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Old 26th February 2013, 14:39   #1
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Default Driving Lamborghinis at the Buddh International Circuit!

Hello Buddh!

There's something beautiful about being at Buddh. A world class circuit on Indian soil. Thousands of tri-coloured seats lining the stands. The cool and overcast Delhi weather. It's somewhat of a spiritual destination for Indian petrol-heads.

The seating capacity is 110,000 people, but there's only 30 of us here today. Standing alone in the pit lane, in front of an empty grand stand. Even with no cars on the track, it feels special to be here. Then, one of the garage doors cracks open, and I get a glimpse of what’s in store. 4 delicious flavours of Lamborghini Gallardo.

Driving Lamborghinis at the Buddh International Circuit!-01-img_0314.jpg

Driving Lamborghinis at the Buddh International Circuit!-07-img_0323.jpg


Wait a Minute

Now, before getting on with the track day report, I’ll make a quick mention of why we are here. It's Lamborghini's 50th year, and there are two updates to the Gallardo family now available on Indian shores. The 560-4 has got a new front and rear bumper treatment with a trapezoidal styling theme. Note that this hasn’t been applied to the 550 and 570, only the 560 and its spyder variant get this. Also new are the “Apollo” alloys in matt black, with the spoke edges polished silver.

I didn't like the new front and rear bumpers when I first saw them in pictures. Judging by the reactions on the launch thread, I don’t think a lot of other people did either. I thought the changes made the last time the bumper was face-lifted were perfect. However, when you take a look this latest bumper design in person, you get used to it really quick. There are a few black plastic pieces and sharp styling cuts on the front that help fill the void. These are only seen as you walk around the front of the car, and therefore go unnoticed in most photos.


The updated trapezoidal front bumper
Driving Lamborghinis at the Buddh International Circuit!-02-img_0386.jpg

Similar treatment on the rear. Apparently the larger vent area helps thermodynamic efficiency
Driving Lamborghinis at the Buddh International Circuit!-03-img_0392.jpg

The 19” Apollo wheels. (Personally, I’m not a huge fan of this shift over to black wheels on the new Lambos)
Driving Lamborghinis at the Buddh International Circuit!-04-img_0396.jpg

A meaner looking nose, from the side
Driving Lamborghinis at the Buddh International Circuit!-img_0318.jpg

Pre-facelift Gallardo at the front, with the new style bumper shown behind it.
Driving Lamborghinis at the Buddh International Circuit!-05-img_0327.jpg

Some of the finer styling details that are hard to see in most photos
Driving Lamborghinis at the Buddh International Circuit!-06-img_0373.jpg


Another “new” offering, is what Lamborghini are calling the “Edizione Tecnica”. It’s basically the existing Superleggera with some new optional dual-colour combinations. For those of you who speak Italian: Nero Nemesis (matt black) body with Arancio Argos (orange) pillars and front air intakes, Bianco Canopus (matt white) body with Arancio Argos pillars and front air intakes, and Arancio Argos body with Nero Nemesis pillars and front air intakes.


Price (ex-showroom Delhi)
Gallardo LP 560-4: Rs. 2.61 crores
Gallardo LP 570-4 Superleggera Edizione Tecnica: Rs 2.92 crores

Gallardo, Going, Gone

Launched in 2004, the Gallardo has now been around for a very long 9 years. It has been the most successful raging bull ever, with the LP560-4 having sold close to 13,000 units in its lifetime! The Gallardo has been kept alive by 2-wheel-drive, 4-wheel-drive & manual transmission options, a choice of coupe and spyder body forms, and countless limited "special editions" that most BHPians are all too familiar with. However, Lamborghini has confirmed that 2013 with be the last year that the Gallardo is produced, before its replacement (the LP600-4 Cabrera?) arrives.


Decoding the Names

For example: LP560-4
LP: Longitudinale Posteriore. L: The engine is aligned longitudinally (crankshaft from front to rear of the car). P: It is rear-engined (posterior).
560: The power output in metric horsepower. Either 550, 560 or 570 for the current Gallardo models.
-4: Signifies 4-wheel-drive. Two wheel drive versions end in a "-2"
Superleggera: Italian for super-light. These versions have unnecessary bits stripped off to save weight.

