It doesn’t take but a minute behind the wheel of the all-new 2022 Lamborghini Huracán STO to figure out what’s going on – the Italian automaker is offering a $327,000 street-legal race car to the public. This low-slung, arrow-shaped, carbon fiber-bodied, V10-powered, two-seat supercar has been engineered and configured to effortlessly blast around racing circuits at triple-digit speeds. The fact that it may be registered for road use and wears a state-issued license plate is almost comical.
Yet you won’t hear me complain, as I am currently seated in its cockpit hurling down the front straight of Southern California’s famed Willow Springs Raceway at 153 mph – these velocities require race-capable equipment, and thankfully, the Huracán Super Trofeo Omologata (or ‘STO’) is well up to the task.
The first Lamborghini Huracán made its global debut at the 2014 Geneva Auto Show. The all-new replacement to the best-selling Gallardo boasted a naturally-aspirated, 5.2-liter, V10 engine mid-mounted in a lightweight chassis. Low-slung and with sharp angular styling, it was unmistaken as anything but a Lamborghini – the two-seater was a hit nearly immediately.
Automobili Lamborghini followed the original Huracán LP 610-4 (offered in Coupé and drop-top Spyder body styles) with performance-tuned Performanté and updated Evo models. Special Edition streets models were offered, and the automaker simultaneously competed in the upper echelons of motorsports with homologated race variants.
The new STO represents the culmination – a zenith and an amalgamation – of the Huracán model. The company defines the STO as, “…a road-homologated super sports car inspired by the racing heritage of Lamborghini Squadra Corse’s one-make race series with Huracán Super Trofeo EVO, as well as its three-time 24 Hours of Daytona-winning and two-time 12 Hours of Sebring-winning Huracán GT3 EVO.” In layman’s terms, the all-new Huracán STO represents one of the final derivatives of the Huracán platform (an all-new model will be likely be announced next year) and a near-perfect blend of street and race car technology.
Drawing from motorsports, the STO pushes the envelope in terms of aerodynamics. Low drag was paramount, but so was downforce. The front bonnet, fenders, and front bumper are now one piece (aka “confango”) – paying homage to the 1966 Lamborghini Miura. This design lowers mass, eases service, and maximizes airflow through ducting and louvers on the front fenders. It also features a unique front splitter. The rear of the Coupé features a NACA air intake, air scoops for cooling, and an integrated dorsal “shark fin” to improve yaw stability. Other aerodynamic tricks include an adjustable single slotted (double airfoil) rear wing and dedicated front brake cooling ducts. As a result, the Huracán STO boasts the highest level of downforce in its class – a full 53 percent increase over the already impressive Huracán Performanté.
To reduce mass, more than 75 percent of the STO’s exterior panels are crafted from lightweight carbon fiber. The rear fenders are manufactured with a unique carbon fiber “sandwich” utilizing aerospace technology, and the front windshield is a special glass that is 20 percent thinner to lower weight. Instead of forged aluminum, Lamborghini uses even lighter forged magnesium wheels. As a result of this hyper-focused attention on reducing mass, the curb weight of the STO is about 3,300 pounds – it is one of the lightest on the road.
Mid-mounted in the two-seater’s chassis is Lamborghini’s celebrated 5.2-liter V10, rated to 640 hp and 417 lb-ft of torque, that spins up to a stratospheric 8,500 rpm redline. Computers adjust the engine responsiveness, and other driving dynamics, via a three-mode ANIMA toggle that controls the Lamborghini Veicolo Dinamica Integrata (LDVI) vehicle dynamics system. In the default setting (“STO”), the vehicle is configured for street use. The track setting (“Trofeo”) maximizes performance through dedicated torque vectoring and traction control modulation, while the wet setting (“Pioggia”) ensures optimized grip on wet surfaces.
Other mechanical upgrades to the STO include a widened wheel track, firmer suspension bushings, and unique roll bars. The damper system – MagneRide 2.0 – uses electromagnetic control to optimize stiffness. And the brakes use an advanced variant of the carbon-ceramic rotor, which is called Brembo CCM-R, to provide four times the thermal capacity of their traditional counterparts. Lamborghini has even fitted the vehicle with specially engineered tires from Bridgestone that are offered in two unique compounds (one for the road and the other for the track).
