When I was a kid growing up in Mississauga, the walls of my bedroom were plastered with posters of cars and model vehicles lined the shelves of my bookcase. Prized among all the different makes and models were the four-wheeled creations of Lamborghini, a small automaker from the village of Sant ’Agata Bolognese in Italy.
The cars it produced were the stuff of dreams. Lamborghini single-handedly defined the term “supercar” by challenging the status quo and pushing the boundaries of automotive design. One of its first creations to inspire the public was the sultry Lamborghini Miura, with its 12-cylinder engine mounted behind the driver. It became the world’s first example of a mid-engine sports car, essentially establishing the supercar template to this day.
When its Countach debuted in 1969, it set the car world on fire again. With its wedge shape, knife-edge creases, and impossibly low roofline, its otherworldly profile was more UFO than automobile. Nearly every Lamborghini made since then, including the new Huracán STO, owes its form to the Countach.
As a kid, the closest I could get to one of these cars were my posters and models. I played with those cars, imagining what it might have been like to sit in the driver’s seat. To smell the leather. To feel the steering wheel in my hands. At night, I would lay in bed under the sheets pretending I was in the cockpit of a supercar, shifting gears while working the imaginary clutch. It was the start of an obsession with Lamborghini.
Then came video games. There were many racing games I played on my PC, but one, in particular, changed everything for me because it used real cars. Exotic cars. And yes, it had a Lamborghini. It was “The Need for Speed”.
The folks behind Road and Track magazine were consulted during the production of the game, and they really ensured the cars came to life. They didn’t just look like the real thing, they sounded like it and each had its own distinct characteristics.
Playing “The Need for Speed”, was a big upgrade from the cockpit under my covers. I spent days and nights flying down canyon roads and up mountain passes until I learned the ins and outs of all those digital tracks. In my mind, I felt I had actually driven all those cars. The satisfaction was real.
As an automotive writer, I get the opportunity to drive all makes and models of cars today, from the humble Nissan Micra to a track-ready Porsche 911 GT3. It has softened some of my enthusiasm for some vehicles, but a handful still manage to stir my soul and enthusiastically rekindle my childhood obsession.
The new Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo Omologato (STO) is one of those cars. And, when I learned I would get a chance to sit behind its steering wheel, I returned to my 12-year-old self. Objectivity be damned.
Seeing the Lamborghini Huracán STO, a mid-engine sports car comprised mostly of carbon-fibre and composite material, in real life, it looks fast sitting still. A “regular” Huracán parked next to it, likely on purpose, appears boring in comparison and I totally missed it until I looked at the pictures I had taken of the STO with my phone when I got home.
Nearly every body panel on the 2021 Huracán STO has been changed, tweaked to cheat the wind. It is the most hardcore version of the Huracán to date. It’s all function over form, too, according to Lamborghini, but looking at it draped in a matte red finish it called Rosso Pyra, all I see is pure theatre. As the Lamborghini representative does the obligatory walk around, filling me in with the finer details of this special build, I’m trying to put on my best poker face. All I want is those keys.
Once in the surprisingly comfortable driver’s seat, all I have to do is depress the brake pedal, push the start button, and the 5.2-L V10 rip-snorts to life with a loud bark that quickly settles into a purposeful idle. To put it into drive you pull the right paddle towards you.
Being just north of six feet tall, I fit just fine, although I do have to dip my head every so often to see traffic lights because of its low roof. Such is the price you pay for such an aerodynamic design. Visibility out the back is non-existent.
It’s an easy car to drive around the city, but that’s about the only thing it shares with 99 per cent of the other cars on the road. The sound streaming from the exhaust pipes is gruff and intoxicating, rising to a banshee wail as you climb up the rev range.
And it gets attention. Even at 9:30 a.m., children on the street point and jump up and down with glee as they see me drive past, while adults quickly and excitedly whip out their phones so they can snap a pic.
Controlling the vehicle in a video game is one thing but driving the Huracan STO is fantasy realized. It‘s as exciting as those games were when I was 12. More unexpected, though, as I maneuvered through the city streets, was how I realized how well the video game companies, even with decades old technology, managed to capture the essence of driving an exotic car.
At nearly half a million dollars (that was the value of the model I got to take for a spin), the Lamborghini Huracán STO is less about transport and more about the experience. It can take you to another place and time. It can make even adults feel like children again, even without driving it. That’s a special thing indeed.