Track days with the Lam­borgh­ini Espe­rienza


Virtuozity - - Virtuozo -

"The pace is fast enough to be ‘push­ing it’, but slow enough to be within that nar­row safety win­dow."

THE PROB­LEM WITH su­per­cars these days are they’re just too damn fast. But that’s not the whole story. They’re also too clever.

In the black and white days of the six­ties and through the big-haired sev­en­ties, the few peo­ple who could af­ford what were then con­sid­ered su­per­cars would use them al­most en­tirely for cruis­ing the beach­fronts of the Cote Du Sur or Hol­ly­wood Boule­vard. Those that drove them in anger were ei­ther rac­ers, who could han­dle the cars, or fools, who crashed them spec­tac­u­larly and re­moved them­selves from the gene pool.

This sta­tus quo con­tin­ued up into the nineties, un­til car man­u­fac­tur­ers re­alised that there was no rea­son for a su­per­car not to also be safe. This had a dou­ble ef­fect. Firstly, it al­lowed al­most any­one to be able to drive the cars, re­gard­less of if they knew what they were do­ing, and put the lim­its of the cars al­most out of the reach of those that could drive.

What this all meant was that, un­less you were a rally driver, the only place you could re­ally ex­plore the lim­its of your car was on the track. What fol­lowed was a boom across the world in track days and own­ers en­joy­ing their cars in a rel­a­tively safe en­vi­ron­ment. Mind you, peo­ple still man­aged to bend their cars with alarm­ing reg­u­lar­ity.

But now, with the world deeply into the new mil­len­nium, the su­per­car man­u­fac­tur­ers sud­denly re­alised they were miss­ing a trick. If they of­fered fac­to­ry­backed track days, held ex­clu­sively for VIP cus­tomers and po­ten­tial new clients, they could ac­tu­ally let peo­ple see what the cars were ca­pa­ble of.

Which brings us neatly to the world of man­u­fac­turer cus­tomer days, and specif­i­cally the in­cred­i­ble Lam­borgh­ini Espe­rienza. These days, which the com­pany holds all over the world, al­low cur­rent cus­tomers to test new mod­els with a view to up­grad­ing, and also gives Lam­borgh­ini the opportunity to get po­ten­tial prospects be­hind the wheel in or­der to feel what driv­ing the car in anger is all about.

Of course, they don’t just let you off the leash on a live race track on your own. In Bahrain, as any­where else, you fol­low one of Lam­borgh­ini’s fac­tory test driv­ers around the cir­cuit. This es­sen­tially stops any­one

over­do­ing it or not get­ting much out of the day. You also don’t need to learn the lines of the track, as there’s a car in front to fol­low around each lap.

For some, this would put a downer on the day, but there’s no hang­ing around with these guys. The pace is fast enough to be ‘push­ing it’, but slow enough to be within that nar­row safety win­dow.

The test driv­ers also tai­lor their speed to the other driv­ers, so if the cus­tomer isn’t an F1 wannabe, they’ll just go a bit slower, so every­one en­joys the day. Just be­cause you own a su­per­car doesn’t mean you want

“Add in some­one who re­ally knows what they are do­ing and it be­comes an adren­a­line ride to tick off your bucket list.”

to go find its limit. A lot of own­ers are just happy to cruise around in their cars, en­joy­ing the drive.

For the Bahrain event, Lam­borgh­ini brought in a fleet of Hu­ra­can LP 610-4s for every­one to en­joy. Driv­ing one of these in­cred­i­ble cars on the road is, of course, a treat. But let­ting it loose on a cir­cuit is in an­other league. You re­ally can learn far more about the car and reach some of its far-reach­ing lim­its. And, as with any cir­cuit, the knowl­edge that there’s no one com­ing the other way or a truck do­ing a U-turn around the bend, makes you far braver than you ever would be (or should be) on the road.

There’s also a chance to use the low grip area, where the floor is doused with wa­ter and your main task is to per­form a neat slid­ing turn, whip­ping the tail of the car round on the slip­pery sur­face. It’s hard, and even with an un­der­stand­ing in­struc­tor sat next to you of­fer­ing ad­vice, you still tend to over­cook it and end up fac­ing where you just came from.

But Lam­borgh­ini weren’t done there. Be­fore the end of the day, they rolled out its GT3 Hu­ra­can race car, com­plete with its driver for some hot pas­sen­ger laps for the guests. Trans­fer­ring to a full-blown race car, from what is still a le­gal road car is quite a step.

Add in some­one who re­ally knows what they are do­ing be­hind the wheel and it be­comes an adren­a­line ride to tick off your bucket list. The speed of the race car is in­de­scrib­able. It’s vi­cious and mind-blow­ing in equal mea­sure. Points on the cir­cuit where you were break­ing, the race car is still ac­cel­er­at­ing. You sim­ply sit there and trust that the driver knows far more than you about driv­ing on a race track. Luck­ily he clearly does.

Throw in some fun kart­ing, a top qual­ity lunch and stun­ning hostesses to tell you where to be and when, and you have pretty much the per­fect day for any­one with even a slight bit of petrol in their veins. The only prob­lem is you need to able to af­ford to buy a Lam­borgh­ini to get on the guest list.

Time to start hunt­ing down the back of the sofa for all that loose change.

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