As we approach Taga Trophy Experience Event #2 Orange County, the hours of planning and development that go into each and every one of the Targa Trophy rally's is probably unfathomable to the average person. Everyday is different as we prepare for these events, and the schedule is always in a state of flux as coordinating all the details that go into these productions is a touch and go proposition. Driving to meetings is constantly part of the equation and since Targa Trophy is all about driving, that is never any problem with us. So as we were in the process of setting up the OC rally, we got the call from Lamborghini Newport Beach that we had the green light to test one of the newest and most exclusive Lamborghini Gallardo's to come out in recent years.
For 2012, Lamborghini has introduced a limited production Gallardo that is basically a street version of the race car that runs in Europe for Lamborghini's own 1 make racing series, the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo Championship. So that would make sense that the name of this special edition Gallardo is the Super Trofeo Stradale. With only 150 produced worldwide, this exclusive variation comes with some unique interior and exterior touches that are exclusive to the Super Trofeo Stradale. We feel this is probably the best looking Gallardo to come out yet!
We started our day picking up the car from Lamborghini Newport Beach. As we got the debrief on the car from our friend and colleague Nick Jones, we quickly realized that aside from the upgraded power plant to the 570hp V10 found in the Superleggera and unique cosmetic features, this Gallardo functionally works the same as the standard variant that we have had plenty of seat time in over the years. Also, just like the Superleggera, this version features race derived fixed seats that are basically the same as the aforementioned car. For being a fixed seat, the seating position was quite nice and the comfort level was high, so we were in good shape. Our first stop for the day was at the offices of Identity Management, operators of Sutra Night Club, Ten Night Club and various other nightlife venues in OC to dial in details surrounding the after party for the OC event. After a great meeting setting up party details, we got back on the road and headed to our next destination.
Our next stop was at long time friends of Targa Trophy, Global Motorsports Group (GMG), to check in with the crew there to catch up on things and compare how a race car inspired street version stacks up visually next to the real deal race cars GMG run in various sports car series in North America. While driving, one of the first observations we made about the Super Trofeo Stradale was the fact that, for a racing derived variant of the Gallardo, it really has a civil demeanor in its standard drive mode. It's quiet, as supercar standards go, shifts were smooth and ride quality was nice, which made for making some event related calls on the road no problem.
As we arrived at GMG, we were greeted by Fabryce (parter at GMG) and quickly given the quick tour of their facility as they have significantly added space to their shop to accommodate their expanding customer race program that seems to get bigger and bigger each year. GMG specializes in customer racing programs centering around Porsche Cup cars. They also dabble in race cars produced by other manufacturers, as they have a customer that runs World Challenge in a Mitsubishi EVO X and most recently, they are the first shop in the county to receive a Euro spec, Audi R8 LMS.
As we pulled the Gallardo Super Trofeo Stradale into the GMG garage, we parked it next to the R8 LMS. These cars are based off the same platform, with many of the same internal components including the stock V10 power plant. Of course, the R8 LMS is a purpose built race car and looks the business, but sitting next to each other on the shop floor, you can very easily tell they are basically cut from the same metal.
The Gallardo seems right at home next to the R8 LMS and Porsche Cup cars being stored in the lifts adjacent to the R8. With its upgraded aerodynamics package in the front and fully adjustable rear wing and carbon fiber engine bonnet, the Super Trofeo Stradale definitely looks the "race car" part. And with the optional Rosso Mars paint, this car stands out in a way that is not really flashy... but more 21st century cool.
We moved the car over to the additional building at GMG where the main ALMS and World Challenge cars were being prepped in their new dedicated racing facility. One sight to be seen was this 997 GT3 RSR, just delivered to a customer, ready to do some club racing in his spare time.
We finished checking out the new facility and it was time to move along as we had more meetings to accomplish before the sun went down.
Back on the road, our next destination was Oakley HQ for a quick meet up regarding our event on the 19th. As we made our way from Harbor Blvd. to the 405, it's always interesting to see the reactions of other drivers when you are behind the wheel of one of these machines.
