#9 – Lamborghini Gallardo of indeterminate vintage

The good news: I drove a Lamborghini! The forever-coveted, would’ve-had-a-poster-on-my-bedroom-wall-if-it-wasn’t-already-covered-in-pictures-of-Garfield, ridiculous-looking Lambo. (I was a strange kid, ok?)

The bad news: I learned from the Ferrari post that I suck at writing about supercars, and unfortunately for you this post probably won’t be any better. It’s like that first time you meet your favorite actor or band, and you tell yourself repeatedly that they are just regular people but when you finally meet them all you can do is stare and say words that ultimately do nothing except make you sound like a huge dork..

So I’m going to try to talk about the Lambo like it’s just…a car. But it’s not! It’s a freakin’ Lamborghini!

This isn’t off to a good start.

The backstory: I found another one of those things where you pay people money and they let you drive an expensive car around. Unlike the Las Vegas trip though, this one involved driving a Gallardo at high speeds around the road course at my local racetrack. Oh yeah.

Before taking off in the Lambo we got a (very fast) group ride around the course in a Mercedes SUV. To learn the lines, or something. It was hilarious. (Mini review of some random Mercedes: It was big, had leather seats, could easily fit 5 adults, and was faster than it should have been.)

My parents heading off for their run in the Mercedes.

Now that we knew where we were going, it was time to wait in line. I kind of liked the blue Lamborghini, but the yellow was oh-so-flashy. Not like it mattered, they were both the same car and they were assigned based on line position. I ended up with the yellow one. Not disappointed

So, the car. They didn’t tell us much, I guess they figured the point was to drive the cars, not write novels about them. I should really speak up next time, show up with a voice recorder and a list of questions. As far as I can figure it was a Gallardo LP560-4 so a V10 with AWD and something like 550hp? There was a brief driver’s meeting ahead of time at which point they tried to say it had 700hp, but that’s not Gallardo territory, and I don’t understand why they felt the need to inflate numbers. Most people are driving 150hp Hondas, even 550hp is an amazing leap.

Also I’m completely guessing on the AWD, but I imagine giving high horsepower rear wheel drive cars to civilians and setting them up on a track would be a recipe for disaster, and there were no disasters that day. Except for the Ferrari repeatedly breaking. But that’s another story.

The poor Ferrari having a bad day.

Finally, my yellow chariot was ready.
Getting in the car was an ordeal. Supervision was required to make sure the seat was adjusted and my seatbelt was fastened. Safety First!

There were co-drivers in every car, and I was initially worried that they were there to be track police and swat at feet with batons if the speed or engine revs got too high. I was quickly proven wrong as I found out that my co-driver was actually a SCCA/NASA driving instructor who is used to helping people drive fast! Yes! None of this “keep it under 6000 revs” nonsense. No, it was “put the pedal down now.” That…was pretty awesome.

Anyway, back to the car. The inside. It was so dark! Black leather, black alcantara dash. Soft, fuzzy, but oh so dark. And it doesn’t have that same luxury feel as the 458 had, it was very straightforward and simple with no bells and whistles. I can completely get behind a car that is purpose built to go fast and maintain control, but after driving the Ferrari it just seemed outdated.

Since I have no pictures of the interior of the Gallardo, here are some Ferrari pictures to show you what it was not. It was much easier to spend time with the Ferrari since it was recuperating from whatever malady prevented it from being on the track that day.

Nothing fancy here, but it’s usable. Also, see how you can make out the floor? Yeah, not so much in the Lambo. That was more like looking at the batcave during a power outage.

I just like this steering wheel. And that knob on the right looks like it would make such a satisfying click when you turn it, but they never let you touch that if it’s not your car.

The funny thing was though, that once I was out on the track I didn’t give a damn. It could’ve been made entirely of scaffolding and I wouldn’t have noticed.

Confession time, I write about cars but I really don’t know much about them, or how to drive them properly. I pick up bits of knowledge here and there and it really helps with standard road cars, but when I’m in a car like this I just want to pretend that I’m on Top Gear and can say informed things about steering feel, and understeer, and throttle response. But no. What I can say is that when I hit the gas the car went like mad, and I could do that whole wait until the last second before a corner and brake hard, and I was so confident in the steering even at high speeds on a banked curve.

I think I may have said the same things about the 458 last year, and if I didn’t I should have, but it was all so much more pronounced at the high speeds that I couldn’t reach on Vegas highways.

I haven’t mastered the art of motion pictures with that fancy wheel blur, you’ll just have to take my word that the car was moving fast.

Also to further cement that I am not Top Gear material, more than once I forgot about the paddle shifters because I was so enamored with the car. Luckily the engine let me know of my error. Loudly.

And I can’t really say a whole lot more about that, unfortunately. I had this great instructor in the car with me and while I know the theory of high-speed driving it was so great to have someone remind me of lines and when to brake and just lots of other little things. So I spent my time listening (and squeeing and saying how awesome the car was) and not really looking at or analyzing the car itself.

All that driving is hard on the fuel tank.

So with all this being said, if I won the lottery tomorrow it would be a extremely difficult to pick between this and the Ferrari. They often get compared, but I think they are cars made for 2 different purposes. It would be hilarious to walk out to the driveway and have a Lamborghini staring back at you, but the creature comforts of the 458 are a huge selling point. Also, have you seen those headlights?

In conclusion then, I would win the lottery and then lease each one for a year. It’s the only sensible thing to do.