Test Driven: Ferrari F430 Scuderia and Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4Posted: June 2, 2011
This winter, I was unbelievably fortunate and had the chance to drive my first Ferrari and my first Lamborghini back-to-back on the racetrack. What ensued was an unbelievable experience. My review along with more pictures, videos, and sounds are just one click away. Videos may be NSFW due to language.
Lamborghini Gallardo LP560
The first thing you notice on entry is that the cabin is nice and the fit and finish is all tip-top, but cramped due to the helmet and low roof.
Upon startup, the engine sounds like a monstrous beast coming to life. It has one of the best sounding V10s in the world, in my opinion. Pull the right paddle and give a little gas to get moving, and you find the ride at low speeds is smooth as any other VW-Audi product. We pass through the gate and enter the straightaway; as soon as I get the OK, I floor the throttle. The car lurches forward and all four wheels break loose. I shift up to 2nd and the tires chirp as the gear engages, then the car proceeds to blast forward with an unbelievable level of acceleration. I just keep grabbing the gears till I reach the braking zone marker. The brakes come on forcefully but smoothly and I grab the left paddle to downshift into third–the engine responds with an uproar of sound as I begin to turn in. When I hit the apex, I gave it gas.
The G-forces are immense. The Gallardo actually feels similar to my STi in the way it feels and responds during a hard corner, albeit at a much higher level of speed. The steering is good and responsive (although I discovered a new definition of what steering should be when I drove the Scuderia later). The level of grip that the Gallardo has is astronomical, and as I got more comfortable in the car I started going faster and faster around bends. I did find the traction control to become a bit of a nuisance as I drove faster. I was told I was steering a little too much, which I’m sure was the case, but I felt like the system should let you get away with maybe 5-10% more hooning before kicking in, and things would still be just fine. The traction control kicking in made the car hesitate a bit, but overall the system is my only complaint on the car. Of course, you can just turn the system off, but as per the instructors, we were forbidden from doing so.
Being the first Lamborghini Ive ever driven, I was of course a bit starstruck because the whole experience in general was so darn cool and exciting. But overall, as a car, the Gallardo felt good on the track; however, once I tasted the truly sharp Ferrari Scuderia, I realized the Lambo is a bit dulled to be a track car and is probably an even better experience on the streets. It has all of the characteristics of an incredible-yet-refined street car: insane speed and acceleration, a huge amount of grip (which allows you to have a lot of fun before reaching the limits of the car), and a tendency for a bit of understeer once you do reach the limit (for safety of the occupants taking a corner a bit too hot). This tendency to understeer makes it feel a bit dulled compared to the Scud on the track, but it is by no means whatsoever an unresponsive pig or a heavy feeling car in any way shape or form. The Gallardo is fantastic!
In car cam for the Gallardo:
Ferrari F430 Scuderia
The first thing you notice when you get into this car is that it is completely and utterly stripped out. There is no carpeting or soft surfaces like there are in the Gallardo. The floors are metal and you are surrounded by carbon fiber. The seats are supportive and hard, clearly meant for some serious G-forces. Upon firing up the engine you find that there is little or no sound deadening (it was a good bit louder than the Gallardo, and the Lambo wasn’t what I’d call quiet). It revs quickly and throttle response is crisp. The steering wheel is shaped for the proper grip for real driving at 10 and 2′o clock. Upon flicking yourself into first gear and rolling out of the garage, you can just feel that this is a very focused machine. After some fiddling with the video equipment, we headed out to the track.
Once on the straight, I am given the OK. I give it some gas in first but wait till 2nd to really punch into the throttle. The car slams you back against the seat and just keeps on gaining and gaining speed in a relentless manner. I keep the rev lights on the steering wheel in my peripheral vision, and shift when the bar fills up. The sound of the 4.3L V8 screaming to 8000rpm and then banging out a shift in just 60 milliseconds is simply an unbelievable experience. From the driver’s seat, it becomes apparent that the Scuderia in fact gains speed just a bit quicker than the Gallardo does.
Then it’s time to brake as we enter Turn 1 at around 100mph. The brakes bite a bit harder in this car but are still pretty smooth, the downshift is instantaneous, and the moment I turn in and then gas through the corner I realize that the Scuderia is in more professional league than the Gallardo on a racetrack. This is not to downplay the Gallardo at all, but more to just praise the living hell out of the Ferrari. The Scuderia has a level of focus to it in its steering feel and in the overall balance of the car while taking corners hard which is absolutely unreal. If the Lamborghini had a high handling limit to exploit by having fun within it, the Ferrari has the same high limit but encourages you to push it.
I found myself just going harder and harder in the Ferrari, going faster and faster through corners. The traction control never interfered with my driving either; this is due to the fact that Ferrari designs their system to make a driver faster, not to hinder the performance of the car. My pace increased dramatically, and I found myself gaining on other drivers on the track in similar cars with ease. We overtook 3 people (almost 4) in my 6 laps, 4 if you count the hummer, and the biggest realization for me was that this was easy. Driving the Scuderia on the track is what I would call an addictive experience. I was really able to get into my element and just drive the car the way Ferrari intended. There was no worrying about the fact that the car is worth $300K, no worrying for my own safety because I was in control, and no worrying during all of this by my instructor either.
I had wondered if these cars would be too much for me to handle, and I was a bit jittery at times, especially early on with the Lambo. It really was intimidating at first, I admit, being a normal guy and not a hard trained racing driver in a car like that. I too, like many of you, have seen Jeremy Clarkson talk about how these cars “want to kill you”. I figured I’d just wind up taking it easy through the corners and hit it a good bit down the straight. But when I was actually out there driving, all I wanted to do was go faster and push harder–there was no fear or intimidation. There were times where each of the cars stepped out on me, but I caught them with ease. I entered into my element and was able to push harder and go faster than I had thought I possibly could have. Fast cars are like wild stallions; if you really want to get what they have to offer, then you must take command of them and not let them take command of you. I only had 5 laps in each of these insanely expensive exotic cars, and I sure as hell wasn’t going to waste them by being timid behind the wheel, and because of that, I sure did get what I wanted out of them. This is fun at an extreme level to be sure.
In-car cam for the Scuderia:
Anyone going to Las Vegas should definitely do this, it is called Exotics Racing: http://www.exoticsracing.com/
WoM Score: Ferrari F430 Scuderia
Primary Function: Performance: 2
Secondary Functions: Practicality(1): 1…… its a track car, speed is everything
Visual Appeal: 2
Build Quality: 2
Value for Money: 2…….. as fast as an Enzo around Fiorano, for 1/5th the price
Final Score: 9/10
WoM Score: Lamborghini Gallardo LP560
Primary Function: Performance: 2
Secondary Functions: Luxury(2), Practicality(2): 2
Visual Appeal: 2
Build Quality: 2
Value for Money: 1
Final Score: 9/10
PS: Big thanks to my dad for getting the pics and the vids.