ĂŠcurie25 Supercar Club
30 | ĂŠ25 magazine
Photography: Julian Calverley Copy: Aaron Weddell
Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 Spyder
ĂŠ25 magazine | 31
30 | ĂŠ25 magazine
é25 magazine | 31
There’s a throaty induction roar in harmony with the bark from the four cannon-like exhausts, producing a solid sonic wave on which you surf.
I’m typing this introduction as I blast through the Peterborough countryside at 100mph or thereabouts. Since setting off a short time ago, I’ve already checked my email and grabbed an impromptu 40 winks, and I’m gearing up for a spot of lunch. Over 6,000bhp is propelling me towards a date with an old flame - we’ve been out of touch for a while and I hear that, since our last unforgettable dalliance, she’s had a few changes made, so I’m keen to reach our rendezvous as swiftly as possible. Of course, I’m not yet behind the wheel of the vision you see in the images gracing these pages. I’m letting the train take the strain, having deposited my own car at écurie25 London’s King’s Cross headquarters, and am now making light work of the almost 200 miles to their Leeds branch. Not only does this save me a slog up the M1, but it also gives me time to reflect on our past liaisons... The Lamborghini Gallardo and I go way back. Over the years, I’ve sampled various iterations - from the original manual coupes through to the Spyder and a number of different manual and semi-automatic combinations. Each and every time I have had the keys to a Gallardo, it has been a real wrench to hand them back thanks to its impressive blend of otherworldly supercar performance and real-world usability. We’ve previously enjoyed weekends to country retreats, European jaunts and she has even enlivened potentially mundane excursions to visit the relatives. Despite being quietly confident that they won’t have, I’m slightly nervous that any changes made to this new model may have messed with that spark which we previously shared. My first clue as to the changes that await me is courtesy of a revised naming convention. My weekend steed is to be the Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder LP560-4. The addition to the name may be dull, but what decoding this reveals is somewhat more stimulating: a convertible, packing a longitudinale posteriore (lengthwise) 560ps engine transmitting that power to the tarmac via four-wheel drive. A bit of on-the-move Googling as I near my destination reveals that there is a change in the V10’s engine
capacity - up from 4961cc to 5204cc - bringing with it a healthy 39bhp and 22lb/ft gain, now 552bhp and 398lb ft, respectively. A host of other revisions reveal that, not only has the Gallardo been bulking up power-wise, but it has also managed to shed a few pounds. Anticipation levels run high as my stop is broadcast as being mere moments away. In keeping with the painless trip to Leeds, my transit from the station to écurie25 Leeds is equally silken. A car awaits my arrival and I am whisked the short distance to the north UK base of operations and, in no time at all, the Gallardo and I are busy getting reacquainted. Now, obviously, the ‘rules’ dictate that, when meeting a past love you should play it cool, I cannot help but throw social conventions out of the window and be dazzled by just how well the nip-and-tuck changes have been implemented. From the fresh front end with its Reventón-esque air dam nostrils to the sleeker rear lamps inspired by the Miura Concept, the LP560-4’s slash-cut origami styling looks as refreshingly original as her predecessor did way back in 2003. Even in the showroom alongside comparable exotica, the Gallardo stands out as something rather extraordinary. With the handover completed, I contemplated heading back ‘down south’, but rest assured, I’m not planning to travel all the way back home because, with so many great routes easily accessible from écurie25 Leeds, it would be a crime to squander them. You can’t really go too far wrong with anywhere in the Peak District, which is where I have chosen to spend the weekend with my partner (apologies, particularly to her, for not mentioning her sooner clearly, I only had one ‘lady’ on my mind earlier). My admittedly somewhat convoluted route is scheduled to include the legendary Snake Pass and the notorious Cat & Fiddle Road, as well as a whole host of sublime connecting tarmac sinews. With such a high concentration of quality driving roads in such a relatively small area, any number of charming
towns and villages can be potential base camps, and we’ve opted for a charming rental cottage just outside of Buxton. Only a short distance from my starting point and the Spyder has, once again, ensnared me in her web; on the A628 to be a little more precise. In the miles leading up to joining this road, I have been just gently easing myself into the whole Lamborghini experience. Bathing in the ambience of the exquisitely finished interior, reminding myself of how the beautifully judged heft to the steering strikes a delicate balance between being unwieldy and serving up a sufficiently physical experience to keep you conscious at all times to the fact that you are piloting something special, as well as marvelling at the updated e-Gear transmission. In amongst all this, perhaps I have also indulged in a little bit of feeling a touch smug at my good fortune, just a smidge. Once the all-new direct-injection engine is up to temperature, I sample how its character differs to the unit it replaces. Working in perfect harmony with the faster-shifting e-Gear paddle-shift, there’s a harder, dirtier edge to the soundtrack, with an even greater Jekyll-and-Hyde split between trundling along accompanied by a relative hush that satisfies driveby sound level regulations and the aggressive aural savagery that explodes when you keep the throttle pinned for more than the briefest of moments. And tempted you will be because the more revs you extract, the better the noise from the engine, and with the Snake Pass unfurling before me, the V10 seems like a cajoling devil on my shoulder. There’s throaty induction roar in harmony with the bark from the four cannon-like exhausts, producing a solid sonic wave on which you surf. Grinning like a child, you glance down at the speedometer and you ease off, inner child suitably chastised by your sensible adult self. Best to push that little devil to one side and allow your more saintly side dictate your pace - not only is this weekend about great roads, but also spectacular scenery, so it’s best to take the time to savour it.
