The new Polo Storico project at Lamborghini was established to safeguard the immense heritage of the marque. The project has three pillars. One hosts the documentation on the brand’s historical models, while a second provides a four-level certification for them. The third pillar deals with the preservation and restoration of legacy models by Lamborghini specialists and restoration experts. One of their latest restorations is the Minardi M191B chassis #003, equipped with a Lamborghini LE3512 V12 engine and one of the protagonists of the Formula One season in 1992.
The restoration project by Polo Storico was organized by Lamborghini’s Squadra Corse, with the support of former Lamborghini engineering personnel who were active on the Lamborghini F1 project in the early ’90s. The Minardi is the first single-seater to be restored by Polo Storico and underwent seven months of work to return to its original efficiency, with most of the original components maintained.
The tyres, fuel tank, engine control unit, seat belts, and fire extinguishing system were replaced, while the other components were carefully restored, including the engine. Designed by Mauro Forghieri, the 12-cylinder LE3512 is still able to deliver the original almost 700 HP.
The guests of honour on the occasion of its grand return were Mirko Bortolotti, Lamborghini factory driver, and Giancarlo Minardi, the founder of the Faenza-based team.
“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.” – Giancarlo Minardi, Founder of Minardi Formula One team.
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 at the Spanish GP with Christian Fittipaldi at the wheel. It is now ready to return to racing and competing in the championships dedicated to historical F1 racers. The testing outcome was reported to be 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.