Lamborghini Huracan GT3 racer unveiled [w/video]

WORLD PREMIERE OF LAMBORGHINI HURACÁN GT3 BY AUTOMOBILI LAMBORGHINI

Sant’Agata Bolognese, 21 January 2015. Automobili Lamborghini has presented the new Lamborghini Huracán GT3, in a world premiere at its headquarters in Sant’Agata Bolognese. The unveiling ceremony was carried out in the presence of media, customers and partners from around the world.

The GT3 competitor makes its debut following that of the new Huracán LP 620-2 Super Trofeo, which will be the protagonist of the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo in Europe, Asia and North America from this year.

Starting in 2015, the Huracán GT3 will line up in the Blancpain Endurance Series that runs over five venues in Europe, among which is included the famous Spa-Francorchamps 24-hours race.

The growth and success of Lamborghini motorsports activities throughout the world has heightened its appeal to partners: the prestigious Indonesian oil and energy petroleum company PERTAMINA will be the official technical partner of Lamborghini Squadra Corse activities in the coming years.

”With the Huracán GT3, Lamborghini Squadra Corse takes a further step forward in the development and production of a race car for this category, which is among the most prestigious and challenging in international motorsport. Lamborghini is thus for the first time directly involved in GT motorsport activities with the in-house development of this new model,” declared Stephan Winkelmann, President and CEO of Automobili Lamborghini. ”We are proud and delighted to announce the new partnership with PERTAMINA, which will further support our motorsport activities.”

“We are proud to be the partner of Automobili Lamborghini as one of the world’s most prestigious super sports car marques. This cooperation confirms PERTAMINA’s position as the technology partner of Lamborghini Squadra Corse, connected to our vision of becoming a World Class Energy Company with the mission to expand our market globally,” said Ahmad Bambang, Marketing Director of PERTAMINA.

The Lamborghini Huracán GT3 is equipped with an Alu-Carbon chassis and a fully integrated FIA-compliant roll-cage. The subframe has been modified both at the front and rear to accommodate a high performance water radiator (front), and for a better positioning of the gearbox (rear), improving aerodynamics. The kerb weight is 1239 Kg with a 42/58 front/rear weight distribution. The final weight will be set by the FIA BOP.

The bodywork is in composite materials and, along with the aerodynamics, has been developed in collaboration with Dallara Engineering with the direct involvement of the founder Gian Paolo Dallara. Aerodynamics have been tuned to grant the best possible air flow penetration, and maximum adherence and traction in any condition on any asphalt. Efficiency has been improved thanks to the rear adjustable wing, adjustable front diffuser and louvres. The new aerodynamics also allow improved cooling of the braking system.

As for the Huracán Super Trofeo, the GT3 is equipped with new bodywork fast- fittings and equipped with a new, enhanced-performing engine and gearbox oil cooler.

Special attention has been given to safety, with the new Lamborghini Huracán GT3 equipped with a carbon frame 8862 specification seat; an OMP fire extinguishing system; and an innovative roof hatch which enables, in case of need, quick assistance by medical personnel through the roof of the car. Seat belts are provided by OMP, the fuel tank is an FT3 type and the pedals are adjustable.

Front and rear lights are LED. The new multifunction steering wheel has been re-engineered along with OMP.

The new rear-wheel drive Huracán GT3 adopts the V10 direct injection engine mounted on the road car, managed by a Bosch Motorsport control unit that also manages traction control, gearbox and the TFT display on the dashboard. All wiring and connectors are designed specifically for racing. The engine is fixed on the chassis by rigid mountings and is coupled with a sequential six-speed gearbox, according to FIA regulations, and a three-disc racing clutch.

The braking system is made up by 380 x 34 mm steel discs at the front (6 pot), and 355 x 32mm steel discs at the back (4 pot), according to FIA regulations, equipped with Bosch ABS. This system features 12 different settings that can be actioned directly from the steering wheel, as can traction control. The tyre sizes are 315/680 at the front and 325/705 at the back. The car is equipped with a pneumatic lifting system.

In Europe, the Huracán GT3 is priced at 369,000 Euro (excluding taxes) ex works.

