Bortolotti prepping for Lamborghini LMDh program with Prema in LMP2

·4 min read

Lamborghini factory driver Mirko Bortolotti says his campaign with Prema Racing in the FIA World Endurance Championship this season is a vital part of the build-up to the debut of the Lamborghini LMDh prototype in 2024.

The Italian, who is driving the No. 63 Prema Racing ORECA with Doriane Pin and fellow future Lamborghini LMDh driver Daniil Kvyat, is using the WEC program as a chance to get track time in a prototype alongside his development work behind the scenes on the forthcoming Ligier-based car.

While the unnamed Lamborghini LMDh isn’t ready to race yet, Bortolotti says he has already been spending significant chunks of time undergoing simulator work as the team finalizes the concept for the car, which RACER understands will begin testing this summer.

“We are working on the car intensively,” he said. “There will be news soon. I am deeply involved in the car’s development — we are using every free day of the week on it, mainly on the simulator at the moment.

“I am not the only driver involved in development, because my schedule is quite busy I am trying to find a compromise between racing and being involved in the development of the car. I have had to step out of some important races this year to free up time for LMDh development.”

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Alongside that, competing alongside Kvyat — who was confirmed as an LMDh driver for Lamborghini just this month — is very important for him as he prepares to immerse himself in the factory team project. Kvyat is the fourth driver confirmed for the program, following the news from last year that Bortolotti, Andrea Caldarelli and Romain Grosjean would be part of the team.

Bortolotti told RACER he knew going into the season that Kvyat would be confirmed as a driver for 2024 long before it was made public ahead of the 6 Hours of Portimao and has made a point of getting acquainted with the former F1 racer.

“We want to get to know each other, to start working on procedures, to have a season together. Whatever we do, it doesn’t matter if it’s for Prema or me, what matters is that it’s a winning mentality.

“We haven’t known each other for long. But I knew him obviously from his Formula 1 career — he doesn’t need an introduction, we know how good he is. We are really happy to have him as part of the team, it’s a privilege. We are a strong team together and we are looking at the future.”

However, Bortolotti doesn’t yet know whether he will share a car with Kvyat in 2024, as Lamborghini hasn’t yet decided on its driver lineups.

The plan is rapidly coming together, though. The Iron Lynx-run effort will compete in the full WEC and in IMSA’s endurance races, both with a single car, with a second car planned for the major races like the Le Mans 24 Hours and Rolex 24 At Daytona.

Customer cars will also be made become available, though the timeline for this hasn’t yet been made clear by the Italian marque. It also isn’t yet entirely clear whether or not the car will be ready to compete at the 2024 Rolex 24 in January. The amount of progress made in the coming weeks will be the deciding factor.

Prema Racing’s LMP2 effort with drivers (left to right) Doriane Pin, Mirko Bortolotti and Daniil Kvyat is laying the groundwork for the forthcoming Lamborghini Hypercar program. Motorsport  Images

Before that, Bortolotti is focused on getting the most out of his 2023 LMP2 program in the WEC. After a podium at Sebring and a fourth-place finish in Portimao, he and his teammates are firmly in championship contention.

“It’s been really good,” he said when asked to assess the season so far. “We have Doriane (Pin), who has a lot to learn, but she is very mature and quick. She is in the perfect environment with us. I look forward to her development this year. We have had a good start to the season so it would be a lie to say we don’t want to do well in the championship. It’s important to build. We will see where we are in the standings at the end of the year.

“We need to be honest that our main target this season is to work together. The best team-building, though, is being successful. It’s a great opportunity.

“I have been with Lamborghini since I was in Super Trofeo in 2014, which was almost a road-legal car. This journey through thick and thin and being successful internationally at big races and championships brought us here now, and we are really proud to make this big step into Hypercar.”

Story originally appeared on Racer