The fun in learning

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The Lamborghini Academy gives owners a better grasp of the potentially wild world in which they have invested

It’s a little obvious, a touch gauche even. But if you could, you would… wouldn’t you? Well, I would.

Upper crust or salt of the earth, it doesn’t matter for this group of well-heeled gentlemen. They have the means to indulge in childhood fantasies and are bonded by one commonality.

Yes, they’ve all bought a Lambo.

But now what? Supercar performance is hardly suited to the laws of the public roads. To understand such a car and what it can do, they needed a race track. Enter Lamborghini’s Academy.

Now, non-owners are welcome too, but Lamborghini knows its customers and the ‘Intensivo’ course is designed specifically to suit their needs. The friendly team understands only too well that owners won’t want to risk their significant investment itself, so it has created the Squadra Corse: a heady mix of Gallardos, Superleggeras and the amazing Aventador, which tour Europe’s circuits offering expert tuition on how you get the most from a Raging Bull – with the added safety net of not doing so in your own pride and joy.

Today, the Academy has arrived at a sopping Silverstone – and, lucky me, I’ve tagged on to this tribe of enthusiastic owners.

After a thorough briefing, we begin beside an instructor zig-zagging between cones around one of Silverstone’s vast car parks. Nothing much to write home about, but as a warm-up before hitting the track it’s useful. The point of such days, says Lamborghini, isn’t simply to stoke the adrenaline, but also to understand the true capabilities of these wonder-cars – although it is mostly about the adrenaline bit.

Out on Silverstone’s national circuit, they build us up slowly. No instructor beside us this time, but we pair up and share the driving for the first session. I’m with an American businessman who used to race but has been out of the game for a dozen years and is using today to assess whether Lambo’s Super Trofeo should be his choice of re-entry to the sport.

The day progresses in a blur of short sessions, switching between cars each time. We run solo after the opening trial, albeit in groups of four or five cars, but always behind a ‘lead car’ driven by an instructor. In each session he picks up the pace, allowing us to increase our speed gradually to the point where we’re as fast as we can go.

What surprises me most is how easy these Lambos are to pedal hard. Once you’re closeted inside, the intimidation of those extreme, bullish looks is forgotten.

The power is brutal, but even on a sodden track it feeds in evenly and each model inspires confidence to brake later and corner harder (four-wheel drive helps). Perhaps it’s the German influence that has underpinned Lambo’s wild ways with technical sanity since Audi’s involvement… but these bulls are tamer than they look. Or so I think.

At Maggotts, I keep my foot in for longer, then hit the brakes for the national track’s tight right-hander. The Gallardo squirms and my heart misses a beat as I sail past the apex. Afterwards, the instructor I was following slaps my back and laughs. He was so busy watching my moment in his mirrors he had his own… Nothing is taken too seriously within Squadra Corse, it seems. The camaraderie grows as the day progresses and I leave Silverstone on a high – hardly surprising after a day hooning about in such machines. But unlike my new friends I’m trundling home in my humble Golf. Back to reality.

Damien Smith

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