The 2018 Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo EVO has 600kg of downforce at 200km/h. Let that sink in for a minute. That is around half the weight of this one make championship racecar whose oily bits are not too different from those of the Huracán road car.
That amount of downforce and slick tyres give the EVO immense grip in fast corners, and gave me the confidence to take the left hand kink near the end of the pit straight at Imola with my right foot flat on the floor in sixth.
Just before I gently guided the small aircraft style steering wheel slightly left and felt the lateral g-force rock the car slightly on turn-in I registered the big number 275km/h flash on the instrument pack out of the corner of my eye. Three seconds later it was time to really stand on the brakes and pull the left paddle of the sequential gearbox three times to engage third before trail braking into the medium left hander. Wow!
I just love the power assisted steering on this car. Its feel and feedback has a very high level of precision, as well as perfect weighting that means running stints in a distance race would be quite comfortable. In fact you don’t think about it, which is always a good sign.
The handling is predictable and progressive, with a pointy front end and commensurately solid tracking at the rear on turn-in. This is a car whose handling holds no surprises for the unwary unless you do something silly like coming off the throttle suddenly in a tight bend at low speeds where your aero is not working to help the car stay glued to the tarmac.
Unlike the turbocharged cars that run in the GT Championships, the high revving V10 does not dump a mountain of torque on the rear wheels at low revs that can so easily unhinge the rear, especially in the wet.
Even so, the Lambo’s V10 motor has more than enough grunt to provoke power oversteer coming out of slower bends. But because the throttle action is so progressive and well calibrated, you can meter in exactly the number of horses for the occasion, which means if something goes awry it will be pilot error. The odd time the EVO stepped out at the rear – on slower bends where the aero is less effective – I had it back on line instantly with an instinctive flick of the wrists. I knew then I could trust the feeling through the seat of my pants with this car.
And that soundtrack! The naturally aspirated motor sounds like silk ripping when it reaches the top end of its working range. It is a far more spine tingling experience than any flat-plane crank V8, and is only matched for sheer aural inspiration by the deep basso profundo of the bent crank V8s in the Corvette GT3 and the AMG GT that run in the GT3 and GT4 classes.
Later, back in the pits I went through the telemetry with one of the race engineers and found that I had been pulling 1.67g lateral acceleration through some of the bends. As expected my times had tumbled with each lap as I got used to the car and the track. On my fourth lap the telemetry recorded 1.55 minutes, about 10 seconds off the pace of the professional drivers battling it out in the Super Trofeo World Final races that bracketed my test session.
Knowing that I had to hand the car back in one piece, I was running at about 95% of the cars and my own capabilities. But because the EVO gave me so much confidence, I felt very comfortable at that pace, working out the best line to take for a few of the bends in order to up my game further on the next lap.
Shaving off the next five or six seconds would not be difficult given another ten or so laps to experiment, which sadly I did not have. But beyond that, matching the pace of the championship drivers who had been racing their cars for a whole season, and thus knew them intimately, would not be easy.
However, the big confidence window this car exudes comes from the fact that it clearly telegraphs both what it is doing and what it is about to do. That is why its user friendly set-up is so good for the gentlemen drivers in this championship who like myself, do not have those last few percentage points of raw talent possessed by the true professionals paid a lot of money to win.
Speaking of money, one of Lamborghini’s aims is to keep costs down as much as possible so the car stays mechanically unchanged from the 2017 car. The new EVO bodywork bolts more or less straight onto the existing cars, with the only change to the mounting system being where the fasteners at the rear of the new engine cover are now more securely affixed to a lateral cross member.
Maurizio Reggiani, Chief Technical Officer of Automobili Lamborghini, explained that the revisions to the aero package took a year to design and develop with the aid of Dallara, who assist Lamborghini with the development of all their racecars.
“Part of our ethos is to fix the specification of our cars for three years to minimise costs for the teams,” he said. “Thus, the original Super Trofeo cars were current for three years, and now the Super Trofeo EVO spec will be current until the 2021 season, when we will have something new.”
“Naturally, we had a lot of input from our customers who race these cars and are therefore very familiar with the existing model. The specification wish list we received from them was very precise.”
The result is a machine that looks like a proper racing car rather than an adapted road going supercar. Overall downforce is the same as the outgoing model, something the gentlemen drivers in the series are less concerned about than the professionals. But drag has been reduced and this improved aerodynamic efficiency allows the car to accelerate faster at high speeds. Thus, the EVO is about 1.5 seconds a lap faster at Monza on the same engine power.