Life is funny sometimes. I’m in a 690 hp Aventador with my right foot glued to the floor. I don’t even know how fast I’m going. What I do know, is that there’s a brand-spanking-new Huracan a few car lengths in front of me that’s being driving by an ex-NASCAR driver, and there’s a very tricky corner that'll be here before I know it. My primary thought is, “Holy sh*t! I’m not bored.”
I spent a full day on track with both of Lamborghini’s current models. This is what it's like.
I arrive at Houston's Motorsport Ranch around dawn and walk past a sea of Lamborghinis en route to a hospitality trailer. The event's a Lamborghini Esperienza: equal parts brand introduction for potential customers, performance enhancement for drivers that want to be faster, and a basics course to motorsports, for those that have the high levels of aptitude and savings required to give it a go.
In a quiet moment of reflection before things get started, I take a closer look at my day's office, nearly laughing out loud at the absurd notion that an entire fleet of Lamborghinis at a race track can actually be anyone's office, let alone mine. We've already written about the sheer Lamborghininess of the Huracan and the Aventador, so let's get right to the driving.
The instructors that Lamborghini lined up are first rate. They've raced everywhere from IndyCar, to WRC, to NASCAR, and they're overseen by a guy who once raced alongside guys like Senna and Prost in the Italian Grand Prix.
Each instructor leads a train of three cars. It's up to you to keep up. It's up to them not to lose you.
They start you out at a slow and comfortable pace (sans helmet) to give you a feel for the course and the car. Slow and comfortable. Yeah. Right.
Assuming you're not used to driving large, powerful, all wheel drive, mid-engined supercars on a race track, you basically have to rewrite much of what you know about driving. As it turns out, these cars are so outside my comfort zone, that the first time I felt the Aventador start to rotate I almost lost it.
Climbing out of the car, I expect Richard—an instructor who spent most of his career in open wheel racing—to chastise me for going too fast, too soon. Instead, all I get is "Yeah. You're solid."
Then suddenly, as I'm thinking about the past few laps, I have a realization: our whole lives, we're led to believe that the sound of an Italian V12 revving to the stratosphere under hard acceleration is the end-all-be-all of automotive sounds.
It might be close, but it definitely isn't number one.
In a heavy braking zone, the sound of the Aventador's V12 rev-matching for downshift, after downshift, after downshift, is absolutely mesmerizing. My inner child is still listening to it on repeat.
As the day progresses, I get more and more comfortable with both the cars and the track, and I have my second surprising realization: The Huracan's a friggin' blast if you have any finesse whatsoever.
Going into this, I read plenty of reviews about how the Huracan's handling isn't worthy of the car's price tag. By mid-afternoon, I'm finding myself legitimately questioning the driving skills of some of the journalists who wrote that.
Sure, if you're in the middle of a corner and you play with the throttle or brake too much it'll bite you. It's not some underpowered and lightweight Miata, it's a 600 hp supercar that costs as much as a small mansion. If you treat it with respect and make your inputs as slow as possible, it's a rewarding car that fits like a glove.
When the rear end starts to slide too much, driving it like a "normal" car won't cut it. The engine's back there, so once the rear goes there's a lot of momentum going with it. Assuming you've got it in Corsa mode—the setting that interferes with the driver as little as possible—easing off the brake as you turn in, then offering minute corrections with the steering wheel to keep the rear in check until you can (carefully) accelerate out of the corner results in a heavenly feeling.
By mid-afternoon, the Huracan and I are old friends. I go out in a yellow one, right behind the instructor, Simone. When Simone's not showing schlubs like me how to drive Lambos on track, he's rallying across Europe.
We take off with two cars behind us, and I'm glued to his bumper since he's trying to go slow enough that we don't lose the other guys. We lose them anyway. We let them catch up, then take off again...promptly re-losing them. Crossing the line to start a new lap, I can hear the lead instructor chatting with Simone through my headset.
I don't speak Italian, but I hear the word "giallo" and as I'm braking and downshifting into turn one, I realize they're talking about me. Yellow. Suddenly, Simone takes off and I realize what "fast" really means. By the time we hit the back straight he must have nearly a dozen car lengths on me.
The day is slowly winding to a close, and I'm in that Aventador. Kevin Conway, NASCAR rookie of the year in 2010, is in a Huracan just in front of me.
I know he's a faster driver than I am, and I know the Huracan's hasty in the corners, but that doesn't stop me from pushing myself to speed up, safe in the knowledge that my fastest is a leisurely cruise for him.
And then it happens.
There's a complex corner that's got an up-then-downhill right, then a left. I watch as he slides the Huracan just wide, missing the apex not 20 feet in front of me. For the briefest of moments I'm proud of myself for at least being fast enough to cause even the slightest concern...until I do the same damn thing half a second later.
As the rear of the car slides to my right, I hold the throttle steady, catch the car with the steering wheel, and ever so gently lay into the accelerator, bound and determined not to let him pull away as easily as Simone.
"Holy sh*t," I think to myself. "I'm not bored." Not by a long shot.