Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 1 December 2020

Road testing Lamborghini's Huracan STO: supercar sheds some weight for super-speedy ride

The model will hit the market mid-2021, with a price tag of Dh1.5m and upwards

The inspiration for the Huracan STO comes from the Super Trofeo Evo built for Lamborghini's one-make race series. Courtesy Lamborghini
The inspiration for the Huracan STO comes from the Super Trofeo Evo built for Lamborghini's one-make race series. Courtesy Lamborghini

Lamborghini’s electrifying Huracan Evo already delivers ample drama with its rakish profile and eye-watering performance, so why would the Bolognese raging bull roll out an even more extreme version of the V10 supercar? Well, because it can and there are customers out there willing to pay a premium for such an offering.

All hail the Lamborghini Huracan STO

This explains why I’m standing at the Nardo Handling Track, nestled in the south-eastern tip of Italy. Glaring at me is the brand-new Lamborghini Huracan STO, replete with vents, scoops and sharp edges. The bewinged beast appears as though it was designed to race at Le Mans, rather than perform duties on public roads.

Aero upgrades include an adjustable rear wing, snorkel air intake on the roof and a sharp-edged front spoiler with large air intakes to feed the radiator and cool the carbon-ceramic brakes
Aero upgrades include an adjustable rear wing, snorkel air intake on the roof and a sharp-edged front spoiler with large air intakes.

STO is an acronym for Super Trofeo Omologato (Italian for homologation), as the inspiration for this hardcore Huracan comes from the Super Trofeo Evo built for Lambo’s one-make race series. As a result, the STO scores a race-inspired aerodynamic package, stiffened suspension and weight-saving measures, enabling it to scorch around a racetrack substantially quicker than even the Huracan Performante, which was formerly the fastest iteration of the V10 supercar.

The other key change versus the Huracan Evo and Performante is that the STO dispenses with all-wheel-drive, sending its power to the tarmac via the rear wheels only.

Aerodynamic upgrades

The STO’s aero upgrades include a massive adjustable rear wing, snorkel air intake on the roof and a sharp-edged front spoiler with large air intakes to feed the radiator and cool the carbon-ceramic brakes. In addition, there are vents and scoops all over the car to optimise airflow and maximise cooling efficiency. These aero tweaks deliver 53 per cent more downforce than the Huracan Performante, which means higher cornering speeds.

The STO also weighs 43 kilograms less than the Performante, and this is the result of its CRPF (Carbon Fibre Reinforced Plastic) body panels, magnesium rims and a “naked” interior trimmed in alcantara and carbon skin. It even dispenses with conventional door handles in favour of a pull strap.

Motive power comes from the same 5.2-litre V10 and seven-speed dual-clutch transmission as the Huracan Performante, but press the ignition button and your eardrums are instantly assaulted by a louder and angrier bark, thanks to a bespoke exhaust system with huge tips that resemble flame throwers. The V10’s power output of 640hp is as per the Performante, but the torque figure of 565Nm is slightly lower. That said, the throttle pedal has been recalibrated for sharper response.

Drive modes

Rather than having the usual Strada, Sport and Corsa drive modes you’d find in other Lambos, the newcomer has STO (road), Trofeo (dry race) and Pioggia (wet race) settings that are selectable via a red toggle switch on the steering wheel. Trofeo is obviously the right choice for this occasion, given that we’re about to head out on a bone-dry track, as this mode allows some leeway for lateral sliding without entirely deactivating the electronic safety net.

We get to sample the full extent of the STO’s dynamic capabilities as the Nardo Handling Track is a proper old-school circuit, with blind crests, ultra-fast corners, numerous little bumps (to mimic country roads) and an entertaining jump that gets the car airborne at almost 200 kilometres per hour.

Drive modes include STO (road), Trofeo (dry race) and Pioggia (wet race) settings, as opposed to the usual Strada, Sport and Corsa modes 
Drive modes include STO (road), Trofeo (dry race) and Pioggia (wet race) settings, as opposed to the usual Strada, Sport and Corsa modes.

It only takes half a lap of Nardo to sense that the STO instils a more direct, connected feeling. The steering is nicely weighted and it conveys plenty of feedback to your fingertips, although maybe fractionally less than you’d get in Ferrari’s 488 Pista. The STO’s alloy flappy paddles are also wonderfully tactile, and they’re large enough to enable upshifts or downshifts even with some steering lock wound on.

The fact that the STO sends all its power solely to the rear wheels means you need to be a bit more discreet in applying the throttle out of slow corners. Jump on the gas too early and the car steps sideways, causing you to lose momentum and compromise your run down the following straight.

The stiffer suspension set-up and sharpened throttle calibration enable you to carry a tremendous amount of speed through corners, and there’s a great feeling of adjustability even if the car gets a little unsettled in mid-corner. The power delivery also comes on in very linear fashion, so you needn’t get white knuckles when standing on the throttle.

Premium price

The STO’s extreme nature means it won’t be for everyone, but track-day enthusiasts will love it as it’s blisteringly fast on a circuit or the right mountain road. It’s due on sale in mid-2021, for Dh1.5 million-plus ($408,400), which will put it beyond the reach of most. However, it seems set to be a future collectible, as the Huracan’s successor may adopt a downsized twin-turbo V8 to meet upcoming EU7 emission standards. In this case, the STO would be an epic last hurrah for the V10 supercar.

Updated: November 19, 2020 10:23 AM

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