Friday, June 5, 2009
The real protagonist of the racing weekend was another Italian sportscar manufacturer though, or at least it should have been.
Lamborghini came to Adria with a complete army of Gallardos and it was quite impressive.
Apart from the 16 SuperTrofeos, one of them being the test car for VIP's laps, and probably a spare in case something went wrong in the first two races, there were more than 5 Gallardos LP560, a Reventòn, Winkelmann (CEO) himself, a huge hospitality styled after a military camp, and semis for the race cars, gadgets of all the sorts, historical tester Valentino Balboni, cars from Reiter Engineering (basically their unofficial racing arm) and much more.
At the end of the day though, they didn't impressed.
Now, you may remember I'm not really a Lamborghini fan, but even trying to be objective, I couldn't be involved in their party.
The SuperTrofeo races weren't interesting to watch at even if there were 30 cars instead of 15. It wasn't just a matter of the gentlemen drivers not being really into motorsports, even if I guess that even a couple of ours playing Gran Turismo or your favorite racing simulator would have helped them so much, but they weren't even driving recklessly but quite playing it safe.
Later during the afternoon I knew I was somehow right.
Unofficially, only 5 of the 15 cars were actually sold to the drivers racing them. Of the remaining 10, one was in the hands of their official tester Sanna, while the other 9 were rented for free to potential customers, or owners of road going Lamborghins, to see if they could have been convinced to purchase the new Sant' Agata's toy.
Coming at 200.000 € plus taxes (so 240.000 € in Italy) it's a bit expensive for a new entry, especially when Ferrari si organizing its famous Challenge trophies all around the world since the 348s. Or even considering the Maserati GranTurismo MC Trofeo should cost around 150.000 €.
Lamborghini itself sells a third of the cars sold every year by Ferrari, so that means less customers too.
Probably they thought that with all the F430s raced by Ferrari customers, they would have succeeded with just 15 or 20 cars. Apparently it's more difficult than that, maybe it has something to do with the economical situation we are going trough, or simply with the fact they need to be recognized as a racing brand.
Unfortunately for them their recent efforts in the GT3 championships never payed back from 2006 to 2008, with championships going to 911 GT3, F430 Challenge and Corvette Z06 drivers in the three years, with winning team using 911 GT3s, Corvette Z06s and Ford GTs in the respective years.
In the even more tough GT1 championships they scored only one victory since the debut in 2004, precisely at the 2007 Zhuhai (PRC) round, after a quite strange race.
Both the Murcielago GT1 and the Gallardo GT3 were run and developed by partner Reiter Engineering.
All of this should justify their massive presence at Adria, but the feeling I got was that of a huge ad campaign, the racing part was a bit missing.
Like, there was a lot of smoke, but no burgers on the gril, as an Italian adage says.
We'll see how that it grows, let's give them some time.
The VIP laps were obviously a part of the same game. There were three cars for that, two LP560/4 and a SuperTrofeo, probably for customers who didn't wanted to take part to the race or asked for it too late.
The race car lapped only a couple of time, not a bit success, neither really interesting to watch as they were driving like a 18 years old (here you can get the license at 18) driving for the first time with mom and dad in the car.
The two Gallardos were a bit more exiting, if not for a simple reason: they were different.
Every lap the driver was different, still the whiter one (the other being pearl, sort of) was always powersliding after the corner where I was standing, while the other was much more “stable”.
Obviously those cars weren't grabbed from the production line so that a couple of maybe-future-customers could trash them on track, they were more likely company's car, if not test cars. But I'm pretty sure the setup was different, and I can only wonder if it was done on purpose, perhaps with the tail-happier one for more experienced or more probably future customers, and the other for beginners or not really convinced gentlemen.
I don't now if the “sport” mode available on the car is enough for such a change regardless of who is driving it.
Again, it was a bit hilarious that the first power oversteering of the day came from a road going car, yet my friend was sleeping...
Other than that, I think the Reventòn is worth a dedicated post, so that's all for now.
Enjoy the shots of some Reiter's cars too. Not exactly what I'd call tasteful, especially the Murcielago with the falling side indicator...
All images Copyright: Damiano Garro