Lamborghini Huracan STO First Drive Review: Racecar For The Road
- by Kartikeya
- Dec 24, 2021
- Views : 482
A GT3 racer that wears a number plate–this is extraordinary even by Lambo standards. So, just how demanding is it to drive?
“You’re going to bin a Rs 7 crore supercar!”, my mind screams at me as images of an out of control Lamborghini Huracan STO spinning off track stream through my head. After hesitating through the blind entry into the parabola the bull and I are trying to get closer to, and lock step with the yellow Huracan up ahead that is being piloted by Armaan Ebrahim. As a Lamborghini Super Trofeo Asia racer with several podiums to his name, he is commanding the Lambo with an ease and fluidity that is obvious. Meanwhile, I tense up as I realise that my line of attack is much tighter than it should be, which means I’ll be using much more of the front-end and lateral grip to get to the apex before lining up for the exit. I turn right harder, and squeeze on the noise pedal with trepidation. But Armaan is already darting down and out of the parabola. Go for it. I press down harder on the gas. “Dont!”, I think. It’s too late.
Lamborghini’s Huracan STO, in my books, is perfect. At standstill, it has all the drama and theatricality that a poster car should have. It is plastered with gills, intakes, vanes, ducts and then there’s that ginormous rear wing. It look fantastic and it seems almost unbelievable that it is road legal at all. It uses carbon fibre in a variety of ways - in a thin sheet for the confango and the rest of the body, and as a sandwich for the rear wing. The wing can be adjusted, manually, for three levels of downforce, and its magnesium wheels are held on by a single nut - for better efficiency in pitstops. It is also rear-wheel drive only, albeit with rear-wheel steering to aid agility and stability. Weight savings total up to 42kg when you account for the thinner glass too.
On the inside, door handles and door release pulls give way to straps, the seats are carbonfibre tubs that lock you in place without any ceremony, although the thin layer of Alcantara tries to smooth the interaction. It doesn't just look like a racecar, it is a racecar. It has a telemetry system for the brakes, which lets you know what temperatures each of the Formula 1-derived carbon-ceramic brakes are at and just how deep they have been used - green, yellow, and red. But then why does it not have a roll cage, and why does it not ditch the air conditioning system? It seems very muddled. Lamborghinis aren’t known for being forgiving machines. Is the Huracan STO pretending? If so, what does it not want you to know? That it’s really a road car? Or that it’s just too racy to be a road car? Or simply, a car that should just be cherished as a poster on your wall?
The Huracan GT3 EVO, which lurks underneath the STO, set a lap time around Daytona of 1.46.40 seconds, on slicks. The STO, shod with road homologated tyres set a time of 1.48.86, which is 3 seconds faster than the Huracan Performante, claim Lamborghini. And, I had all of five laps to come to terms with this maddening level of performance. As it turned out, five epic laps.
If I close my eyes and think back to them, the first thing that comes to mind is the braking. God almighty! So strong are the brakes on the STO, that after three days of an assortment of people driving it around the BIC, the brakes remained absolutely fierce and rock solid. Armaan admitted that despite all his efforts, the brakes had never crept up into the “red” zone on the telemetry system. For mere mortals like me they remained in the green. This is despite braking late enough to think I would end up rear ending the pilot Huracan in front. Every time I thought I had pushed the boundaries, it turned out that another unlock was waiting for me to step up.
Then there’s the steering. Yes, it’s lifeless, and not chatty at all. But, with the altered ratios it steers real quick. More impressively, the understeer uncovering sections like Turn 6 to Turn 9 on the BIC don’t daunt the STO, it tracks with eagerness that surprises me. The tricky parabola is next and despite my missteps, the STO once again pulls through. Clearly this race bred Lambo has a higher level of poise and precision, which is incredibly accessible and usable by average drivers like me. It is truly astonishing that the STO can feel so lively, so fierce and yet so accommodating. That too on road-ready Bridgestones!
The knowledge that the STO isn’t more powerful than the Huracan EVO, or that its a tenth slower to 100kmph, taking 3 seconds to the EVO’s 2.9s, or because its top speed is 310kmph instead of 325, might tempt you to treat it with disrespect. Then be warned, the STO will bite. Do not mistake its friendliness for timidness. It is focussed, and it’d like you to be too. In Trofeo mode the suspension becomes firmer, the large metal paddles demand your touch to keep the revs from banging off the sub 9000rpm rev limiter. You can feel the STO fidget a bit more, be a bit more loose. It lets you know how much it was managing for you, and asks you to step up or back off.
The astonishing bit is that it can feel like an absolute pussycat at times. Driving down the pitlane, the engine purring softly and the suspension squishing ever so slightly, agreeably, the STO felt like an absolute street ready machine. Out on the track, emboldened by the Lamborghini in front of me, I hauled the STO onto the curbs, cut deeper into the corners almost onto the grass to straightline chicanes as much as possible. The result was a distant muffled rumbling as the STO forgave and just got on with it.
Don’t ask me about the cabin. It was there, with all the digital screens and the special engine start button. Don’t ask me what top speed I hit. I didn’t dare to look down. Don’t ask me if I was quick. I wasn’t. But did the Huracan leave an impression on me? The answer is, yes. I was still shaking many minutes after I got out of the STO. I was fizzing with excitement and incredulousness for much longer. And the longer I thought about it, the more awed I became with what Lamborghini has achieved. Because the STO feels like a car that looks like your inner child’s dream car, and feels every bit as dramatic to drive as you would have imagined it to be, and yet it makes the driving experience feel, well almost, like child’s play. And that, is special. Very special.
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