Some want to try and follow you, others just stare, but most seem to just be genuinely excited when they see a car of this magnitude. These cars are something special and really are the pinnacle of what fascinates the automotive public, so it's always interesting to observe reactions while behind the wheel.
On the way to Oakley, I decided to start playing around with some of the different performance settings on the car, which are basically only two, Sport and Corsa. As I pushed the Sport button, I quickly realized the car became a bit more lively across the board. The suspension firmed up a bit and the exhaust got a bit louder, but from my previous experience in LP version Gallardo's, you need to go right for the Corsa button to really get the most excitement out of these cars... so that is exactly what I did!
Corsa opens up the real soul of the Gallardo as the suspension gets very firm and the exhaust gets extremely loud and as we approached Oakley HQ, we tested the sounds with some nice freeway pulls that didn't disappoint.
On the way into Oakley, there were some nice freeway sweepers that the Gallardo Super Trofeo takes on with ease and track driven stability. Just as you would suspect from a race bred variant.
Once we arrived at Oakley HQ we met up with one of our contacts there to discuss details surrounding the OC event. As we were inside, it was interesting to see the rubber-necking going on outside, as the Super Trofeo Stradale gained some serious attention while parked in the round-about. For the 45 minutes we were there, camera phone photo shoots were going on all over the place around the car.
We finished up our business at Oakley HQ and headed to our next destination which surrounded some actual testing of the car so we could really get a feel for what the Super Trofeo Stradale could do. We headed to one of the areas from our 2011 OC event located very close to the world famous Cooks Corner biker bar. Before we did some canyon carving, we pulled up to Cooks Corner looking to regroup for the rest of the day and discuss some of the testing to go on in the OC back roads.
As we were parking the car, we were immediately approached by two bikers that were hanging out at the bar. One of the guys proceeded to tell me his past history of being in the exotic car game in the 80's when exotics were still elusive to the consumer and many had to be modified to meet US emissions or sold in the grey market. It was actually fascinating to talk with this guy, he knew his stuff and was a total throwback to 80's car culture.
We chilled out on the patio at Cooks Corner for a few minutes to relax and discuss what was on tap for the rest of the afternoon. After taking a nice break in the shade, we got back on the road to work out the Super Trofeo Stradale in the canyons of OC. Our main goal was to do some recon for the OC event on the 19th, our secondary goal was to push the Super Trofeo Stradale to see what this car is made of on some twisty back country terrain.
As we suspected, the Super Trofeo Stradale is right at home canyon carving as we put the car through its paces on some of the best back roads OC has to offer. The Lambo is super planted thanks to its all wheel drive layout and really feels comfortable going between the 2nd, 3rd, 4th gear changes that get worked out constantly in a hard core canyon run. The V10 engine seems even louder as the exhaust note bounces off the trees, giving that visceral experience you can only get from cars of this nature.
When we finished our back road recon, the day started getting away from us and it was time to start heading back to our home base in Newport Beach. We decided to take the scenic route home and enjoy the ride back to the coast on some of the sweeping toll roads of OC.
We entered the realm of Newport Beach and became a bit hungry so we decided to hit up the old school diner The Galley for a quick retro snack at this one of a kind hidden gem in Newport Beach. The Galley is located around one of the larger docks for yachts in Newport, so the scenery is always enjoyable.
The sun started to set as we finished up at The Galley and we decided to make the trek home before we had to return the car the next morning. We set off on PCH and couldn't help but reflect on the day.
The fact is, we basically knocked out a full work day while driving around in a Lamborghni Gallardo Super Trofeo Stradale. Between running around to meetings, road testing for the event and cruising the streets of OC, we came to some interesting conclusions.
If you wanted to, you could daily drive these cars no problem. Forget the maintenance costs or mileage depreciation... these cars were meant to be driven! Obviously it helps if you have the means to maintain a car of this type, but as most of us know, the majority of owners keeps cars like this in the garage, not on the the road. For those that do make the most out of their ownership experience, we give you a thumbs up! Driving these cars, a lot, is the name of the game... and in the world of Targa Trophy, that's what it's all about!
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