Words: Calvin Chan
Photography: Calvin Chan
Published: October 6, 2021
If you have never watched a Lamborghini Super Trofeo race, you are missing out. One of the most popular and enthralling one-make spec series’ in motorsport, it’s a spectacle with an army of V10-powered Huracáns racing neck-to-neck around famous racetracks like Daytona and Spa-Francorchamps. Super Trofeo attracts drivers of all ages and all backgrounds, from pro drivers to gentleman drivers with little experience, all competing for the glory of the top step on the podium.
Financing a Super Trofeo race car doesn’t come cheap. You’re looking at roughly $500,000 CAD for the Huracán Super Trofeo race car itself, and another half a million dollars to sponsor the season with the mechanics, spare parts, flights, accommodation, and entrance fees. That’s over a million dollars already. Well in that light, Lamborghini actually offers a relatively more affordable and enticing offer: the new 2021 Lamborghini Huracán STO. It only costs $394,217.
STO stands for Super Trofeo Omologata, and it is essentially a street-homolgated version of the Super Trofeo race car. That means those bitten by the racing bug but don’t want the huge financial burden and commitment of a racing series will now be able to experience the heart of a Super Trofeo on everyday roads.
So what upgrades does the STO have over the already impressive Performante? Well, much of the powertrain actually remains the same. That means the naturally aspirated V10 continues to produce 640 hp but with slightly less torque at 417 lb-ft, all fed through a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Like the Huracán EVO RWD we recently tested, the STO is also rear-wheel drive only, and 0-100 km/h comes in an unbelievably quick 3.0 seconds. Top speed? 310 km/h.
Despite harbouring the same output as the Performante, the STO actually has more horsepower than the Huracán GT3 race car due to the latter’s balance of performance restrictions where output is limited to level the playing field. But like the Super Trofeo cars, the true focus isn’t on the engine or the gearbox. Instead, the STO is all about aerodynamic performance.
Take a closer look at the front of the STO. Notice anything different? The front hood, fenders, and bumper are all one single piece of carbon fibre. Like the Sesto Elemento and Miura, it helps to save weight, increase rigidity, and aid in aerodynamic efficiency with its plethora of integrated vents and louvres. In fact, 75% of the STO’s exterior bodywork is made from carbon fibre, even though it’s hidden under the shimmering shade of Rosso Pyra in the vehicle we tested. The rear end is even more aggressive, with multiple vents and negative spaces to assist air flow, like below the taillights that let you peer into the engine bay, and behind the rear wheels that give you a clear view of the tire tread.
And what’s a race car without a roof scoop? Harking back to the days of the McLaren F1 GTR, it not only looks sporty, but it serves an integral purpose to improve engine cooling. The STO also wouldn’t be complete without an adjustable rear wing. There are three levels for low, medium, and high downforce specs, and all it needs is a standard screwdriver, so you don’t need special mechanics to fly out from Italy to help you. Ours was set to Medio, or medium downforce, which further compliments the sizable rear diffuser and active front splitter that keep the Huracán glued to the tarmac.
The STO further receives upgraded Brembo carbon ceramic brakes, magnesium rims for lower unsprung weight, a 20% lighter windscreen, and the choice between a road-spec and a track-spec Bridgestone Potenza tire. We’ve also got an increased wheel track, a stiffer suspension, rear-wheel steering, and a flurry of tech goodies integrated into the ANIMA system that displays real-time tire pressures, telemetry with two integrated dashcams, and all of the connectivity options expected from a modern day vehicle.
Inside has also undergone a bit of a diet, with most of the luxuries stripped away. Leather has been swapped for carbon fibre and Alcantara. The floor mats are also gone, replaced by optional carbon fibre ones. The sport bucket seats are in carbon as well, with fabric pull straps instead of door handles and a titanium roll bar to keep things rigid. In all, Lamborghini says the STO produces 53% more downforce than the Performante, and is 43 kg lighter overall.
We had just over an hour of drive time with the STO around local roads, so we were limited in how much performance we could test and extract from this aero-heavy supercar. Right off the bat, the first thing we noticed was the rear-wheel steering. The turning radius on the standard Huracán is already pretty tight, but adding on rear wheel steering shrinks it down to the point where it rotates like a Nissan Micra.
We couldn’t feel much of the STO’s active aero, extra downforce, or the stickier Bridgestone tires at the tame speeds we were going. We will need a proper racetrack for that. But what we can report back is that the STO is overflowing with drama, theatre, and driver engagement. The performance is as theatrical as it is physical. It really doesn’t matter what speed you’re going, whether its 10 km/h or 100 km/h. The V10 sings, howls, revs freely without being bogged down by turbochargers, and treats the driver to a glorious, unfiltered symphony of noise and g-forces. It’s a harmonic, almost religious kind of experience for a privileged few, and one that could only come from ten naturally aspirated pistons.
The STO uses a similar exhaust to the Performante with titanium intake valves, and it doesn’t sound much louder either, but there definitely are more auditory vibrations and a more pronounced staccato in the upper RPM registers. You can also hear a bit of the wind slicing into the roof scoop and into the engine bay. Which is not to say the STO is acoustically disappointing. Au contraire. This V10 sings with more soul than most V8s and even some V12s, serving a rush of dopamine at 8,500 rpm to anyone within a one-kilometre radius.
There are three new driving modes for the STO, adjustable on the steering wheel’s toggle switch. Strada has been replaced by STO for street driving, while Trofeo replaces Corsa for dry track driving. There’s a new Pioggia mode as well for wet track driving, all of which control the traction control, stability control, throttle and gearbox mapping, and suspension, for the chosen condition. Of course, we never let it out of Trofeo.
The STO remains compliant over pockmarked roads, absorbing bumps and undulations with enough grace to call it a usable and tolerable grocery getter. And it only feels a touch stiffer than the Huracán EVO RWD. And like it, the STO also uses that handy traction control system that doesn’t intrude on the fun and only steps in from time to time to help you adjust your line. It’s basically a guardian angel but one with a party hat that tells you to take more shots. The result is a rear end that playfully wags its tail out without the razor-thin margins that usually plague snappy mid-engine cars with short wheelbases. You can keep the throttle pinned yet have total oversteer control as the systems cut and add the power to keep you sliding.
We were equally as impressed with the new brakes. The pedal feel is incredibly linear and it doesn’t feel like your typical carbon ceramics due to its natural feeling in terms of modularity. The initial bite is strong and it becomes only more progressive after that, even when they are cold and not up to operating temperatures.
The Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo Omologata is the closest thing you will ever get to a road-legal Super Trofeo race car. We really don’t see how Lamborghini could extract any more performance from this platform, other than by adding all-wheel drive and slick tires. Dynamically, we couldn’t detect a major leap from Performante to STO, but that’s because we were bound by limited seat time and the lack of a track to truly stretch its legs. And if you are the type of sports car owner that typically runs into those issues, well you may be left slightly disappointed. But what we can decisively say is that the Huracán, STO or not, remains one of the most enthralling, exhilarating, and emotionally titilating experiences offered by a machine on four wheels. The upgrades from the STO simply add the cherry on top.
Model: 2021 Lamborghini Huracán STO
Paint Type: Rosso Pyra
Base Price: $394,217
Price as Tested: $477,647
Length/Width/Height (mm): 4,547 / 1,945 / 1,220
Dry weight (kg): 1,339
Engine: 5.2-litre V10
Horsepower: 640 hp @ 8,000 rpm
Torque: 417 lb-ft @ 6,500 rpm
Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch
Engine & Drive Configuration: Mid engine, RWD
Tires: Bridgestone Potenza; 245/40R20 front 305/30R20 rear