Sebring Notebook: Lamborghini GTP Logs First Race-Weekend Laps

By John Oreovicz

IMSA Wire Service

It’s hard to miss the Lamborghini SC63 as it flashes by on track at Sebring International Raceway.

The No. 63 Lamborghini fielded by Iron Lynx Racing is the latest prototype built to LMDh homologation to enter the Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) class of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Its vivid green color makes a visual impact, and like the other four marques competing in GTP, the Lamborghini barks a unique sound from its 3.8-liter, twin-turbo V-8. It’s most similar to the exhaust note of the BMW M Hybrid V8, but slightly louder and more piercing.

Lamborghini finalized development of the model in early 2024 and the SC63 made its world racing premiere March 2 in the Qatar 1812, the opening round of the FIA World Endurance Championship. Now comes its IMSA debut at Sebring, an old-school track that shares little with the Lusail International Circuit in Qatar other than a distinct lack of elevation change.

Iron Lynx and Lamborghini achieved their primary goal in Qatar by reaching the finish of the 1,812-kilometer race. On Thursday at Sebring, the team worked through some new-car blues with its new IMSA chassis, as it completed 18 laps in the opening practice session for the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Cadillac, half the number of laps turned by the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Acura ARX-06.

The Lambo made a bigger impact on the timing charts in Practice 2, running a class-competitive 30 laps. Matteo Cairoli ran a 1-minute, 49.493-second lap early in the second session that was good for third place at the time before Romain Grosjean rounded out the 90 minutes of track time in the heat of the afternoon. Lamborghini ended up ninth of the 11 GTP entries.

“We are coming from a positive FIA WEC debut in Qatar, and we are looking to continue the hard work in our first IMSA effort,” said Emmanuel Esnault, racing director for Iron Lynx. “Sebring is a particularly tricky place for a multitude of reasons, and it is a tremendous test bed for every technical and human aspect. Our goal is to put down some more miles, finish the race and continue to learn as much as possible.”

Porsche, Penske Approaching Landmark Numbers

Porsche Penske Motorsport could achieve any of several major milestones at Sebring this weekend in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Cadillac.

Porsche is seeking its 600th class win since 1952 at Sebring, as well as what would be a record-extending 19th overall victory in America’s oldest endurance race. In addition, Team Penske is on the brink of its 100th pole position and 100th race win in sports car competition.

Of course, Team Penske isn’t the only Porsche contender for class win No. 600 at Sebring. There are four Porsches entered in the GTP class (two from the Penske stable), one in GT Daytona Pro (GTD PRO) and three in GT Daytona (GTD).

Mobil 1 Goes Gold to Commemorate 50th Anniversary

ExxonMobil Corporation is celebrating its 30th year of title sponsorship at the Twelve Hours of Sebring. The race has been known as the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring since 2002, joined this year by presenting sponsor Cadillac.

2024 also marks the Mobil 1 brand’s 50th anniversary as the original mass-market fully synthetic motor oil. To commemorate that occasion, four Mobil 1-affiliated cars competing this week are sporting one-off gold liveries. The golden quartet is comprised of the No. 01 Cadillac Racing Cadillac V-Series.R in the GTP class, and the Nos. 3 and 4 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 GT3.Rs prepared by Corvette Racing by Pratt Miller Motorsports and the No. 14 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3 in GTD PRO. The one-off gold Lexus livery also commemorates the marque’s 2023 GTD PRO championship.

Gottsacker, Lazare Claim Motul Pole Awards in Michelin Pilot Challenge Qualifying

Qualifying Results

Harry Gottsacker extended his record for career IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge pole positions to nine by nabbing the Motul Pole Award on Thursday in the Touring Car (TCR) class for the Alan Jay Automotive Network 120. Gottsacker and teammate Robert Wickens also started from the top spot in the season opener at Daytona International Speedway in the No. 33 Bryan Herta Autosport Hyundai Elantra N TCR, but they dropped out just short of the three-quarter mark of the four-hour race.

“Our car likes the warmer temps,” grinned Gottsacker after his Sebring pole effort. “That’s a nice little comeback from the disappointment at Daytona. Just look forward to going to war tomorrow.”

Jesse Lazare earned the pole in the Grand Sport (GS) class in the No. 69 Motorsports in Action McLaren Artura GT4 he shares with Michael de Quesada. Lazare was the only driver to lap the 3.74-mile Sebring course in less than 2:10 in qualifying.

“We worked well together in that session, and you always want to start first – that’s the safest spot to start the race,” said Lazare. “It’s my 12th year here and I love this track.”

The two-hour Michelin Pilot Challenge race starts at 3:15 p.m. ET Friday, with a live stream on Peacock.