Lamborghini Redefines the Future of the Super Sports Car 1/3 - Official Press Release

LAMBORGHINI SpA Europe: Official Press Release

Lamborghini Redefines the Future of the Super Sports Car

     1. Lightweight Engineering with Carbon-Fiber Technology
  1.1. The Manifesto for Super Sports Cars of the Future

1. Lightweight Engineering with Carbon-Fiber Technology

Lamborghini is redefining the future of the super sports car with expertise unparalleled worldwide

• Systematic lightweight design concept for extreme dynamics and outstanding efficiency
• Full monocoque for the new V12 model with exceptional characteristics
• Worldwide leading know-how in development, production and application of carbon-fiber materials
• New production system uses innovative technologies to the highest quality standards
• Investments in carbon fiber demonstrate the innovative strengths and forward-looking power of the brand

Lamborghini is heading into the future with a systematic lightweight design concept – the intensive application of carbon-fiber materials forms the key foundation for the extreme dynamics and less emissions that will define its future super sports cars. The new V12 model that will debut at the 2011 Geneva motorshow is based on a full monocoque construction made from innovative carbon-fiber technology and superior to anything else on the market – developed and produced entirely by Automobili Lamborghini.

This development sees Lamborghini once again demonstrate its worldwide leading expertise in carbon-fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP) technology. The super sports car brand from Sant’Agata Bolognese is the only automaker to have fully mastered the extensive CFRP process across a range of technologies in-house – through design, simulation, engineering, prototyping, testing, validation and production, using state-of-the-art industrial processes to the very highest quality standards. Lamborghini is putting its innovative, in-house developed and patented technologies into series production for the first time with the successor to the Murciélago.

“Systematic lightweight engineering and an optimum power-to-weight ratio are absolutely crucial to the super sports cars of the future, for both the highest levels of driving pleasure and lower emissions,” says Stephan Winkelmann, President and CEO of Automobili Lamborghini. “Lamborghini has put a lot of hard work into growing its expertise in the application of CFRP, attaining the leadership position we hold today. With its innovative carbon-fiber monocoque, the successor to the Murciélago displays the full competence of our brand and starts a new chapter in the history of Lamborghini.”

Technology transfer between Audi and Lamborghini
Automobili Lamborghini is a 100 percent subsidiary of AUDI AG and makes extensive use of the Audi brand’s renowned, world-leading expertise in lightweight engineering. Audi is particularly advanced when it comes to the high-volume application of aluminum, which Lamborghini uses in areas such as the space frame construction of the Gallardo model range.

In the field of fiber-reinforced composite materials, the competences of Audi and Lamborghini are perfectly balanced – Lamborghini’s contribution to the partnership includes decades of experience with carbon fiber and know-how in the development and production of low-volume models, while Audi is working with a number of lightweight materials on an intelligent hybrid construction concept. The fundamental thinking is the same for both brands – every future model generation must be considerably lighter than its predecessor.

Full monocoque for the new V12 supersportscar
Lamborghini’s flagship is made of a full monocoque. In contrast to some competitors, the entire occupant cell – the tub and roof – is one single physical component. This ensures extreme rigidity and thus outstanding precision on the road, as well as an extremely high level of passive safety for the driver of the new super sports car and his passenger. The entire monocoque weighs in at only 147.5 kilograms (324.5 lbs).

The pushrod suspensions, the twelve-cylinder engine and the innovative, super-fast shifting ISR transmission are all connected to the monocoque via aluminum sub-frames front and rear. This lightweight design features an impressive combination of extreme rigidity and very low weight.

The entire chassis of the future V12 model boasts an enormous static torsional stiffness of 35,000 Newton meters per degree. Yet the whole body-in-white weighs only 229.5 kilograms (504.9 lbs) – a best-in-class for a super sports car with a stunning power output of 515 kW / 700 hp.