Last edited by Rehaan : 26th February 2013 at 18:40.
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Old 26th February 2013, 14:57   #2
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Default Re: Driving Lamborghinis at the Buddh Circuit!

Driving Lamborghinis at the Buddh International Circuit!-yellhdr-img_20130222_110027.jpg

Driving Lamborghinis at the Buddh International Circuit!-img_0369.jpg

Driving Lamborghinis at the Buddh International Circuit!-img_0339.jpg

Back on Track

Plan for the day? We get 1 familiarization lap as passengers, after which we get 3 laps in the 550-2 and 3 more in the 570-4 Superleggera! I was kicked. A nice choice here, since we’d get the chance to sample both ends of the Gallardo spectrum. Two of the rarer Gallardos, rather than the most “common” 560-4.

Shirish gave me a good 1-lap recap of the circuit, with a few tips thrown in. (You’ll see this in the video below).

I jumped into the white 550-2 first. I had a feeling I’d prefer this to the Superleggera. It had the perk of rear-wheel-drive despite having 20 less horsepower. The first thing I noticed was that the accelerator is right in the center of the foot-well where the brake should be. If you look at the Gallardo’s side profile you’ll notice that the front wheel intrudes into the foot-well space a fair bit. As a result, the pedals are squeezed into the remaining space on the left (notice where they are in relation to the steering column in the picture below). It’s tight in there!

Driving Lamborghinis at the Buddh International Circuit!-img_20130222_120723.jpg

I wonder how the foot-well is on the 3-pedal manual Gallardos; but that’s a dream for another day. This time it’s only the E-gear paddle-shift boxes on offer. The paddles are in fixed positions behind the steering wheel. With this single clutch box, you really wouldn't want to shift gears whilst turning the wheel anyway. Pull both paddles to shift to neutral.

The low-slung Gallardo has such high grip levels, that I was immediately driving at ridiculous speeds even on the first “warm up” lap. On the cool down lap, I was taking some corners at 140+ km/h without even touching the brakes (in order to let them cool down).


Driving Lamborghinis at the Buddh International Circuit!-img_0399.jpg

Pushing Buttons

The Gallardo has three drive settings: Auto, Sport & Corsa. They control the aggressiveness of the electronic intervention, sharpness of the throttle, as well as the shifting of the single-clutch robotized box. Think of the 3 shift settings as mildly-violent, violent and extremely-violent. The car will change gears for you in Auto and Sport, but in Corsa you have to shift using the paddles; it will not shift for you, even if you’re bouncing off the redline.

Auto mode doesn’t always keep the car on the boil. It’s more of an around-town mode as it shifts up fairly early. We were told to stay in this mode. I decided not to use the paddles too much, as I thought I’d concentrate on the line around the track -- but in hindsight, this was a mistake, as the car was always in too high in a gear in Auto mode, affecting acceleration and cornering.

Our Italian instructor had said that we could switch to Sport mode if we felt comfortable, but the fact that marker cones were placed right on the curb at the exit of every corner made me think twice. I thought twice really quick, and then switched over to Sport on the less risky segments of the track. The Gallardo immediately jumped to life, dropping a gear and pulling till the redline all the time. Nice. From now on it was only a question of balancing out “having fun” with “not having a 2.5+ crore debt on my hands”.

I tried Corsa mode down the straight. Got a punch in the back every time it up-shifted. There’s a certain no-nonsense, sledgehammer approach that Lamborghini takes with its cars. Even the latest Aventador is a single clutch, when virtually every other performance car manufacturer has switched to dual-clutch systems. Lamborghini’s 3 core values are “Extreme, Uncompromising & Italian”. Hah! How great is that? The roar of the engine inside the cabin is so loud whilst coming down the back straight that it’s impossible to hear the instructions coming in over the walkie-talkie. I’m not complaining. They said “uncompromising”, but they didn’t say exactly what they’re not willing to compromise on. Probably the extreme-ness!


