When we think of exotic supercars, including Lamborghinis, many of us may associate them with the lifestyles of celebrities and the very rich. We may think that these cars are rarely driven hard (as they were meant to be driven) and, instead, are mostly seen parked in high visibility, preferred valet parking spaces directly in front of exclusive hotels and expensive restaurants.
Automobili Lamborghini is changing that perception, both in the minds of the general public and also among those who already drive or who may be considering Lamborghini automobiles. To learn more, AutoMatters sat down and talked with Pete Macfarlane of Vivacity (“Serious Brand Entertainment”) at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana.
Through structured and well run Lamborghini driving events, drivers are progressively taught how to responsibly enjoy their thoroughbred supercars. Think of it like a pyramid. At the base you have “Esperienza,” which is where potential customers come in, try out the cars and get introductory instruction on a racetrack from Lamborghini drivers in the Aventador and Gallardo road cars.
The next level up is what they call “The Academy.” That is for those who are thinking about racing Lamborghinis, and getting more involved with the brand and the cars. Typically drivers participate in a two-day event where they are taught car control and push the cars to their limits. That might be on a racetrack, or on ice in Colorado where they can learn about taking advantage of the cars’ four-wheel-drive capabilities.
At the top of the pyramid is the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo Series, sanctioned by IMSA. Billed as “the world’s fastest one-make series,” “gentlemen racers” and experienced professional race drivers compete on some of the most famous, iconic racetracks in the world. Their Lamborghini is a lightweight, four-wheel-drive version of the Gallardo LP 570-4 with 570 horsepower.
Each race weekend consists of two fifty-minute races. There is no refueling but, depending on the nature of the particular tracks, there may be tire changes.
There are two classes: an amateur class for the gentlemen racers and a professional class. They race on the track at the same time.
Drivers may enter individually or in teams of two, so if you and your buddy wanted to go racing, you could share the cost of the car and the expenses of the race weekends. To facilitate this, during each race there is a mandatory 45-second pit stop. That provides sufficient time for the two-driver teams to complete a driver change. It is likely that in 2014 one of the team’s drivers might be a gentleman racer and the other a professional.
This increasingly popular, worldwide racing series was launched in Europe in 2009. Drivers there race wheel-to-wheel on such legendary tracks as Spa-Francorchamps, Monza, Silverstone, Paul Ricard, Hockenheim and the Nürburgring.
In 2012 the series expanded into Asia. Venues have included Shanghai, Macau and Fuji International Speedway, with race teams from Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and Japan.
2013 marked the series’ debut in North America, with events at Lime Rock, Kansas City, Calaboogie (Canada), Virginia International Raceway and the season finale at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. This double-header was held in conjunction with the IndyCar season finale.