Welcome to the First Annual Lamborghini Club Sandwich Crawl
Test-driving the Huracán STO from Manhattan to the Hudson Valley, on a noble quest to find the perfect sandwich
Let’s get one thing straight: There is nothing subtle about driving a Lamborghini. They sit at the cross section of flash and excess, and if these slicked-up, car-shaped projectiles weren’t rooted in the world of racing, they’d be a purely frivolous purchase for almost any garage. This is to say that a Lamborghini is not meant to coddle you with creature comforts, but instead to put you as close to the racetrack as possible while still allowing you to grab your groceries.
When I was invited by the supercar maker to test drive their newly released Huracán STO recently in New York, I knew I had signed up for a once-in-a-lifetime driving experience, which began at the brand’s shiny new headquarters in Chelsea, The Lamborghini Lounge. A former art gallery, the space is an homage to all things Lamborghini: the films, photography, Roger Dubuis watches, Supreme skate decks, and of course the many, many cars that have existed throughout the company’s 58-year history. There’s also a board room covered in paint and leather samples where would-be Lamborghini shoppers can visit, enjoy an espresso (served on Lamborghini-branded porcelain) and customize their own model. The waitlist currently averages about two years.
Luckily, my wheels for the day were waiting for me outside. The Huracán STO is meant to be the street-legal version of two renowned Lamborghinis — the Huracán Super Trofeo EVO and the Huracán GT3 EVO — that have taken home a handful of coveted on-track awards. I’m shown around the car by a member of the Squadra Corse, the Lamborghini racing team, who explains that I can take this car anywhere I’d like for the afternoon. He also advises, heavily, to get it out of the city. When I’m behind the wheel, I quickly understand why. This bull needs to run.
Navigating my way out of Manhattan, I’m consumed with fear that I might lose a side mirror, and pay close attention to the front end lifting system, designed to avoid any scraping on speed bumps or pot holes. I find my way to the West Side Highway heading north, and with the city in my rearview I go for it, hitting 100 mph for the first time on my journey, eliciting honks and head turns from each passerby. I stop quickly, noticing how quickly the brakes react. True to the car’s ethos, these brakes — Brembo CCM-Rs — are meant to withstand 60% higher stress resistance than Carbon ceramic brakes.
For the next 30 minutes, I put the car through its paces, using the emptier-than-usual, weekday-afternoon expanse of highway as a playground to switch between the car’s three driving modes: STO, Trofeo and Pioggia. With STO as its default, the car readily responds to curving roads at high speeds while retaining some support. Pioggia, or rain in Italian, is designed for wet asphalt and provides optimized traction control, torque vectoring, rear-wheel steering and automatic braking. Trofeo mode is the closest one can get to the racetrack, and is the Lamborghini equivalent to a “sport” mode. It is designed for what is explained to me as “sprinting,” provided the electronic stability control (ESC) is activated to provide some semblance of safety.
Whizzing by a diner, I’m reminded of Lamborghini driver and frequent diner-goer Jordan Belfort in The Wolf of Wall Street, and decide to stop in for a bite at Hogan’s Family Diner in Stony Point, New York. The car’s exterior stands in such stark contrast to the rest of the parking lot that I stop to admire it. It’s incredibly sleek, every inch designed for aerodynamic efficiency. Its front bonnet, fenders and bumper are comprised of a single component known as the “cofango” — a combination of the words “confano” (hood) and “parafango” (fender) in Italian — created by Lamborghini engineers to cut down on weight and “access time” to the engine if your pit crew is in a hurry. A local octogenarian joins me in staring at the car, and asks what I do for a living. “It’s a loaner,” I concede. We both sigh.
As I devour my club sandwich, I scroll through local Yelp reviews, wondering if I had chosen the right place. I come across Sparky’s, and read about its local cult following. It’s just a five-minute drive away to nearby Garnerville, so I pay my bill at the counter and decide that today will be the unofficial First (Annual?…please?) Lamborghini Club Sandwich Crawl. I drive into the gravel parking lot next door to Sparky’s, careful to stay away from any other cars. I take a seat at the counter and am quickly greeted by a chatty local man who later reveals to me that he’s a spry 91-year-old. He gives me the lay of the land, pointing out the town priest at the soda machine, and imparts some off-color wisdom about marriage. The waitress hands me my club sandwich and fries, and explains to me that Denzel Washington, who was recently in town for filming, ate this same club sandwich several days in a row, and said it was his favorite. It’s too random of a story not to believe, and biting into the sandwich I understand why. It’s delightfully toasty and mayonnaise-y and homespun. It feels like a sandwich my grandmother would have made.
I leave with a smile, and settle into my (ok, not my) Lamborghini. Sitting in silence in the Sparky’s parking lot, cradled by the sport seats, crafted in full carbon fiber, I notice the unflinchingly analog nature of the interior. The carpets have been removed and replaced with lightweight carbon fiber floor mats, the doors open using a pull tab, and its hollowed-out dashboard levers have a retro styling that is felt when I click one to activate the front end lift, as if I’m piloting a hovercraft. In stark contrast is the car’s center console touch screen — referred to as the HMI or New Human Machine Interface — which offers a look into all aspects of the car’s inner workings, including but not limited to drive mode indicator, tire pressures, brake temperatures and monitoring of the Lamborghini Veicolo Dinamica Integrata (LDVI) dynamics system. For the true racing obsessives, it also includes an option to monitor and record track performance, which can be stored and later analyzed through the Lamborghini UNICA app.
Hitting the road back to Manhattan, I’m unable to figure out just how to connect my iPhone to the car’s speakers, and instead opt for the sounds of the car itself, enjoying my last taste of zipping around town with an ear-to-ear grin. I turn over the keys to the team awaiting my return at the Lamborghini Lounge, and walk on my own two feet down 10th Avenue, passing Star on 18 Diner Café, the neighborhood’s last remaining diner. Here, a club sandwich will run you $12.95, and biting into it, I find a moment of brief happiness: one that may not compare to that of an afternoon with the Lamborghini Huracán STO — MSRP $327,838 — but a small glimmer of it, and the memory of the open road.
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