Lamborghini is known for fast cars but it isn’t known for race cars. While they have had some success in GT racing in recent years (and mostly with the cars built under Audi’s tutelage), the Lamborghini racing story is rather short. That said, there have been some attempts in the past to fix that. The Countach QVX is one of them.
According to Mark Smeyers at Lambocars.com, back in the mid-’80s, David Joliffe, official agent for Lamborghini in the United Kingdom at the time, really wanted to race a Countach. After getting turned down by the FIA for a Group B-spec car based on the Countach LP5000S because the production run was too small to homologate the race car, Joliffe flipped the page to the next letter of the alphabet, trading Group B ambitions for a shot at Group C.
But building and supporting a Group C team is a lot more complicated than a Group B entry. Rather than a homologated version of a production car built for rally stages, A Group C entry at Le Man needs to be able to compete at sustained high speeds in long endurance races, something a fragile and fickle Countach likely couldn’t do. To rectify the situation, Joliffe sought out a special V12 from the factory, one that had been developed with help from Lamborghini’s marine engine efforts.
Engine in hand, Joliffe teamed up with endurance racing experts Spice Engineering and CC Motorsports to build a chassis around that special V12. While the car shared nothing with other Countachs, the name stuck and Joliffe added a few high-scoring scrabble letters on the end and there it was: The Lamborghini Countach QVX. The car was eventually finished in 1985, body wrapped in a striking black livery for Unipart, the project’s only major sponsor.
With Tiff Needell and Mauro Baldi at the helm, the car was entered in a number of races but the only one it would finish was the 1986 500 KM of Kyalami in South Africa. After that, the funding started to dry up and the effort was abandoned and that was that.
Though the Countach QVX was generally a failure, it didn’t stop Lamborghini from making another attempt wit their next V12-powered platform, the Diablo. At this point, Group C had given way to the GT1 class and the car had to have a lot more in common with the Diablo road car, for better or for worse. What Lamborghini came up with was the Diablo 132 GT1. It failed too, but at least we got one (1) road car out of it. And that’s something worth celebrating.