35 | é25 magazine
Now, obviously, the ‘rules’ dictate that, when meeting a past love you should play it cool – however, I cannot help but throw social conventions out of the window and be dazzled by just how well the nip-and-tuck changes have been implemented to this new incarnation of the sublime Gallardo…
ĂŠ25 magazine | 35
36 | é25 magazine
It’s not all about straight-line pace anyway - it’s about getting that bend just right, that perfect entry speed, ideal line and just the right measure of throttle as the exit opens out in front of you and you can sense the engine inches behind your head as it growls and snarls like a tethered lycanthrope, feeling the power being shuffled between all four wheels with just a touch of an aggressive angle thanks to the rear-drive bias. In moments like this, all of the old memories come flooding back - the previous model was doubtlessly great, but this one seems to have not only some extra polish, but also a whole additional layer of Carnauba wax. A few turns off the Snake Pass, you can find yourself on the Winnats Pass, yet, before you do so, I urge you to follow my advice and pull over for a minute. Actually, not a whole minute - about 20 seconds should suffice, just enough time for the soft-top that gives the Spyder its name to retract in the poetry of electronic-hydraulic motion. Now you’re ready to keep the gears low and the revs high as you pass through the ravine. The Lamborghini’s power plant will make short work of the climb and its bellow will probably startle a tourist or two deep underground in the Blue John Caverns around half a mile away. As an added bonus, with the roof stowed away on a warm summer’s day, you may even catch a glimpse of the local daredevils swarming in the skies around Mam Tor (some 1,700ft above sea level), as the area is a Mecca for gliding enthusiasts. The day unfolds in a similar vein and, often when you think you have experienced all of the superb roads and epic scenery you can stomach, you turn the corner and a whole new stretch of tarmac amongst the rolling hills tempts you into ignoring the intuitive
satellite navigation and simply following your heart. Even if you find yourself heading down a poorly maintained roadway more used to the clattering of hooves than the rasping of an amply tuned V10, it’s not a problem thanks to the handy nose-lift feature which, at the press of a button, lifts the front splitter clear of any potentially expensive humps and ruts. When we eventually do find ourselves at our home for the night, I reflect on a truly memorable days driving and, more than anything, look forward to doing it all over again in reverse tomorrow. In this environment, there are truly few downsides to the Gallardo, particularly when, as an écurie25 member, you can remove price from the equation and concentrate on the value of the experience. So, it’s in the early hours of the following morning when I should be dreaming of supercars that I am crunching across the gravel driveway before doing my level best to stir the slumbering Lamborghini as quietly as possible. There’s a flurry of revs as I twist the key, but other than a nearby sheep or three, I seem to have disturbed no-one other than the satnav, whose instructions seem slightly curter than I recall, as it directs me to the Cat & Fiddle Road for a pre-breakfast blast. After all, there’s time for sleep on the train back to London and the Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder LP560-4 and I still have a lot of catching up to do. As a cunning bonus my early morning indulgence is under the guise of collecting the ingredients to a romantic breakfast to set my partner and I up for another day of awe-inspiring motoring. A simple oversight on my part that the shops don’t actually open for another two hours...
ĂŠ25 magazine | 37
In moments like this, all of the old memories come flooding back - the previous model was doubtlessly great, but this one seems to have not only some extra polish, but also a whole additional layer of Carnauba wax.