In an age where kids my age would celebrate their first kiss, I awaited, with bated breath for my first sighting of a Lamborghini. On the fated day, I laid my eyes upon the legendary Diablo – an absolute beast with unstifled grunts, the kind I had never heard before. It veered around the corner of my street and left me in its wake, wide-eyed, with a dollop of drool dangling from a corner of my lips. It took me a while to recover from the phenomena, but when I did, I swore my fealty to the opulent power that the Italian bull brought with it.
Cut to the present day and the flutter in my chest, each time a Lamborghini whiffs by, hasn’t dampened even by a degree. Today, it’s a lot easier for me to weasel my way into the cockpit of a Lambo, taking it for a spin before pouring my mind out on a patronizing review (like this one). But when the opportunity to take the all-new Huracán STO for a spin at India’s Buddh International Circuit came about, the stakes simply rose. This car is excellent because of everything it lacks. There are no plush-cushioned surfaces at all, you aren’t looking at exquisitely trimmed doors and carpets, the dash is practical, the windshield is lighter, and it is made of more carbon fiber than we have seen in a sports car – all, in an attempt to bring its overall weight in the range of 1,300 kilograms.
So, why this obsession with being lightweight, you may wonder. The answer is in the name of the car. STO stands for Super Trofeo Omologato or street version of the Super Trofeo Evo racecar. In all its essence, this is a machine that is trained for the track, but it is completely street legal too. But this was all theory that was well briefed to me before the drive. The truest insights manifested themselves to me on the BIC.
The circuit makes for a perfect testing ground for the likes of the Huracán STO because of the long straights it presents; namely, the one that precedes turn 4. Even with its straights, the BIC is considered to be one of the most challenging tracks in the world, presenting challenges such as a 14-meter rise within the first three corners alone.
One of the most exciting parts of the track is the double-apex bend that is banked and really tests a driver’s mettle. It was here that I would want to test the balance of the Huracán STO, and it was here that I was left with a beaming smile.
Lamborghini has justified their obsessive weight-loss strategy with the inclusion of phenomenal aerodynamics. A tailfin has been added at the rear (which fortunately is quite a looker) and its sole purpose is to increase the downforce on the car to offset the lack of bulk. It can offer downforce of up to 420 kilograms, which is all the car needs as it veers towards breakneck speeds, of over 300kmph.
The aerodynamics scream through the design. The STO visually greets you with its sharp angles and cuts, with the ‘cofango’ front that incorporates the fenders, hood, and bumper in one large carbon fiber piece. This may look a little meaty when the hood is lifted but it actually serves to offset a fair amount of weight because (wait for it) it even includes the front wheel wells in the build. That’s not all. You are greeted to insides adorned with carbon fiber floor mats and cloth pull straps to close the doors. This isn’t borderline obsessive; it’s automobile anorexia!
Driving the Huracán STO at the BIC, however, will only make you tip your hat to the company for its effort. It shows in the way the rear-wheel steering and torque vectoring work with the 2.0 MagneRide system of Ferrari fame, which gives you a racing experience of a lifetime. The car is incredibly loud thanks to the naturally aspirated V10 engine with its 640-horsepower energy. The specially designed exhaust contributes to the audial delight in its own way.
At the aforementioned straight on the BIC, I never seemed to run out of power or find myself desiring anything more. In fact, it felt like there was always more behind the pedal and that the circuit isn’t enough to deliver this. I tried out all the driving modes and was pleasantly delighted by the responsiveness that each of them delivered.
TROFEO is optimized for track performance, STO is for a more relaxed (no, not really) drive that you would opt for in the city, and PIOGGIA focuses on better grip for rainy days by ensuring traction control, torque vectoring, and leveraging ABS braking.
It goes without saying that I jumped at the opportunity of switching to TROFEO and hearing the engine grumble. Among the most understated aspects of the car is the braking. The CCM-R braking technology is directly borrowed from Formula 1 racing and employs rear carbon-ceramic brakes. These offer 60 percent higher resistance to stress and are 400 percent more efficient at managing heat. To be honest, it was my first few tries at the braking, especially around the first two turns, that made me trust myself and my humble ability to stretch the STO to its limits on the track.
Even on the BIC, one can feel how connected the car is with the tarmac. To give you an estimate, it offers over 50% more downforce than the Performante and has much better aerodynamics to keep your drive stable, be it around a straight or a banked curve. What excited me, even in the more agile driving modes, was how manageable the steering always felt. It seemed to intuitively understand the times I meant it to cooperate. And it did. Miraculously so. This is a car that delivers all the power you have desired, without making you work too hard for it.
Having driven the STO at this glorious circuit, all harnessed-up and with a helmet on, it gives me jitters wondering how one would tame this snarly-wild-cat-on-speed over civilian turf. Well, like it always has, the Lamborghini fantasy keeps living on.
(A special thanks to Lamborghini India)