The Huracán STO’s interior is equally mission focused. Gone are most of the soft luxury touches, instead replaced with lightweight carbon fiber, Alcantara synthetic, or Lamborghini’s durable Carbonskin. The carbon-fiber bucket seats, which hold occupants in place like a steel vice, are form-fitting and thin, yet still much more comfortable than those offered by others in the segment – credit Lamborghini for offering sensible seat adjustment settings. Lastly, the Human Machine Interface (HMI) graphics are updated and enhanced to feed the driver performance-related information such as tire pressure, brake temperatures, and a flood of racing data (while some of the information is invaluable while at speed, much of the data is best saved for digestion after the checkered flag).
This brings me back to 153 mph and the looming left turn that is filling the windshield…
Velocities like this aren’t an issue for a vehicle bred on the track. My left hand pulls the column-mounted paddle twice and the STO’s 7-speed gearbox drops instantaneously from 5th to 3rd gear. I simultaneously mash the brake pedal to slow 70 mph, which upsets the Lamborghini a bit – the track surface at Willow Springs is poorly kept – so I make a minor course correction before the hard left turn.
MagneRide 2.0 is magical, and it works with the specially-developed Bridgestone tires like a dynamic duo – there isn’t so much of a hint of body roll or wallowing as the STO hooks firmly with the pavement and hunkers down in the bend. And nothing changes around Turn 2, a long challenging sweeper that tests the limit of cornering adhesion – I run out of nerves before the Lamborghini runs out of grip.
The top of Willow Spring’s Horseshoe, named because of the odd shape of the corner, challenges turn-in and agility. Thanks to a low center of gravity, and the balance of a mid-mounted engine, the Huracán pivots on command – there is no observable understeer, just balance, as the front tires bite and the vehicle transitions. I mash the throttle, again arousing the V10, and it blasts me down the hill towards the back straight.
Foot to the floor, the V10 wails with anger as 640 horsepower presses me hard into the seat. The audio track of the engine as it approaches redline is deafening – the sound drowns out all other noises within hundreds of feet. I’m positioned only inches in front of the combustion powerplant, my head snug within a thickly padded helmet, and I can’t even hear myself think. The experience is astonishingly visceral.
A glance at the digital speedometer – part of the advanced instrument cluster that could double as a space-age video game – reveals that I am back up to 120 mph, which is too fast to enter Turn 8. I gently tap the brakes and settle the nose before aiming the EVO for the middle of the track. The racing circuit is uncomfortably bumpy, but it doesn’t upset the Lamborghini. Instead, the coupe’s aerodynamic downforce keeps it planted as it tracks methodically over the undulating surface – bouncing firmly over the bumps.
Willow Springs rewards vehicles that kiss the apex out of Turn 9 with extraordinary high speeds down the front straight – the maneuver requires judiciously pulling the Lamborghini into the decreasing radius turn as the g-forces increase. Losing traction here is particularly dangerous, but the STO doesn’t waver from the racing line. With the V10 at full boil, the Huracán STO clips it perfectly and I am launched towards another lap.
Back in the pits, I climb out and take a few steps back. The warm desert sun is dropping on the horizon and the golden light is hitting the angular blue and orange bodywork just perfectly. I am absorbed by the Lamborghini, which is leaving me a bit speechless. It is at that point I realize that the Huracán STO is none other than a childhood dream come true – it is a youngster’s Matchbox car come to life.
All Huracán variants are wonderful exotic cars, but the STO – a track-ready superstar – turns everything up to afterburner levels. The experience of driving the Huracán STO is utterly thrilling – it’s a rush that gets your heart pumping, your adrenaline flowing, and it leaves you with sweaty palms. Words such as ‘quiet’ and ‘relaxed’ don’t exist in the STO’s vocabulary because it is immediate and in-your-face.
The 2022 Lamborghini Huracán STO is everything but restrained. And that is precisely what today’s grown-up driving enthusiast – the former child who raced Matchbox cars down the vinyl track – needs to satisfy their lifelong dreams.