound-feet of torque thanks to the Aventador's naturally-aspirated, 6.5-liter V12.
If Lamborghini chooses to race, it will need to fend off competition from Aston Martin and Toyota, among others. Aston Martin confirmed it will compete in the hypercar category with an evolution of the 1,160-horsepower Valkyrie, while Toyota is busily transforming the Super Sport concept into a hypercar-spec racer. Unverified reports suggest McLaren and Ferrari could also join the fray sooner or later.
While Lamborghini's history isn't rooted in racing, and it has never operated a full, factory-backed WEC program, its cars have competed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and other endurance events on several occasions. Die-hard fans will remember the Murciélago R-GT that raced at Le Mans between 2006 and 2009. It was more show than go, and it finished near (or at) the bottom of the pack.