Lamborghini Huracan STO prototype (2021) review

Published:29 January 2021

Lamborghini Huracan STO prototype (2021) review
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By Georg Kacher

European editor, secrets uncoverer, futurist, first man behind any wheel

By Georg Kacher

European editor, secrets uncoverer, futurist, first man behind any wheel

Lambo's hardcore Huracan
Pre-production model tested
GT3 racer meets supercar

Super Trofeo Omologato – sounds like a prescription cocktail served in Naples’ shadiest bars. It isn’t, but the effects in this new Lamborghini Huracan STO supercar are (I would imagine) remarkably similar: palpitations, inflated ambitions, a thrilling sense of invincibility, climax. But don’t worry, it’s all good, clean fun. And what isn’t will polish out.

Lambo’s Huracan STO is effectively a street version of Sant’Agata’s one-make racer and the wildest Huracan yet.

Colour me very interested...

In the Nardo pitlane, my early Huracan STO prototype awaits. In case you missed the initial reveal, let me give you the specs: the Huracan EVO’s manic V10, a 3.0sec sprint to 62mph and all out of ideas at 193mph. While those performance figures are a notch slower and lower than a ‘regular’ Huracan EVO, there’s a lot more to the STO than that.

huracan sto rear

The STO also gets firmer springs, four fistfuls of adjustable magnetic 2.0 dampers, hollow anti-roll bars as strong as steel rods, a wider track (by 10mm up front; 16mm out back), a bespoke brake-based locking diff and tweaked kinematics all-round.

Full details of the Huracan STO here

But none of these modifications would kick your inner PlayStation into gear if it wasn’t for the game-changing ground-effect aerodynamics. The STO has a fixed rear wing which can be adjusted with a toolkit between five angles. In its most extreme position, it helps – together with the new integrated front spoiler/nose – to increase the downforce over the old Performante by another 53 per cent (to 480kg) at 175mph.

To arrive at the STO’s dry weight of 1339kg, R&D has cleared out the cabin, fitted door panels and a clamshell bonnet made of carbonfibre-reinforced plastic, added a reinforcing rear arch made of titanium and mounted lightweight wheels. The car’s brain has been re-programmed for more aggressive torque vectoring and a locking ratio of up to 40 per cent on the e-diff.

Jump in and poke around!

The lead vehicle is a proper Huracan Trophy Evo racer (read our review of that, here) and at the wheel is instructor Mario Fasaneo. His laps of the Puglian handling circuit out-number mine 11,678 to 89.

huracan sto interior

The STO’s race seats are shaped for jockeys, and you’re clamped into them via four-point harnesses. Forcing yourself into the high-performance body glove can be embarrassing but, once seated, the driving position is more comfortable than it appears thanks to the 50mm lower seat base now standard across the Huracan range. Visibility is excellent straight ahead, peep-box restricted to the sides and non-existent aft of the shoulders. In the rear-view mirror you see only a close-up of the rollcage – a Lego Technic installation that frames the world behind you.

Here, you’ve a choice of three drive modes: full-on Trofeo, road-ready STO and Pioggia, Italian for rain. Then there’s ESC on or off. Roger that?

Yes – let’s go already!

Firing up the V10 is like swapping Spotify for good old vinyl, big amps and King Kong speakers. Who wants batteries when burning petrol can create such a hypnotic soundtrack, summon enough punch to momentarily tack one’s skull to the headrest and generate more power than two obese 305/30 ZR20 Bridgestone Potenzas can handle in first, second and third gear? Fast? Oh yes. Once this howler monkey of an engine picks up the throttle-controlled banana scent it goes nuts.

huracan sto proto rear cornering

At first the STO confuses with an odd mix of the familiar and the unusual. At 13:1 versus 16:1 the steering is a fair bit quicker now, and this extra directness also extends to the rear-wheel steering. Turn-in is sensational, as is the streak of superglue front-end grip that follows. Even when treated to an X-rated helping of excessive entry speed the nose still duly flings itself at the apex, tyres bonding with the tarmac at a molecular level. Understeer? Thanks, but no thanks.

It’s a surreal experience early on, but by mid-morning such addictive front-end response is the new normal. On the circuit, this minimum-loss, big-gain set-up supports faster direction changes, radical corner-entry lines and quantifiably faster exits. In STO mode, heroes won’t be penalised for clumsy throttle inputs. In Trofeo with ESC off, however, the rear-drive STO sets you free to make your own mistakes.

Huracan sto georg driving

As the sun sets, I have one last session: the goal to try to stick with Mario, at least through the slower esses and in the braking zones. Though it has the massive forward thrust thing covered, the Huracan STO also cuts a fine figure under braking. Assisted by the finest Japanese rubber in a shark’s-teeth compound, the STO’s bigger carbon-ceramic discs reduce the Huracan’s braking distances by half a car length from 60mph to zero. While absolute stopping power is up 25 per cent, dedicated cooling elements ensure the system’s stress resistance – and thus its immunity to fade – is up by 60 per cent.

Lamborghini Huracan STO: first impressions

The next day, waiting for a connecting flight, my body’s still compiling a list of STO-inflicted pains and wounds. Like that fast-growing blister on the right upshift finger, the ooh-ah bruises the so-called seat embossed on my bum and thighs, and the firmly engraved grin. Such collateral damage is only sustained when a car conquers all five (nay, six) senses: by blurring your vision over crests; by tingling your tongue with the acidic whiff of brakes; by stuffing your ears with a volume-to-11 jam session; by pinioning your body to its bucket seat with unrelenting brutality.

The STO exposes your mind to challenges, g-forces and, ultimately, a level of satisfaction so rich it wants to be treasured in that secret compartment marked Truly Great Moments in Life.

Read more Lamborghini reviews

Specs

Price when new: £300,000
On sale in the UK: Now
Engine: 5204cc naturally-aspirated V10, 631bhp @ 8000rpm, 417lb ft @ 6500rpm
Transmission: Seven-speed dual-clutch automatic, all-wheel drive
Performance: 3.0sec 0-62mph, 193mph, N/Ampg, N/Ag/km
Weight / material: 1339kg, carbonfibre composites, aluminium
Dimensions (length/width/height in mm): 4549/1945/1220mm

Rivals

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  • Lamborghini Huracan STO prototype (2021) review
  • Lamborghini Huracan STO prototype (2021) review
  • Lamborghini Huracan STO prototype (2021) review
  • Lamborghini Huracan STO prototype (2021) review
  • Lamborghini Huracan STO prototype (2021) review
  • Lamborghini Huracan STO prototype (2021) review
  • Lamborghini Huracan STO prototype (2021) review
  • Lamborghini Huracan STO prototype (2021) review
  • Lamborghini Huracan STO prototype (2021) review

By Georg Kacher

European editor, secrets uncoverer, futurist, first man behind any wheel

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