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m|u Presents... 05-23-2008 07:40 AM

Adventures with Samtrak - The Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 Unveiled.
The Lamborghini Gallardo LP-560-4 Unveiled

Story and images by Samtrak, Worldwide motoring|underground Liaison

During the month of May, I had the distinct pleasure of working for one of the most exclusive super-sports-car manufacturers in the world today. Lamborghini has always been the most magnificently wild car to me. The six-foot poster across from my bed of the red Countach was everything to me when I was 13. A completely different organization today, things are changing for Lamborghini. As a company, they are growing quickly, having produced and sold a record number of cars this past production model year; 8000! They decided to go all-out, sparing no expense in sunny, hot Las Vegas with the release of their newest car. The current model Gallardo represents 70% of their total sales with 60% of them sold in America. The event lasted three weeks and was for the release of the new Gallardo LP560-4. It's the newest beast to emerge from the Lamborghini family. A successor to the previous Gallardo, this car is even lighter and more powerful. The car sports a heavily massaged front- and rear-end for a much more aggressive appeal. The new Gallardo has a lighter engine and new electronic four-wheel stabilization programming. Nineteen inch wheels with 295mm wide tires in the back and 235mm wide tires in the front put the power to the ground. Ever since the VW/Audi group bought Lamborghini in 2000, much of the technology used in high-end Audi's has made its way into the Italian car. Namely, the quattro drivetrain technology, steering-column-mounted paddle shifters, lightweight aluminum engines, and advanced electronic stabilization programming. As for the name of the new Gallardo LP560-4, it's a long one, and means: Longitudinal Position, 560bhp, four-wheel-drive.

You see, I'm kind-of reporting under the guise of a video director. Technically, my job is to provide an immersive video environment for the dinner show structure they've temporarily built in the parking lot in front of the Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas. What this translates to is they decided to put a giant 77 foot long, eight foot wide dinner table in the middle of a big tent, and then wall the outsides of the tent to look like one of their normal permanent dealerships across the world. Along the center of the huge white dinner table is a catwalk for models and ninjas to perform during the dinner show. My job is to sequence the seamless projection video on the table to the choreography of the show.

After a few days of schmoozing with the logistical and technical internal Lamborghini guys, I managed to worm my way into a once-in-a-lifetime experience. They invited the ninjas and me to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway for a ride in some of their machines. We met at the valet at Mandalay Bay and jumped in our executive shuttle; an Audi Q7, of course. After an exquisitely catered Italian lunch, we walked out to the infield of the speedway for a mind-bending ride.

As we walked up to the pit garages, I noticed an outdoor temperature gauge. It read 101 degrees! There were 23 cars lined up inside and out. Some were up on lifts, and some were just being religiously cleaned. The Pirelli tire semi-truck across the aisle was projected to dispense 600 tires throughout the duration of this event. All of the cars were continuously monitored via laptop by the on-site Lamborghini ECU analyzers and tuning engineers. I was amazed at the amount of loose rubber bits being blown out of the rear brake ducts of a Murcielago. As if all this wasn't enough, would you believe they also had authentic, hot Italian women dressed in sexy white outfits around the whole event too?! Was I dreaming all of this?

Now for the shotgun riding experience. First, the Gallardo: An amazingly fast car, yet seemingly easy to push to the limits. The car handled very neutrally, leaning towards understeering, if anything. From my perspective in the passenger seat it seemed the car was easy to predict and very drivable. The course was well-suited to the Gallardo,; not too huge, with a few sweepers and some tighter bends, too. The professional driver from Italy knew just how to push the car to its limits on the dangerously ungroomed track. On the straights, we were in 4th gear doing 190km/hr, or 120mph. Braking was intense to say the least, and there was no sign of any fade during the time I spent in the car. Maybe it had something to do with the car's optional carbon-ceramic brake rotors being bigger than my head. I kept thinking to myself, "Where's the Audi R8 when we need one?"

We swooped into the pits, and I jumped out of the car as if I were on a child's playground! In front of my path sat a candy orange Murcielago. What was I to do? Heh, heh... It was my first time touching the signature butterfly-style Lambo doors. So smooth was the linkage of the door I hardly noticed the fire orange leather bucket seat awaiting my rump. Now realize, this is a very different beast than the Gallardo. The only thing these brothers have in common is that they are both mid-engine, four-wheel-drive super sports cars. The Gallardo is 660lbs lighter, but the Murcielago has 80 more horses. The price difference between these cars is over $100,000 USD. Tires measuring 335mm wide in the back, and no electronic management software, makes the Murcielago an extremely raw example of a super sports car. As we took off, I immediately noticed this car was much louder inside, and you felt very connected to the road. Driving around the track, I could feel the Murcielago wanting more room to maneuver. The raw power throws you back the whole ride, but this car just had more and more to give the faster it drove! Had the straight on this infield track been bigger, the Murcielago would have beaten the Gallardo any day. Unlike the LP-560-4, it wanted to oversteer at any chance it could, so the driver kept it on the fine line of control throughout the laps around the infield. During our ride I asked my driver what his car at home in Italy was. He replied simply with, “MINI Cooper, R53.” How cool! Of course, I promptly told him of MINI RSR and motoring|underground and we immediately bonded at awesome speeds and crazy G forces!

After my wild ride was over I took a few moments to watch the cars in action from the pit-lane jersey wall barrier. The exhaust note from the vehicles was like classical music to my ears and was surprisingly similar amongst both raging bulls. Watching the brutal acceleration from track-side was almost as good as being in the car itself. After all of my protons and neutrons slowed down, we hopped back in the Audi Q7 for a ride back to the strip. Along the way, our host made a detour to an exquisite high-end car dealership off the I-15 in Las Vegas. Anyone can walk in there, and I highly recommend perusing it. It's free and they have an amazing selection of exotic vehicles. Lamborghinis, Spykers, Rolls Royces, Ferraris, Bugatti Veyrons, Mercedes SLRs, and Ducatis were strewn about the showroom floor. I could have eaten off of the floor it was so immaculately clean in there. After sporting a healthy hard-on for over a half hour, I felt tired and passed out. Kidding. It was only a semi, and besides, it was time to do a dinner show at our venue by the Luxor. Off to work we went, wowing and dazzling the manufacturers, dealers, suppliers, press, and VIP customers Lamborghini invited to be at the exclusive event.

Thanks for reading, and now for the cool part. I had a camera the whole time! Here on motoring|underground are some of the first public pictures of the new Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4. Enjoy and feel free to comment here.

What adventure awaits next? µ

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