Miami, FL, United States
0 km (0 mi)
800 ps (597 kw)
1992 Venturi-Larrousse LC92 Lamborghini
Chassis Number: LC92-01
Engine: 3.5 liter Lamborghini 3512 V12 (normally aspirated)
Transmission: 6-speed sequential
Designer: Michel Tetu
Tech Director: Robin Herd
Aerodynamicist: Tino Belli
Bertrand Gachot (F)
Ukyo Katayama (J)
In the heart of what is now known as Formula One’s 3.5 liter normally aspirated era (1989 -1994), the Championship was flush with major manufacturer participation in the form of V8, V10 and V12 engines from nine engine makes including Renault, Honda, Ferrari, Ford Cosworth, Illmor, Judd, Mugen, Yamaha and Lamborghini for a total of sixteen teams; perhaps the most diverse and competitive field in F-1 history.
Many point to this era of the screaming, ultra-high revving (up to 20,000 RPMs before being reigned in by regulations) normally aspirated engines of such variety to be one of, if not the, most significant and coolest in Formula One history. For the 1992 season, one team stood virtually alone atop the results and in the Championship, Williams-Renault.
For the 1992 season, the Larrousse Lamborghini team had parted ways with Lola as their chassis supplier over a payment controversy and the team was rebranded as Venturi-Larrousse. Venturi had been best known as a sports car chassis builder based in Monaco but, none the less, they bought a 65% share of the Formula One team. Bertrand Gachot and Ukyo Katayama were named team drivers and, in turn, Venturi then hired Robin Herd away from the Fondmetal team to build up a chassis around the Lamborghini 3512 V12 engine which the team had been using since 1989.
Unfortunately, Lamborghini’s 3512 engine malfortunes continued, handicapped by weight, Lamborghini’s lack of development of the engine and the various reliability issues which plagued the program from its inception. Despite this, the motor was pressed into service by other teams such as Lotus, Ligier and Minardi with pretty much the same effect. As former Lotus driver Derek Warwick recalled of the Lamborghini engine (as), “All noise and no go” in a 2014 interview, the results never quite lived up to the potential.
The lone highlight for the Venturi-Larrousse during the 1992 Formula One season came when Gachot scored the team’s single point of the season by finishing sixth at Monaco with Chassis #LC92-01. At best, the team was a mid-pack runner and so the heavy lump would be equalized on a slower circuit like Monaco or anywhere a disadvantaged team may have been lucky enough to have the greatest equalizer, rain, thrown into the equation.
At the end of the 1992 season, Venturi-Larrousse gifted chassis #LC92-01 to Gachot in leu of payment. Gachot kept the car for years in Belgium and showed the car at events with added his HYPE energy drink brand livery. Gachot subsequently sold the car to fellow racer Jean-Pierre Lecou.
In 2019, Curated obtained the Venturi-Larrousse Lamborghini #LC92-01 and had it on display in the downtown Miami showroom for a few months in non-running condition. It was sold to a long-time client where it was agreed the car would be sent to the Lamborghini factory in Sant'Agata Bolognese for Polo Storico restoration and put in running order.
In the meantime, Curated searched for other Lamborghini powered Formula One cars of the era. Ligier and Minardi chassis were virtually impossible to find as owners are keeping their cars locked away from public view in barns in France and Italy.
However, a Lotus with a Lamborghini 3512 engine was found but according to the owner, the chassis and engine were literally in pieces. Offers were made but not accepted and just as suddenly the owner offered his apologies that the car had been sold so perhaps it will be seen on the vintage/historic Formula One circuit again one of these days.
“We sold the Venturi-Larrousse last year and unfortunately the owner, a dear friend of ours, passed away while it was in restoration” Curated co-founder, John Temerian, Jr. states. “We could not resist the opportunity to purchase the car back. We were sad to see it go, but we are now excited to potentially have the car running again in collaboration with Lamborghini Polo Storico and back in the Curated showroom!”.
With vintage/historic Formula One events such as Historic Grand Prix, FIA Masters and Masters Historic Formula One flourishing around the world, collector interest in the 3.5 liter normally aspirated era of Formula One cars is gaining momentum, the cars are in demand thus, values are on the rise.
The top cars of the era such as the Williams-Renault, Ferrari and McLaren Honda were very complex with paddle shifters, active suspensions, computer-controlled engines and ignitions requiring a team of engineers just to start them. Whereas, the far less sophisticated Venturi-Larrousse LC92 Lamborghini was still very much mechanical with manual sequential transmission and non-active suspension configuration.
This 1992 Venturi-Larrousse LC92 Lamborghini (#LC92-01) comes in non-running order complete with recent Polo Storico certification or in running order with spare engine and Lamborghini support at events such as Goodwood.
“At Curated, we do not acquire cars simply for inventory but rather based on what the car is. We love interesting provenance, very low production, very low mileage, very special and often weird cars.”
John Temerian, Jr.
Images courtesy of LAT and Getty