Lamborghini’s newest raging bull race car has already made its track debut in development tests in recent months, under the supervision of head of motorsport Giorgio Sanna. ”The first GT3 car from Lamborghini will allow talented young drivers the opportunity to contest a Lamborghini in competitions such as the challenging 2015 Blancpain Endurance Series. This season will be an important one for us to gather experience from a category as demanding as GT3, but at the same time we are offering a competitive product to our customers. It will be a busy year, as the Huracán LP 620-2 Super Trofeo will also debut in our Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo series in Europe, USA and Asia.”

Grasser Racing Team will line up two new Huracán GT3s in the 2015 Blancpain Endurance Series. The Austrian team – 2013 Blancpain Sprint Series Pro-Am Champion and third in the 2014 Pro Class – will field the two official test drivers of Lamborghini Squadra Corse: Fabio Babini (ITA) and Adrian Zaugg (RSA) now promoted to factory drivers, and the Italian Mirko Bortolotti who impressed in the 2014 Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo Europe.

Working alongside them will be three young talents from Lamborghini’s Young Drivers Program: Giovanni Venturini (ITA), Jeroen Mul (NED) and Andrew Palmer (USA). All three have been promoted to the Lamborghini Squadra Corse GT3 Junior Team. This new program features a step up from the Young Drivers Program, with the aim of selecting the best talents to be involved in testing sessions and GT3 racing.

The Italian Edoardo Piscopo and the Serbian Milos Pavlovic have also been promoted to official test drivers for Lamborghini Squadra Corse. Winners of both the 2014 PRO Class in the European Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo and the World Final, they will be in charge of the GT3 car’s development across the world.

THE 2015 BLANCPAIN ENDURANCE SERIES CALENDAR

11-12 April Monza, ITA
23-24 May Silverstone, GBR
19-20 June Paul Ricard, FRA
23-26 July Spa-Francorchamps (24 Ore), BEL
19-20 September Nürburgring, GER

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Leno hops behind the wheel of Adam Carolla’s 1968 Lamborghini Islero

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Leno hops behind the wheel of Adam Carolla’s 1968 Lamborghini Islero

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Harry Metcalfe shows off his Lamborghini Countach

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Super-rare Lamborghini Miura SV Jota promises to break records

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The best cars we drove this year




Steven J. Ewing

Six hundred and fifty. That’s roughly how many cars pass through the hands of Autoblog editors every year, from the vehicles we test here at home, to the cars we drive on new product launches, testing roundups, long-term cars, and so on. Of course, our individual numbers vary due to several reasons, but at the end of the day, our team’s repertoire of automotive experience is indeed vast. But let’s be honest, some cars certainly stand out more than others.

So as the year’s about to turn, and as we’re readying brand-new daily cat calendars for our cubicles, our editors are all taking time to reflect on the machinery that made this year so special, with one simple, open-ended question as the guide – a question that we’re asked quite frequently, from friends, family, colleagues, and more.

“What’s the best car you drove this year?”


Lamborghini Huracán

 The best cars we drove this year

When I review the list of everything I drove in 2014, picking an absolute favorite becomes almost impossible. I mean, how does one delineate between the joy offered by cars as different as the Alfa Romeo 4C, Volkswagen Golf R, Mercedes-AMG GT S and even the humble-yet-wonderful Chevy Colorado?

Okay fine, I’ll just pick the Lamborghini.

I drove the Lamborghini Huracán LP 610-4 on a racetrack, in the mountains, and along southern coast of Spain. It felt like the king of the car jungle in all of those places, sucking the eyeballs of observers nearly out of their heads as it drove by, and almost melting my brain with its cocktail of speed and grip and intense communication.

It feels a little easy to say that the one new supercar I drove this year was also my favorite, but the fact is that the Huracán is one of the finest cars I’ve driven during my career, let alone 2014. Judge me if you must.


Rolls-Royce Wraith

001 2015 rolls royce wraith The best cars we drove this year

There are a couple of ways to look at the question, “What’s the best car you drove this year?” In terms of what was so good I’d go out and buy one tomorrow, that’d be my all-time sweetheart, the Volkswagen GTI. Or if I’m just talking about sheer cool-factor, maybe something like the Galpin GTR1, BMW i8, or Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG. But instead, I’m going to write about the sheer opulence of being the best of the best. The hand-crafted, holier-than-thou, shut-your-mouth-when-I’m-talking-to-you supremacy. I’m picking the Rolls-Royce Wraith.

