Unlike Enzo Ferrari, Ferruccio Lamborghini couldn’t have been less interested in motorsports. He reasoned his cars would be better suited to the street if they were designed for the street in the first place, and saw motorsports as a financial sinkhole. Years after his departure from the company, a few special models were developed for competition, including this bright orange 2000 Lamborghini Diablo GTR offered by RM Sotheby’s at its Monterey sale.
It took quite a while for Lamborghini to release anything remotely geared for the circuit. The first track-only Lambo arrived as the Diablo SV-R, a lightened, stripped-down SV that was used exclusively for the one-make Lamborghini Supertrophy series that was essentially genesis for the modern Super Trofeo series.
In 1999, the insane, overseas-only Diablo GT was launched, featuring the use of lightweight materials and upgrades to both the chassis and the engine. While only 80 GTs were made, this inspired Lambo to bring the Diablo back to the race grid for a new series, now utilizing the mind-bending Diablo GTR.
The GTR moved the GT’s hardcore formula even further. The interior is stripped out, and receives a full bolt-in rollcage treatment to keep things safe when gentlemen drivers with more money than skill inevitably stuffed their new toy into the wall. The stereo, soundproofing, and air conditioning is ripped out, replaced with nothing but fixed Plexiglas windows, a fire suppression system, and single seat with a six-point harness.
Underneath the bulgy body thrums the same 6.0-liter V-12 engine, but it was tweaked with updated ignition and fuel systems, throttle bodies, variable valve timing, titanium connecting rods, and lightweight crankshaft. The sum of these parts was a tremendous 590 hp and 472 lb-ft of torque, a moderate boost in power but likely a larger jump in robustness and responsiveness for the rigors of track work. To handle all this extra capability, the GTR features a stiff race-spec suspension, competition brakes, and center-lock Speedline wheels.
Just 30 of these were made, and it looks like RM Sotheby’s bright orange GTR is number 19. The car was used through the 2002 season, when it looks like it was subsequently mothballed only to undergo a ground-up restoration beginning in 2012.
It’s not nearly as fast as a brand new Lamborghini, but it’s sure to carry the same price tag – high estimates peg the final sale price right around the $780,000 mark.