Completely new facility for carbon-fiber vehicles
A completely new 5400 sq. meter production facility has been built in Sant’Agata for the innovative monocoque and the complete body-in-white of the Murciélago successor. A state-of-the-art process combines automated production with meticulous craftsmanship to create carbon-fiber structures of the very highest quality and precision. Major elements of the monocoque are produced using Lamborghini’s patented “RTM-Lambo” technology. This process does not necessitate the laborious use of hand lamination and autoclave, and at the same time uses production molds made from carbon fiber, making RTM-Lambo a significant step forward in production technology.

One figure in particular illustrates the importance of carbon-fiber technology to Lamborghini – 2009 saw around 100 tonnes of carbon-fiber materials used in production, a figure that will triple to more than 300 tonnes by 2013.

The optimum lightweight design strategy for every model
With the successor to the Murciélago, Automobili Lamborghini is implementing across its entire model lineup an optimum lightweight design strategy based on the respective vehicle and volume. The most important base material alongside carbon fiber is aluminum, where Lamborghini benefits from the leading lightweight engineering expertise possessed by the Audi brand. The Gallardo range, for example, is built using Aluminum Space Frame technology, complemented by the targeted application of carbon-fiber components. With a dry weight of only 1,340 kilograms (2,948 lbs), the Gallardo LP 570-4 Superleggera is the most lightweight super sports car in its class.

High level of investment in future technology
Automobili Lamborghini embarked upon a program of extensive investment in its preparations for the next technological leap to a complete carbon-fiber monocoque. The super sports car brand is now driving forward technology development in two in-house research centers, the Advanced Composite Research Center (ACRC) in Sant’Agata Bolognese and the Advanced Composite Structures Laboratory (ACSL) in Seattle, USA.

Partners in the intensive research and development cooperation include aerospace giant Boeing, the University of Washington and golf equipment manufacturer Callaway. A host of patents for materials, as well as design, bonding and production technologies, document the innovative spirit of the Italian brand. The clear commitment to carbon-fiber technology is also a major factor in Lamborghini’s preparedness for the future.

1.1. The Manifesto for Super Sports Cars of the Future

Stephan Winkelmann,
President and CEO of Automobili Lamborghini SpA:

“Lamborghini stands for extreme and uncompromising super sports cars in the best Italian tradition. For Lamborghini, however, innovation has always been part of that tradition. The time has come for us to redefine the future of our super sports cars.

Obviously, the focus is on our customers’ two most important purchasing criteria – design and performance. Design has always been the number one reason for wanting to own a Lamborghini – and that’s not going to change. We will ensure that a Lamborghini will always remain unique and clearly recognizable.

Performance, on the other hand, is something that will be extensively redefined. Just a few years ago, the most important aspects were top speed, acceleration and handling – in that order of priority. However, things have changed since then.

Together with design, handling and acceleration have become increasingly important. Top speed is no longer as decisive, because all super sports cars can manage more than 300 km/h (188 mph) – a speed that can barely be attained on the race track, and that is out of the question on the public roads of most countries on earth. Nowadays, the issues of handling and acceleration are far more crucial to consistent driving fun.

The power-to-weight ratio is the key factor in the improvement of both and in the experience of more direct driving fun. This means that increased power is no longer the focal point – because we no longer need to achieve higher top speeds, and because CO2 emissions are relevant for super sports cars, too.

This means that weight must be reduced.

It is important to understand how best to approach this reduction. Since the 1980s, the average weight of our vehicles has increased by around 500 kilograms (1,100 lb), due to the requirements set by safety, comfort and emissions reduction. This is a trend that we must reverse with urgency. However, because cannot sacrifice either safety or comfort, we will start using new materials.

The magic words are carbon fiber. We already began working with this in Sant’Agata Bolognese more than 30 years ago. We now have two research laboratories in Sant’Agata Bolognese and Seattle, and we have mastered a host of technologies that put us in a clearly dominant position when it comes to low-volume series production. With our new plant for building carbon-fiber monocoques and complete carbon-fiber bodyshells, we are delivering the highest quality levels and absolute precision.

Every new Lamborghini will make use of this carbon-fiber technology for optimum weight reduction. 2011 will see the new Lamborghini V12 supersportscar launch a whole new chapter in the history of the brand.”