I drove the Wraith for a week in April, and was really, really impressed. This car does everything, perfectly. It handles city streets with poise and grace, it glides down highways (with that special Rolls-Royce waft) without a sound or an issue, and it’s actually a pretty good driver’s car, all things considered. To call it comfortable is a foolish understatement, and to call it nicely equipped is like calling the Sistine Chapel “a pretty neat painting.” It has lambswool carpets, LEDs in the headliner to bring the night sky into the car, doors that shut themselves, and it’s all put together in perhaps one of the finest packages ever built. The fit-and-finish is better than any car I’ve ever sat in – ever. Oh, and even its name is super cool.

The Rolls-Royce Wraith does everything. And in the $300,000 space, it should. But the price isn’t the point here. It’s about a car that was first and foremost crafted to be the absolute best at what it does. There are zero compromises here, and the end result is a car I won’t quickly forget.


Volkswagen GTI

 The best cars we drove this year

It’d be easy to say that the best car I drove this year was something ultra posh, exotic, or stupendously powerful. I’ve been fortunate enough that there were plenty of vehicles that fit those descriptors in my driveway this year, and I’m tempted to lean on some of them here, but I’m not going to.

Given the cornucopia of performance and lux on offer, picking the Volkswagen GTI may seem like I’m eating humble pie, but that’s hardly the case – this VW is a savory and satisfying dish. Not only is it the best sort of workaday transportation, it’s more entertaining to drive – and more exploitable on a daily basis – than many cars with a multiple of its modest 220-horsepower top specification.

The GTI’s handling is sweet; its powertrain flexible; its cabin simple, robust and well laid out, and it’s got enough cargo room to make it an able partner for nearly every use. It’s an honest, affordable piece of work for most drivers and a powerful and enjoyable tool in the hands of the enthusiast.

I’m even starting to get over my longstanding heebie-jeebies about VW quality and reliability, and that, friends, is really saying something.


BMW i8

01 2015 bmw i8 fd 1 The best cars we drove this year

I’m not the only one on staff who really loved the BMW i8. Of all the cars I drove this year, this one attracted the most attention. Literally a head-turning vehicle. As we pointed out in a story in October, this car attracted crowds in parking lots. It feels like something out of a movie, a cross between Tron and Back to the Future. It’s got lightweight carbon construction, a through-the-road hybrid system, and some cool-ass doors.

A couple of people I chatted with (in a Walgreen’s parking lot in northern Michigan) looked disappointed when I told them it was a hybrid. But the electric motor gives it instantaneous torque, so when you hit the ‘gas’ pedal this car is ready to fly. Like a spaceship or something. When we ever get those flying cars we’ve been promised, they’ll probably look something like the i8.

It’s also pretty expensive, topping $140,000. But that’s what makes being in this industry so cool – getting to drive things I’d never actually be able to afford. Everyone at Autoblog geeked out over this car, so much so that we named it our 2014 Technology of the Year.


Jaguar F-Type V6 S Coupe

 The best cars we drove this year

I’ve only ever driven a few cars that I would, without a single complaint, drive every single day for the rest of my life. The 2013 Ford Mustang Boss 302 is one. The Range Rover Sport Supercharged is another. And the 2015 Jaguar F-Type V6 S Coupe is the most recent. It’s that good. I could write a whole lot on what’s so great about the F-Type, but I’ll limit it to just two items – the sound and the looks.

You might think that if you want the best sounding F-Type, you need the 5.0-liter, supercharged V8. You’re so, so wrong. While the F-Type R sounds wonderful, the V6 S delivers a far richer and more interesting exhaust note. It belches angrily on wide-open-throttle upshifts and cackles and snaps on the overrun. It is simply addicting.

The best-looking vehicle I’ve ever seen is the Series I Jaguar E-Type. Considering the F-Type so happily cribs that car’s looks, you can imagine how I rank the classic’s spiritual successor. The Coupe is quite simply stunning, but it’s best quality is that, especially in British Racing Green, it’s not a shouty vehicle. It’s anonymous to the average passerby, while those in the know will do nothing but stare at its meaty haunches. I absolutely adore it.


