Still caught up in the excitement of our arrival the night before, we eagerly welcome the dawn of a splendid morning in Porto Cesareo, nestled gracefully at the heel of Italy. Puglia’s climate, akin to Dubai’s, blankets us in December with its sunny, fresh and warm embrace. Whispers of history reveal that the name traces its roots to “Torre Cesarea,” a watchtower erected in 1548, standing stoically to this day. The allure of Porto Cesareo lies in its coastal charm. It is a region steeped in the legacy of the Bronze Age, hosting the likes of Greeks, Romans, Byzantines and Normans throughout the ages. Much like the rest of southern Italy, this coastal haven boasts pristine beaches and crystalline waters. It transforms into a summer sanctuary for tourists. Yet, in winter, it metamorphoses into an enchanting, sleepy coastal town, paving the way for empty roads that beckon eager drivers.
Lamborghini Huracán Sterrato
While the prospect of basking in winter sunshine and exploring the local sights sounds enticing, destiny has a different plan. Our mission: to test-drive the Lamborghini Huracán Sterrato. This car has captivated headlines since its grand debut as a concept at the 2019 Geneva International Motor Show. With a limited count of 1,499, this automotive masterpiece has transitioned from a dream to a tangible reality.
The gente gentili at Lamborghini usher us into an extraordinary day at the prestigious Nardò Technical Center, a revered sanctuary in the world of high-speed test tracks and automotive proving grounds. Renowned for its circular track and off-roading, the facility attracts a myriad of marques seeking to refine their vehicles. A perfect stage for the Lamborghini Huracán Sterrato. After navigating security measures rivaling the White House, we find ourselves in the Lamborghini paddock, savoring an espresso and receiving a brisk briefing before venturing onto the circuit.
The Lamborghini Huracán Sterrato proudly marks the culmination of a mighty range, launched nearly a decade ago in 2014. Over the years, Sant’Agata’s artisans have crafted remarkable variants. With the Sterrato, they aim to bid adieu with a resounding crescendo. Underneath its hood lies the heartthrob: a magnificent, naturally aspirated 5.2-liter V-10 engine. It boasts 610 horsepower and 640 N.m of torque (LP610-4). A symphony of power that might even impress the late and great Luciano.
At its core, the Sterrato is not just a supercar. It’s a chameleon, effortlessly transforming into a rally car with a mere flick of a button. Rally lights adorn its exterior, ready to illuminate dusty trails and contribute to its charismatic persona. A discerning eye will catch the raised height, now boasting 44mm more ground clearance than its Huracán Evo counterpart. Reinforced side fenders widen the car by 30mm on both ends, complemented by bespoke Bridgestone Dueler AT002 all-terrain tires to conquer any terrain. Full-length skirting provides an additional layer of protection during off-road escapades. Meanwhile, the redesigned engine cover at the rear exudes aggressive yet stylish vibes. The reinforced roof is prepared to carry an extra 50kg, whether it be a spare tire or a chic ski rack for the slopes of Cortina d’Ampezzo.
Ordinarily, other Huracáns draw cooling air from vents above the rear wheels. However, Lamborghini engineers, ever ingenious, discovered that dust and dirt could impede airflow and diminish power. Their solution? A rooftop intake that resembles a periscope, ensuring seamless air intake and maintaining Lamborghini Huracán Sterrato’s uncompromised power.
Embarking on the track, I settled into the passenger seat alongside the Squadra Corse instructor. Before relinquishing control, he spiritedly navigated the Huracán Sterrato through a series of invigorating laps on the challenging Nardò off-road circuit. My internal mantra echoed, “I am not doing what he is doing.” Not only am I no match for his driving prowess, but the mere thought of attempting such feats left me envisioning a third-corner spin-out, potentially tarnishing both the car and my ego. However, taking the wheel was a revelation.
System and design
Thanks to the revamped LDVI system (Lamborghini Integrated Vehicle Dynamics), the Huracán Sterrato introduced a specially calibrated Rally mode for dirt, loose surfaces and snow. This setting enhanced all-wheel-drive power delivery, coupled with an adaptive suspension offering spot-on traction. The dampers, softer than their counterparts in the Huracán range, and a more lenient stability control system resulted in an off-road supercar that proved surprisingly easy to control. Despite lacking the skills of Sébastien Loeb, I found myself effortlessly drifting and sliding around corners, relishing what could easily be dubbed the most enjoyable track day of my life.
Post-track exploits, with the sun gracefully descending into the Ionian Sea, we embarked on a leisurely drive in the Lamborghini Huracán Sterrato along the serene coastal roads. Reveling not only in breathtaking scenery but also reaffirming the Sterrato’s silky ride on the infamous southern Italian tarmac. While exact speeds remain a secret, whether on winding coastal lanes or navigating narrow town roads, the Huracán Sterrato’s ride quality proved to be nothing short of seamless sailing.
As we passed the rare residents of Porto Cesareo, each encounter brought forth a salute. A gesture not just to the driver but to the Golden Bull emblematic of so much for Italy, particularly in its 60th year.
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