The Road Ahead : June July 2014
ROADAHEAD.COM.AU 60 THE ROAD AHEAD JUN/JUL 2014 fantasy island IT'S NOT EVERY DAY YOU GET TO DRIVE A LAMBORGHINI AVENTADOR ON ONE OF THE WORLD'S GREAT RACE TRACKS. STORY BARRY GREEN I PHOTOS PETER KOTSA "OKAY, LET'S GO, go, go!" This cryptic call to action, from a former Formula One test driver piloting the chase car 100 metres up the track, pulses through a two-way radio strapped to the seat beside me. I take it as a gilt-edged invitation to dip into the deep envelope of performance of the supercar I'm driving -- Lamborghini's flagship Aventador LP700-4. We're exiting turn 12, leading onto the fearsome, long main straight of the Phillip Island grand prix circuit, and I weld metal pedal to the floor and follow in the broad footprint of Marco Apicella's similar car. The rampant, 6.5-litre V12 is already well on its way to delivering peak power of 515kW in third gear, and I flat shift with a flick of the right hand paddle shifter just before the cut-out kicks in at 8250rpm. Fourth gear engages in a scarcely-believable 50 milliseconds with a brutal 'thud' through the drivetrain, like someone slamming a heavy door in a rage. Push has come to shove and the 'Lambo' thunders over the crest along Gardner Straight flat in sixth gear and carrying serious speed. How fast? I'm too focused on the blink of Marco's brake lights for the turn-in to the fastest corner on an Australian race track to risk averting my eyes to the speedo. Then it's time to question the huge carbon ceramic brakes (with discs the size of large pizza trays -- 400mm front, 380 rear) and bang down the single- clutch, automated-manual Graziano seven-speed gearbox to third; then surf the fat swell of engine torque that peaks at 690Nm @ 5500rpm. We negotiate the double-apex Southern Loop, glide through the next left curve and monster the second-gear, right-hander Honda Corner. Siberia (so called because of its extremity) comes and goes in a flash and we keep a wary eye on the wild geese the size of emu chicks grazing near the fast, curving right-hander up to Lukey Heights. It's hard on the stoppers again for MG Corner, then follow Marco's line through the constant-radius sweeper that takes in turns 11 and 12, before getting back on the gas again for the run down the straight. This is Squadra Corse's Lamborghini Esperienza, a rare opportunity usually reserved only for loyal clients and MOTORING | FEATURE UNDER THE SKIN The '700-4' to the Aventador nomenclature denotes 700 horsepower (515kW) and four- wheel-drive. All those horses are corralled inside a mid-rear-engined layout, with the naturally-aspirated V12 cradled in a monocoque and body made entirely of lightweight and ultra-strong carbon fibre. Pushrod suspension features front and rear, steering is hydraulic rack and pinion and the car rides on broad, 20" alloys wearing Pirelli P Zero rubber. MLP from $761,500.