ENGINES: LAMBORGHINI ENGINEERING SPA

Name: Lamborghini Engineering SpA

In 1987 Lamborghini was bought by the Chrysler Corporation as part of its international expansion plans. Chrysler President Lee Iacocca decided that the Italian firm should enter Formula 1. Former Ferrari team manager Daniele Audetto was hired to run a new company called Lamborghini Engineering in Bologna and Mauro Forghieri was appointed technical director to oversee the design and construction of a V12 Formula 1 engine for the new 3.5-liter Formula 1 regulations in 1989.

Early in 1988 Lamborghini Engineering announced that it would supply the engines to the Larrousse-Calmels team. The 1989 season was not an easy one but there was a gradual improvement and Philippe Alliot scored a point in Spain in October, soon after Team Lotus did a deal to use the engines in 1990.

At the same time Lamborghini agreed a deal to supply an engine and chassis to Mexican businessman Fernando Gonzalez Luna in 1991. A few months later, as the car was nearing completion, Luna disappeared with the money. The project was sold to industrialist Carlo Patrucco and became known as the Modena Team.

The 1990 season with Larrousse and Lotus was promising with Larrousse's Eric Bernard and Aguri Suzuki picking up points throughout the year, Suzuki gave Lamborghini its first podium finish in Japan and the team finished sixth in the World Championship. Lotus scored only three points.

The Ligier team took over Larrousse's supply in 1991 and Modena Team replaced Lotus but neither team scored points although Eric van de Poele was running fourth at Imola when his car broke. For a short period Forghieri was technical director of Modena Team but then returned to Lamborghini Engineering to work on the development of a 60-valve version of the engine.

With Ligier switching to Renault engines in 1992 and Modena Team closing down, Lamborghini supplied Larrousse and Minardi in 1992. That year a new management took over Chrysler and, with Lamborghini reducing its production, it could not longer afford to fund the F1 program. Chrysler chairman Bob Eaton decided that the engines would be rebadged Chrysler and that the firm would mount a bigger F1 attack in 1994. In the course of 1993 - with only Larrousse still running the engines - Eaton had talks with McLaren's Ron Dennis and McLaren built a test car for Chrysler. In the autumn Ayrton Senna and Mika Hakkinen both tested a white McLaren-Lamborghini test car but at the last minute, however, Dennis decided to enter into McLaren's ill-fated alliance with Peugeot which left Chrysler with no choice but to pull out of F1 as Larrousse had run out of money and could no longer afford the engines.

In November 1993 Chrysler sold Lamborghini to an Indonesian Group called Megatech. The Formula 1 program was canceled.

Print