Spoiler Alert

Could Lamborghini’s hardcore GT3 homologation Huracán STO be the best thing Sant’Agata has ever built? You’ll get no contrary comments from us.

Words Shaun Summerfield Photos Alex McDonald-Bush

Nothing properly prepares you for that first moment when you see the Lamborghini Huracán STO in the metal. Even for a Lamborghini, it is audacious. Stand behind it, and you witness a mouth droppingly extravagant melding of race car aero and road legal practicality. The adjustable rear wing wouldn't look out of place on an Imperial Fighter; the shark fin and gaping hood scoop are straight out of Star Wars.

Then look through the aluminium lattice, which provides close to zero modesty for the inner workings. You can see and touch the entire exhaust system and a good portion of the tread on those sticky rear tyres.

Even without the bright decals, the exaggerated styling is Metallica loud, but not heavy metal. Carbon fibre accounts for 75% of the STO's bodywork, including the headline stealing one-piece front-bodywork, dubbed the 'cofango.' The bonnet/fender combo is both a tribute to the Miura and super light; as a result, the STO weighs in 43kg lighter than the stripped-out Performante. The twin radiator vents in the top of the bonnet only add to the feeling of purpose and race car inspired technology.

Lamborghini was relatively late to the motorsport scene, but the GT3 version of the Huracán has had its share of success. This year the Squadra Corse operation passed the milestone of 100 GT3 class wins. It also scored a hat-trick at the prestigious 24 Hours of Daytona, the ultimate victory for the Huracán.

So, it was no accident that Lamborghini used that circuit to benchmark this car, which is by name a road-legal (homologated) version of that successful race car (hence the Super Trofeo Omologata suffix). If the clock doesn't lie, then the STO is up to the job, lapping the Daytona circuit in 1.48, just two seconds shy of the GT3 car which was running on slick tyres.

Knowing that I held the keys to such a track-ready weapon – complete with a full-bore race circuit-ready telemetry system, was both a blessing and a curse. With Auckland locked down, lap times were off the cards… for now. Unfortunately, that also meant no chance to experience over 400kg of downforce and test the carbon ceramic brakes that use F1 tech to deliver 25% better performance than the Perfromante’s carbon stoppers.

That brings me to the one part of the STO which doesn't humble the Perfomante: the 5.2-litre V10. Output of 470kW is identical, while torque at 565Nm, is slightly lower. Much of this is down to the STO being rear-wheel drive in keeping with the GT3 theme. On the drag strip, the all-wheel-drive Performante shades the STO by just a tenth of a second, with the STO delivering 0-100km/h in three seconds and 0-200km/h in nine seconds.

But the number that counts for the STO is the lap time, and on the Daytona Circuit it is three seconds quicker than the Performante; a big old mic drop for the STO.

If the styling dominates, then the V10 is the life of the party. From start-up to the 8500rpm redline, it is a visceral delight. Free of forced induction, the STO sounds too good; too loud to be true, not to mention road legal. It’s a stark reminder that we are reaching the zenith of internal combustion engine tech.

Even on the road, it feels like a racecar, all pointy and nimble. Thanks to torque vectoring and rear-wheel steering, it doesn't feel like it wants to bite; that said, I'm keeping the ANIMA button in STO mode, which is the less 'playful' setting. A track ready 'Trofeo' and wet track "Piaggio' mode are other drive mode options that can wait until I'm on a racetrack. So, I play 'pretend' track, staying in first and second gears, relishing the instant reaction to throttle input, and loving the way the STO dances on the tarmac; I've never felt more graceful.

Until then, the carbon fibre-Alcantara trimmed race seats provide a surprisingly comfortable perch to enjoy and an even more surprising level of road manners. For all the 'drive it to the racetrack' marketing, the STO is not only brilliant back road fun but genuinely usable on the motorway. The usefulness extends to Apple CarPlay, satellite navigation and, if required, cruise control. Even cupholders can be optioned. Our test car was more 'focused'; a better fit with woven door pulls and a 25% thinner windscreen.

For all the numbers shaving off grams, the STO feels a lot more than 43kg lighter than the Performante; constantly in attack mode and eternally playful. However, the STO doesn't just do what Lamborghini promised it would; it does much, much more. Beyond numbers, style, and technical awesomeness there is another element at play. Because a great car is more than the sum of its parts, what makes it great is how those parts work together; that’s what creates feel… and this car feels incredible.

In truth, it looks wild enough to be worth talking about, but when you drive it, it’s next level. Quite simply, this is the best Lamborghini I've ever driven. It is also a fitting swansong to the 20th Century magic of naturally aspirated internal combustion. The sound of the Huracán STO’s V10 is a Sant’Agata sonnet.

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