Track days with the Lamborghini Esperienza
DRIVING LAMBORGHINIS IS NEVER A CHORE. DRIVING THEM ON TRACK IS IN ANOTHER LEAGUE. VIRTUOZITY FLIES INTO BAHRAIN FOR THE LAMBORGHINI ESPERIENZA
"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.