Pagani Huayra

 The best cars we drove this year

This year has been a great year for me in regards to cars I’ve driven, from the BMW i8, to the new Mustang and the Challenger Hellcat, but hands down the best car I drove in 2014 was the Pagani Huayra. With only a dozen or so of these cars in the US, most people never get to lay their eyes on one of these hypercars, but I was lucky enough to drive it in the Southern California desert in July. The whoosh of the turbos, thrust of the 12-cylinder engine, and the terror of being in the driver’s seat of a $1.84-million vehicle was something I may never again experience in my lifetime.


Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat

01 2015 dodge challenger srt hellcat fd opt 1 2 The best cars we drove this year

Like many of us, I’m fortunate to say that I’ve driven some awesome cars this year, but the one that sticks out the most is the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat. It narrowly beats out the BMW i8, for me, anyway. The reasons? Well, the simple acts of depressing the heavy clutch, gripping the shifter and then mashing the throttle produces feelings-and sounds-unlike any other car I have driven recently. I was also among the first to drive the Challenger Hellcat on public roads before it was on sale, and it really was like being a rock star. People were in awe of this thing, and I had it at the Woodward Dream Cruise, where there’s a lot of cool metal.

The i8 is awesome, too, in every way. It looks like a spaceship, and people were just as entranced by it. But at the end of the day, it’s more fun to drive 707 horsepower in something called the Hellcat than it is to drive a hybrid.


Jaguar XFR-S Sportbrake

 The best cars we drove this year

This year I was privileged to drive a wide array of machinery, from nippy city cars and sizzling hot hatches to a diesel luxury sedan and pickup truck, and even a few pre-production prototypes. But if I had to pick one that stood out above all the others, it surely was the Jaguar XFR-S Sportbrake.

Sadly unavailable (in wagon form at least) in North America – and otherwise available only with a diesel even in Europe – the XFR-S Sportbrake is everything an enthusiast could ask for: a 542-horsepower supercharged V8 and all the upgrades that go along with it, from the beefier suspension, rolling stock and brakes to the aero and interior enhancements. But it also packs all the cargo space you’d want in a crossover or SUV, without the added bulk. Think of it as a Mercedes E63 AMG Wagon or an Audi RS6 Avant, but without the turbo lag and all-wheel drive.

Of course the location at which I drove it didn’t hurt, either. The Nürburgring Norschleife has what it takes to unveil the flaws in any chassis, but heavy as it is, the XFR-S Sportbrake didn’t miss a beat – even compared to the lighter XJR, F-Type R and XFR-S sedan with which we alternated between hot laps of the most vaunted racing circuit ever devised.


BMW i3

 The best cars we drove this year

It was with trepidation that I initially approached the BMW i3. You see, I was immediately attracted to its overall look and design – I like a traditional BMW just as much as the next auto journalist, but I’m also not so tied up in traditionalism that I can’t appreciate when a company goes in a completely new direction, so long as that direction has specific intent and rational thought behind it. The BMW i3 has these in spades, but what I wasn’t sure before driving it was whether or not it was as rewarding to drive as it was to ponder.

I was pleased to find that, if not fun to drive, the BMW i3 is at the very least fulfilling. The model I piloted was equipped with the range-extended engine, and that’s the way I’d spec an i3 if I were to park one in my driveway. The vast majority of the time, my wife and I would run on pure electric power, but for those times when we need our only car to take us a hundred miles away, it’s not out of the question.

The BMW i3 I drove took part in a drive, along with a number of other cars and trucks, that was a few hundred miles in length, and, just like all the more traditionally powered vehicles it was included with, it arrived at its final destination, and was then driven back a few days later. It’s certainly not a perfect vehicle, but its execution is good enough that I consider it the best car I drove this year, due mainly to the fact that it’s capable of doing things most other eco-friendly cars can’t, and it does so with style.

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Man recycles a Lamborghini V12, uses it to make a motorcycle

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$1.3B worth of classic cars were auctioned in 2014

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