Twenty-six years from its last Grand Prix, the Minardi M191B chassis #003, equipped with a Lamborghini LE3512 V12 engine and one of the protagonists of Formula One in 1992, returned to the racetrack.
The exciting shakedown organized by Lamborghini Squadra Corse is the result of a meticulous restoration carried out by Lamborghini Polo Storico with the support of former Lamborghini engineering personnel who were active on the Lamborghini F1 project in the early ’90s.
The Minardi M191B #003 is the first single-seater to be restored by Polo Storico. After being on display at the Lamborghini Museum in Sant’Agata Bolognese, the car underwent seven months of work to return to its original efficiency, with most of the original components maintained.
The tires, fuel tank, engine control unit, seat belts, and fire extinguishing system were replaced, while the other components were carefully restored, starting from the engine designed by Mauro Forghieri. The 12-cylinder LE3512 is still able to deliver almost 700 HP, enabling enthusiasts to relive the emotions of the golden years of Formula One.
Apart from the growling noise, which still today brings back those wonderful times, it was a very flexible engine with enormous power starting from the low rpms
The guests of honor on the occasion of its grand return are Mirko Bortolotti, Lamborghini factory driver, and Giancarlo Minardi. The founder of the Faenza-based team recalled the fruitful collaboration with Lamborghini that lasted for the entire 1992 season: “Seeing the models of 25 or 30 years ago is still exciting. They are the last cars before the beginning of telemetry and automatic transmissions. Apart from the growling noise, which still today brings back those wonderful times, it was a very flexible engine with enormous power starting from the low rpms.”
Entrusted to drivers Gianni Morbidelli and Christian Fittipaldi, the Minardi M191B #003 competed in the first Grand Prix races of 1992 before being replaced by the M192, also equipped with a Lamborghini engine. The best result achieved by the single-seater restored by Polo Storico was 11th place with Christian Fittipaldi at the wheel at the Spanish GP, and it is now ready to return to racing and competing in the championships dedicated to historic F1 races. The testing outcome was very positive: the car ran more than 20 laps without any problem and the Lamborghini engine perfectly maintained all the features that so impressed Ayrton Senna during the tests at Estoril in 1993.