Driving Lamborghinis at the Buddh International Circuit!-img_0343.jpg

At the Wheel

The massive grip levels on the 235 & 295 section tyres was impressive. There wasn’t too much tail-out action, as the traction control was usually on the most aggressive setting. The yellow light on the dashboard flashed away as I entered a few corners too hot. Despite what some purists feel about electronic driver aids in sports cars, there’s absolutely no doubt about the fact that they save lives daily.

The brake pedal on the 550-2 had a longer effective travel than the Superleggera, with the first half of the push being casual braking before the real stuff kicks in. Hard straight-line braking was a bit squiggly on the 550-2, almost like it was tram-lining. We were told that this was because of the tyres.

The carbon ceramics of the Superleggera on the other hand were much quicker to bite, and had a very noticeable advantage on track. So much so, that the Superleggera was always kept at the back of the convoy. The stopping power was immense. It’s amazing how hard you can hit the brakes at 240+ km/h and have this thing stop with distance to spare, as your lungs squeeze through the front of your ribcage. If you push way too hard, the ABS will kick in, but only if you’re really overstepping the line. It’s not intrusive at all.

Now, I did say I thought I’d prefer the 550-2, but I ended up having more fun in the Superleggera. I could put that down to a few reasons. Maybe I’d even change my mind the next time I take the wheel in one of these cars. But to be honest, in such a short time, hot-lapping with multiple driving modes to choose from, it is hard to tell the finer differences between the two cars. To me, the Superleggera steering felt more lively, the throttle felt a little sharper (perhaps the additional 20 horses) and of course; a more nasty noise!


Driving Lamborghinis at the Buddh International Circuit!-img_0328.jpg

Driving Lamborghinis at the Buddh International Circuit!-img_0335.jpg

Driving Lamborghinis at the Buddh International Circuit!-img_0338.jpg

Driving Lamborghinis at the Buddh International Circuit!-img_0347.jpg

Driving Lamborghinis at the Buddh International Circuit!-img_0356.jpg

Driving Lamborghinis at the Buddh International Circuit!-img_0358.jpg

Driving Lamborghinis at the Buddh International Circuit!-img_0372.jpg

Driving Lamborghinis at the Buddh International Circuit!-img_0377.jpg

Driving Lamborghinis at the Buddh International Circuit!-img_0388.jpg

Driving Lamborghinis at the Buddh International Circuit!-img_0389.jpg

Driving Lamborghinis at the Buddh International Circuit!-img_0398.jpg

Driving Lamborghinis at the Buddh International Circuit!-img_0337.jpg

Driving Lamborghinis at the Buddh International Circuit!-img_20130222_114207.jpg

Driving Lamborghinis at the Buddh International Circuit!-img_0370.jpg

Last edited by Rehaan : 26th February 2013 at 18:45.
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Old 26th February 2013, 15:13   #3
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Default Re: Driving Lamborghinis at the Buddh Circuit!

There's only so much that pictures & words can describe, so I threw together a quick video of a mix of some warm-up and hot laps to help you guys experience the drive:



cya
R

Last edited by GTO : 26th February 2013 at 17:23.
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Old 26th February 2013, 15:53   #4
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Default Re: Driving Lamborghinis at the Buddh Circuit!

@ Rehaan,

Doing it big out there man, taming all the bulls @ the BIC

Thank you for sharing these photos & your experience.

I have one word for you, "EPIC"

Last edited by karan561 : 26th February 2013 at 15:55.
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Old 26th February 2013, 17:05   #5
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Thumbs up Re: Driving Lamborghinis at the Buddh International Circuit!

Awesome, Rehaan!
I know it's probably time I got used to it, but here're the things that I loved about this entire thread so far:

1. It points out big time that India is HOT on the serious automotive world map. We have a world class circuit here now, with some of the best facilities I have seen.

2. With supercars making their presence felt on the street, we actually have experiences of driving them on a brilliant track. Sweeet.

3. Team-BHP has been making it clear that it has the ability to cover some of the most serious automotive "by-invite only" events.
For this, I congratulate the entire team of admin & mods here. Brilliant!
To state the obvious, I am happy to be part of this wonderful family.

The cars looked brilliant in the pictures, and the videos taken from different angles looked really nice.
Well done.

