07/11/2011 Lamborghini Gallardo Super Trofeo Stradale
Having proved its worth in the Blancpain Super Trofeo one-make race series, the lightweight Gallardo has now been launched as a strictly limited series of ‘Stradale’ road cars. We drove the fearsome bull in Spain.
“Ferrari! Ferrari!” shouted the small boy excitedly, pointing to the bright-red sports car shining in the Spanish sun at the edge of the Circuit de Catalunya. Red is a fair enough choice for an Italian car; it is, after all, the traditional racing colour of Italy. Yet we can’t help suspecting this choice of paint is also intended as rebellious gesture towards Ferrari. But who cares what colour it is? We are here to see how it feels to drive this race-inspired supercar, and we’re not going to stand around discussing the paintwork once we’ve got the keys in our hand.
The Lamborghini Gallardo LP 570-4 Super Trofeo Stradale – to give the car its full title – was first unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September. But back in 2010, Lamborghini presented the Gallardo Blancpain Edition, also derived from the Super Trofeo racing car; so is this a special edition of the special edition? It’s the tech specs which tell the real story… through the extensive use of carbonfibre, the new Stradale is a mere 1340kg, giving it a power-to-weight ratio of 2.35kg per HP and hence breathtaking performance. It will reach 100km/h (62mph) from standstill in just 3.4 seconds, and claims a top speed of 320km/h.
This outrageous performance is confidently portrayed by the car’s exterior styling. Aside from the Rosso Mars paint, there’s a vast, adjustable rear spoiler which – like the engine cover and front air-ducts – is matte black. A diabolical combination. But before we can begin our wild ride through the Spanish countryside, there is the self-strangulation ritual of doing up the four-point harnesses which strap us (all too securely) in place. From where we can admire the dramatic red and black cockpit, like a bull-fighter waving his red rag at a bull. This is surely Italian auto-aggression at its finest!
At first we are confined to the Autopista del Mediterrani, where the weekend traffic limits us to only the occasional downshift and short-lived burst of speed, engine barking, before we are forced to back off the throttle. In these conditions, anyone who can sense any difference from the standard lightweight Gallardo should immediately apply to Sant’Agata as a test driver. To fully test the abilities of this chassis, powertrain and that huge rear wing would require a racetrack – but at least the curving roads we found later in our test drive allowed us to have some fun. Now we were able to take full advantage of the traction of the permanent four-wheel drive, as we pushed the car through the switchback roads and accelerated out of the corners, the Pirelli P Zero Corsa tyres seemingly glued to the asphalt. We used the paddles on the steering wheel to blat down through the robotised e-gear six-speed transmission (just like the race cars), and we revelled in the wonderful sound this created.
But the first ‘pit stop’ came sooner than expected, as our bull turned out to be a red rag to the Catalan police. When our photographer leant briefly from the window of her car, the local Officers of the Law were poised and ready to demand a 100-euro penalty from her for not wearing a seatbelt. Meanwhile, we two in the Lamborghini – tied up like Christmas presents in our four-point wrapping – blinked innocently out of the side windows. We did, however, decide to forego the planned top-speed test.
But even if we were denied this final pleasure, the evidence was clear: no other Gallardo is so close to the racing machines as the Super Trofeo Stradale with its rock-hard suspension, super-sensitive throttle and aura of extreme sports. Only 150 units will be made; at a base price of 189,100 euros plus taxes. And I suppose we should mention that the (deep breath) Lamborghini Gallardo LP 570-4 Super Trofeo Stradale is also available in grey or black. But really… ‘Rosso Mars’ is the way to go.