2006 Lamborghini Murciélago RG-1LM #53 Pilots: M. Apicella, K.i Yamanishi, Y. Hinoi Team: JLOC / Isao Noritake Race: DNC (GT1) at Le Mans in 2006 Ebbro - 43784 (diecast)
Replacing the Diablo, the Raging Bull brand from Sant’Agata Bolognese unveiled the Murciélago in 2001. With a 6.5 l V12 engine, the all-wheel drive Murciélago was a huge hit for Lamborghini. Sometimes labeled as “too much”, nonetheless the model was a commercial success. By 2006, almost 1800 units were on the streets, not counting the Roadster version (introduced in 2004). Despite this, since Ferruccio Lamborghini never cared for racing, the brand never had any official interest in motorsports. Well, we almost had a Diablo at La Sarthe once… However, things changed with the Murciélago. In 2004, some customers asked for a racing version of the beast. With that, in a partnership with Reiter Engineering and Audi Sport, Lamborghini released the Murciélago R-GT. The R-GT used the same engine of the street version; however it had rear-wheel drive to be race-legal.
A total of nine R-GT were produced, and it raced in the FIA GT, LMS and ALMS with some success. At the same time, the Japanese Lamborghini Owners Club (JLOC) wanted a Murciélago specifically for the 2004 Japanese Super GT series. Reiter Engineering then developed the RG-1, an R-GT specially tailored for JLOC. With the good results of the RG-1, JLOC expanded their horizons and looked at Le Mans. In 2006, Reiter produced the Murciélago RG-1LM, an RG-1 prepared specifically for the 24 Heures du Mans. JLOC received chassis #ZA9BC10E04LA01063, and sporting number #53 took it to La Sarthe. Though RG-1LM #53 crossed the finish line (no small feat!), it did not complete the minimum laps and therefore DNC. JLOC returned with the same chassis in 2007 and 2009, but in neither instance finished the race.
I really like Lamborghini, definitively more than I like Ferrari. Nevertheless, I have a pet peeve with the brand – it doesn’t race 😒. And that little detail is somewhat of an anathema in my eyes. Independent of that, their road cars are literally bonkers, so even without an historic racing pedigree, I appreciate the brand. And now finally I grabbed a Le Mans car! This is not a rare model, but to be honest I was so caught up in the Lamborghinis-don’t-race* thing that it evaded my radar until now. In scale it’s pretty decent, but not modern-Ixo-good and definitively not Spark-good. Still, a “nice enough” model from Ebbro that works nicely for the Lamborghini collectors as well as for the Le Mans crowd.
*I’m aware of the Blancpain Super Trofeo series. However it started in 2009, so just 12 years of racing does NOT give Lamborghini a proper racing pedigree. Though we can talk again in another 10 years or so. Or after Sant’Agata sends its cars to race in something other than a one-make championship that is nothing more than a sales campaign. Nonetheless, I do have hopes for GT3 racing (around since 2015).