Cheers,
Sam
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Old 26th February 2013, 18:43   #6
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Default Re: Driving Lamborghinis at the Buddh International Circuit!

Nice report, awesome pics! The Aventador Roadster(launch car) was also present at BIC i believe, why wasn't that taken on the track?
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Old 26th February 2013, 19:04   #7
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Default Re: Driving Lamborghinis at the Buddh International Circuit!

Awesome Pics, Wallpaper stuff and a lovely report to go with it. And the Exhaust Note just blows you away. I can only imagine what fun you had driving the beasts.

Last edited by Rehaan : 26th February 2013 at 19:22. Reason: Post edited. Please don't forget spaces after punctuation marks. Thanks.
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Old 26th February 2013, 19:09   #8
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Default Re: Driving Lamborghinis at the Buddh International Circuit!

Nicely covered. The feel must have been ethereal.
All auto majors have been queuing up at BIC for journo reviews. The facelift makes the car look a bit meeker, IMO.
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Old 26th February 2013, 19:29   #9
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Default Re: Driving Lamborghinis at the Buddh International Circuit!

Quote:
Originally Posted by PPS View Post
The Aventador Roadster(launch car) was also present at BIC i believe, why wasn't that taken on the track?
Yes it was present, but I guess it showed up after we left. (We were the very first batch on Friday morning, and the Lambo guys had the track all weekend).

Even if it was present, I don't think it would have been put through its paces on track. Not sure of the exact reason, though I could take a few guesses.

cya
R

Last edited by Rehaan : 26th February 2013 at 19:31.
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Old 26th February 2013, 21:38   #10
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Default Re: Driving Lamborghinis at the Buddh International Circuit!

Rehaan, lucky you!

Just driving on a F1 circuit is a dream and doing that in such exquisite machines is a like cherry on top.

Thanks for the detailed report which took me there virtually.

Loved the observation about the narrow foot-well and the "From now on it was only a question of balancing out “having fun” with “not having a 2.5+ crore debt on my hands”" part!

Last edited by SDP : 26th February 2013 at 21:39.
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Old 27th February 2013, 00:47   #11
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Default Re: Driving Lamborghinis at the Buddh International Circuit!

Holy!! Lucky you, Rehaan. I'm green with envy!

Now that was a surprise.

One could make out difference between the LP550 and LP570 just from your comments in the video. Was a handful, wasn't it?

A suggestion, next time, put a GoPro on the car in front and back to get some external shots.
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Old 27th February 2013, 17:44   #12
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Default Re: Driving Lamborghinis at the Buddh International Circuit!

A suggestion to the Mod team: Please introduce a new "jealous" emoticon and remove the limit of using 2 per post for that. Only then will I be able to express my true feelings .

Some get to drive them on our streets but extracting the true potential of these bulls on a full fledged race track is an experience only a few may enjoy and you are one of those lucky few. Lovely pictures BTW.
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Old 27th February 2013, 18:18   #13
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Default Re: Driving Lamborghinis at the Buddh International Circuit!

Awesome. No no 'LEGEN' wait for it...

Superb narration and jaw dropping snaps. It feels great to be part of this forum and the achievement. Also hats off to Jaypee for giving us the BIC without which such events were only a distant dream. I can't view the video here in office but am dying to hear the bull roar and smoke the nostrils

.. 'DARY'; LEGENDARY

EDIT: Rated a well deserved 5 stars

Last edited by MotoNanu : 27th February 2013 at 18:19. Reason: Rated 5 stars
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Old 27th February 2013, 20:06   #14
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Default Re: Driving Lamborghinis at the Buddh International Circuit!

AWE-S-O-M-E !!! I am speechless. This is an opportunity anyone would kill for ! Loved the camera placement. And the roar of the engine - Exhilarating !

Driver's Pride - Reader's Envy
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Old 28th February 2013, 10:52   #15
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Default Re: Driving Lamborghinis at the Buddh International Circuit!

Fantastic report Rehaan! Was good casual reading and its like I know how different the LP 550 and LP570 feel just from reading your review. I dream of being invited next time round.
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