Is it attainable to develop bored of Lamborghini’s street-legal lineup? We might doubt it, however the very existence of the Essenza SCV12 suggests there are a minimum of some ultrarich thrill seekers who cannot discover sufficiently spiky adrenaline highs from these fashions that wear license plates.
The Essenza is just not a street automobile and is produced by Lamborghini’s motorsport division. However neither is it a race automobile, as a result of consumers won’t be able to compete in it. Like Ferrari’s FXX offerings, it’s a track-only particular that gives the possibility to expertise efficiency past that of the manufacturing unit Huracán GT3, in addition to participate in a sequence of particular Essenza-only observe days at circuits all over the world. We gate-crashed the primary of those, held on the Vallelunga Circuit close to Rome in baking summer season warmth, to expertise what life on the sharp finish of the 1 p.c seems like.
Not more than 40 Essenzas shall be constructed—every carrying a base value of about $2.6 million—and Lamborghini says the primary 10 have already been delivered to clients. The automobile I bought to drive at Vallelunga was a hard-working prototype, sporting an orange-and-black disguise wrap bearing the totally superfluous warning “Attenzione: Macchina Veloce,” or “Warning: Quick Automotive.” However mechanically it was close to an identical to the far-nicer-looking privately owned vehicles that have been additionally on observe.
Assembly the Essenza for the primary time in a pit storage with its entrance and rear clamshells eliminated reveals its competitors pedigree. It shares a few of its underbody construction with the Aventador, however extra so with the Tremendous Trofeo and GT3 racers, with multi-adjustable dampers, huge cooling ducts, and even integral air jacks to carry all corners without delay. The carbon-fiber monocoque has been strengthened to satisfy the requirements of the FIA’s hypercar race class with out utilizing a separate roll cage. Confusingly, there are not any plans to take the SCV12 racing, though Lamborghini admits a few of the technical classes could also be built-in right into a next-generation Le Mans Daytona prototype race automobile when the LMDh (Le Mans Daytona hybrid) class debuts globally for IMSA and WEC in 2023.
The Essenza is powered by a model of Lamborghini’s long-serving 6.5-liter naturally aspirated V-12, working with out catalysts and now making 819 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque. However the engine’s set up has been reversed so it drives a transversely mounted Xtrac sequential racing gearbox mounted behind it and powering the rear axle solely. (The Aventador sends torque to all 4 wheels.) The Essenza’s V-12 is not able to taking structural hundreds, however the gearbox must be, because the rear suspension is mounted on to it. That has required the usage of a considerable cradle of metalwork across the motor to hyperlink the transmission to the passenger compartment. All of that scaffolding is one motive why the Essenza’s 3042-pound dry weight does not come as a shock.
The cabin is completed to the next normal than a real competitors automobile, and the shortage of roll cage tubing makes it far simpler to get out and in of. However as soon as within the tight embrace of the bucket seat, the view ahead is just about the identical as it could be in a real racer, with a yoke-style steering wheel lined in controls and with a show display screen in its heart. Along with gearchange paddles and apparent switches for lights and wipers, there are such novelties as a pitlane velocity limiter, scroll wheels to regulate the quantity of ABS and traction management intervention, and a knob to tweak the rear differential’s preload. This varies the locking impact throughout the rear wheels when not below energy, successfully permitting the dealing with stability heading into corners to be adjusted entrance to rear. Brake bias between the 2 axles can also be variable, though I am suggested to not contact this by Emanuele Pirro, the five-time Le Mans winner who helped develop the automobile and is available to provide recommendation to Essenza house owners.
Briefly there’s an enormous quantity to recollect, most of which is forgotten as quickly as I take to the observe with directions to maintain up with works race driver Miloš Pavlović in a pace-setting Tremendous Trofeo Evo 2 race automobile. This proves to be a lot simpler than it sounds.
The Essenza has been designed to supply accessible thrills to these with little or no precise competitors expertise. The fundamentals are all simple, the automobile even getting an automatic clutch rather than the handbook pedal-operated one which precise GT racers largely nonetheless use to launch. Simply getting it round a observe is not exhausting.
Straight-line efficiency is large, however the grip from the huge Pirelli racing-slick tires is huger. At Pirro’s advice I begin out with the engine mode in its most restricted setting, limiting output to round 650 horsepower, and even on this devitalized state it’s nonetheless just about matching the Tremendous Trofeo on acceleration. Switching to full energy proves the SVC12 has the legs on its racing sister, actually on Vallelunga’s straights.
The automobile does not have massive low-down torque, however it’s happiest being labored exhausting and sounds actually savage—even via the padding of a race helmet—effectively earlier than the shift lights on the steering wheel start their progressive illumination. The transmission shifts brutally, however the brakes possess much less chunk than I am anticipating throughout my first stint. Like most house owners’ vehicles, the prototype Essenza makes use of motorsport-grade Brembo iron rotors rather than carbon-ceramics, and it initially feels as if they’re combating the mass of the automobile.
It seems they are not. I return to the pits to be taught from Pirro, who has been monitoring the automobile’s telemetry, that I have never been pushing the brake pedal exhausting sufficient. I’ve managed a peak line stress of simply over 1000 kilos per sq. inch, but it surely takes greater than 1400 to get the pads biting as exhausting as they will. Embarrassing, proper? Issues enhance on my second stint, though pushing with extra drive will get the pedal near the ground and requires severe effort within the baking-hot cockpit. (The prototype lacks air con, an elective additional all smart consumers will go for.)
With Vallelunga’s observe floor at over 120 levels, there’s little drawback getting warmth into the tires. The Pirellis ship exceptional adhesion but additionally—in tighter turns—the comparatively abrupt breakaway conduct frequent to slicks. That is sudden sufficient to make me glad for the watchful eye of the traction management. On the two.5-mile circuit’s sooner sections, the Essenza’s huge wing components and diffusers create such large downforce as to make the automobile really feel virtually unstickable: Of their most aggressive settings, the aero surfaces can generate as much as 2650 kilos of downward stress.
The Essenza is an exciting automobile, however it isn’t a scary one. On condition that it’s as much as 5 seconds a lap faster than a GT3 automobile across the circuits Lamborghini has examined it on, that is a formidable achievement. And in addition a smart one, provided that a lot of its target market shall be significantly richer in money than top-flight motorsport expertise. Along with the price of the automobile, consumers shall be on the hook for round $36,000 for every occasion, with the price of tires, mechanics, upkeep, and—if ambition overtakes expertise—repairs past that. For these with vastly extra money than time, such comfort shall be good worth.
But the day at Vallelunga was additionally a reminder that even the quickest vehicles quickly really feel lonely on a observe with out anybody else to play with. The Essenza’s electrifying efficiency is much less viscerally thrilling than wheel-to-wheel fight in one thing slower and fewer highly effective. What Lamborghini actually must do is organize a race sequence.
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