It’s easy to misunderstand the 2021 Lamborghini Huracán STO. Some might assume this is just another variation, a chance for the company to squeeze more profit from its smallest supercar. So all the rich kids who favor ostentatious displays of wealth and privilege can have the latest toy.
That’s not how the Huracán STO works. It’s a racing car. We all know about Porsche’s
amazing successes in motorsport. Along with Ferrari
Audi, McLaren, and Bentley. But Lamborghini? Wasn’t that the Italian marque with more style than substance? The kind of car typically parked outside the Casino in Monte Carlo or the Ritz Hotel in London?
These days, the spectacular Lamborghini style continues and evolves while the substance has grown to match. This is especially true of the STO. Let’s look into what those letters mean.
They stand for “Super Trofeo Omologata.” Super Trofeo (super trophy) is the one-make racing series in which this version of the Huracán participates. “Omologata” is Italian for “homologation,” referring to a rule that the racing cars must have a street-going equivalent. And not just one example, but a minimum number of cars produced. Lamborghini has yet to reveal how many STO models it intends to build.
To meet the homologation requirements, the Huracán STO has many different components compared with its regular counterpart. More than 75% of its exterior panels are carbon fiber. The front is a large clamshell unit consisting of the fenders and what would be the hood on a conventional car. It makes access easier and quicker when the car is in the pits. A small storage area between the front wheels was designed specifically to fit one crash helmet.
This clamshell also includes many aerodynamic parts, like the low front lip and the louvers that help keep the (standard) carbon-ceramic brake discs cool. Just above it is a thinner-than-normal windshield to help save weight. Further back are redesigned rear fenders, each with a NACA-style duct feeding air into the engine.
Sitting on the low-slung roof is a bespoke air scoop for the mid-mounted engine and a shark fin. This fin maximizes aerodynamics. One function is to make sure air is directed properly over the adjustable rear wing. The wing itself is also specific to the STO.
Instead of aluminum alloy wheels, the STO deploys magnesium rims — a lighter metal, yet just as strong. These wheels measure 20 inches in diameter, 8.5 inches wide up front, and a massive 11 inches wide out back. Bridgestone
Potenza high-performance tires are standard, although buyers may also choose Pirelli
Lamborghini says the STO is 23% lighter and has 53% more downforce than a Huracán Evo. Into this lightweight body, the company then drops a 5.2-liter V10 developing 640 horsepower at a screaming 8,000 rpm and 417 lb-ft of torque at 6,500 rpm. It’s an engine that thrives on revs, is ultra-responsive to throttle inputs, and sounds spine-tinglingly awesome as it’s doing all this.
Standstill to 60 mph happens in a fraction under three seconds. That’s really fast. With the throttle pressed to the carbon-fiber matting (lighter than carpet) and 120 mph comes up in a smidge less than nine seconds, as the driver clicks up through the 7-speed automated transmission with shift paddles mounted beneath the steering wheel, making superfast gear changes in the sportiest Trofeo driving mode. The top speed is 192.6 mph.
It isn’t just about straight-line speed, though. As well as being rear-wheel-drive, with a mechanical limited-slip differential, brake-based torque vectoring and a mid-mounted engine, the Huracán STO also has rear-wheel steering. This arrangement has created a car that corners so sweetly it never stops delivering the thrills. It flows through tight turns, sweeping curves, and minor kinks alike.
Yes, the STO is road-legal, has a user-friendly infotainment system with Bluetooth, automatic air conditioning, LED exterior lighting, heated side mirrors, and the option for an automated nose lifter that’s absolutely crucial when negotiating speed humps and the slight inclines at the entrances to gas stations. For a car so focused on the business of going seriously fast, the Huracán STO can be wonderfully civilized.
That helmet-sized storage space is there for a reason, though. All the speed, agility, and downforce make this car amazing on the track. Drivers can monitor things like tire pressures and brake temperatures on the infotainment display.
An optional track performance recorder allows drivers to record their laps on video and download them to their smartphones with all the accompanying telemetry. This can be added after purchasing the car, if the buyer wants.
This brings us to the subject of money. There’s a well-worn joke about how to make a small fortune in motor racing — start with a large fortune. And the 2021 Huracán STO does cost a small fortune. Its price before options, destination charges, etc. is $327,838.
Options are pricey. A fire extinguisher costs $700. Our test example had several other extras, such as sport front seats with carbon-fiber shells (extremely supportive through fast corners, yet still comfortable in their own way), a special livery, and the nose lifting system. It came to $442,033.
At this nexus of engineering, power, ability, exotic materials, and arguably gorgeous styling, the Huracán STO was never going to be a bargain. But it is undeniably, breathtakingly special. Not many other cars can clip an apex with such precision yet still look right parked outside the Ritz.
This story originally ran on Autotrader.com.