Automotive

Published on June 8th, 2021 | by Joshua Chin

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Lamborghini Essenza SCV12 Has A Full Carbon Roll Cage

More impressively perhaps is that this carbon fibre roll cage has been homologated by the FIA. 

When building a race car, one of the primary priorities would be stripping as much weight out of it as possible. A light car is always a fast car, after all. 

Having said that however, the safety equipment that is currently mandatory in all modern race cars do add more than its fair share of heft. The metal roll cage that protects the driver in the unfortunate event of a crash especially is one of the heaviest components to be found within a race car. 

So is there was a way then to significantly reduce the weight of this crucial safety structure, while simultaneously not jeopardising its effectiveness in protecting the driven during the unfortunate event of a crash? Well the answer to that question would originally have been a firm no, but that soon became a yes after Lamborghini launched its Essenza SCV12. 

A track-only V12-powered raging bull with a limited run of only 40 to ever be produced, there is certainly a lot to ogle over regarding this very special Lamborghini. Chief among which being its carbon fibre monocoque chassis, that is the world’s first to be homologated based on FIA Hypercar safety standards. 

Now to those who don’t understand the aforementioned regulatory lingo, what this essentially means is that the Essenza SCV12 can hit the track without the need of a traditional steel roll cage. That is because the FIA has deemed its reinforced fully carbon monocoque is sufficiently strong to serve as the world’s first carbon fibre roll cage in an accident. 

Produced at the autoclaves of Automobili Lamborghini’s CFK Department in Sant’Agata Bolognese, the Essenza SCV12’s carbon fibre monocoque currently represents the pinnacle of the Italian supercar manufacturer’s 30 year experimentation with this lightweight material. This composite chassis has not only shaved a significant amount of weight off this raging bull, but it has also rather impressively increased the amount of space available within the cockpit in comparison a traditional racing car with a full steel cage. 

Then again though, the chassis isn’t the only ingenious use of carbon fibre in this track-only hypercar, as Lamborghini has even produced specially designed carbon fibre seat cradles that attach the OMP FIA 8862 homologated seat to the car. Composite side impact guards on the scissor doors which replace traditional steel items too are among the carbon fibre highlights within the Essenza SCV12. 

In terms of other technical highlights meanwhile, the Essenza SCV12 features an X-trac sequential six-speed gearbox that acts as a structural element within its chassis and has a push-rod independent rear suspension setup installed directly onto it. It would also be remissed to mention that this Lamborghini features a naturally-aspirated V12 that sends 830 hp to solely the rear wheels. 

Speaking of wheels, those found on the Essenza SCV12 are made of magnesium and are wrapped around bespoke Pirelli slick tyres. Other notable name drops includes a Capristo exhaust system that works at the other end of the standard ram air intake, as well Brembo brakes all-round to bring this 1,378 kg track-spec Lambo to a stop. 

First unveiled in July last year, the first of 40 of these Lamborghinis have already been delivered to its affluent new owners in April. A dedicated program of track events for the Essenza SCV12 however is only to begin at the end of this month. 

PRESS RELEASE: The Lamborghini Essenza SCV12 is the first car on the market with a carbon fiber roll cage homologated according to the FIA Hypercar safety standards. This extraordinary achievement is the result of Automobili Lamborghini’s thirty years of experience in the study and application of composite materials in the automotive field.

Giorgio Sanna, Lamborghini’s Head of Motorsport, commented: “The Essenza SCV12 was born as a ‘laboratory of ideas’. This allowed us to use technical solutions usually found in racing prototypes, such as the suspension installed directly on the load-bearing gearbox, which is an innovative solution for a GT car. In addition, it features the new carbon fiber monocoque chassis without steel roll cage, resulting from technical collaboration with the FIA, thanks to which we’ve started a process that will lead to an exponential improvement in safety for GT racing drivers in the future.”

The carbon fiber chassis of Essenza SCV12 are produced in the autoclaves of Automobili Lamborghini’s CFK Department in Sant’Agata Bolognese, a division of excellence that also produces the chassis of the current Aventador line.

The testing required by the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile for chassis homologation is extremely rigorous, involving both static and dynamic tests. The Lamborghini Squadra Corse technicians thus extensively modified the structure of the production chassis from which the Essenza SCV12 chassis is derived.

The carbon fiber monocoque was reinforced in several points, having to withstand forces of over 12 tons during the FIA homologation tests without presenting significant deformations. There are more than 20 static tests which, in addition to the chassis, involve the pedals, belts and fuel tank. The dynamic crash tests, on the other hand, involve impacts at speeds of up to 14 meters/second. In this type of test, the chassis must not be subjected to any intrusion of external elements that could come into contact with the driver, and the fuel tank must not leak.

The decision of the Lamborghini Squadra Corse technicians to maintain the carbon fiber structure, i.e. not mounting a steel roll cage, allowed not only a benefit in terms of overall weight, thanks to the use of innovative laminated foams inside the chassis (ROHACELL® 71 XT), but also provided a significant increase in cockpit space for optimal driving comfort.

In the Essenza SCV12, the driver sits on an OMP FIA 8862 homologated seat, mounted on carbon fiber cradles designed by Squadra Corse and produced in Lamborghini’s CFK laboratories. The seat has been lowered compared to the road models and the driver and passenger are protected on the door side by two side impact guards, also made of composite material, which replace the classic steel tubes found in racing cars.

Marco Mapelli, Lamborghini Factory Driver, commented: “Essenza SCV12 is not only a fast car that can deliver exhilarating experiences, but it’s also equipped with an incredibly comfortable and spacious cabin. This is a unique feature appreciated by all gentlemen drivers, for whom it is intended.”

Another new solution is the cradle situated in the rear part of the monocoque, which houses the engine perfectly positioned on the longitudinal axis, while the gearbox has a load-bearing and structural function. This characteristic also made it possible to achieve torsional stiffness values 20% higher than those of the Huracán GT3 EVO.

“Along with the aerodynamic load of over 1200 kg at top speed,” explained Marco Mapelli, “the torsional stiffness of the car contributes to ensuring extraordinary driving precision. This makes it possible for the driver to tackle curves at speed without any appreciable correction of the steering angle. Essenza SCV12 is a very fast car thanks to the extraordinary thrust of the 830 hp engine, and it’s relatively easy to drive.”

The first units of Lamborghini Essenza SCV12 were delivered to customers in April 2021, and the dedicated program of track events will start at the end of June.

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About the Author

Automotive journalist. Professional work on dsf.my and automacha.com. Personal writing found at driveeveryday.me. Instagram: @driveeveryday



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