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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all - I attended a track day organized by Lamborghini to test the STO, below my driving impressions. It is long, but there are so many things to tell that it is difficult to be more succinct. These of course are my very own opinions, another driver may have a completely different feedback.

Contest:
The track day was organized in the Abu Dhabi Yas Marina F1 racing track. I will make a comparison with my 991.2 GT3RS (I drove it on the same track 2 days earlier) as both the RS and STO have NA powertrain and they are designed to be track focused cars as their manufacturers claim to represent the pinnacle of track driving experience.
Lamborghini showed up with 5 STOs, a team of pro drivers, Lambo service support and Bridgestone team. These cars had no plates, so unfortunately no road drive was allowed.

General set-up
The STO in the paddock looks menacing and a true racing car, it looks great in any colors. Pictures really don't tell what this car is about.
STO has higher clearance than the RS, I measured 10cm in the front lip in my RS vs 13.5cm in the STO, the latter should be easy to drive it around even without the lifter.
All STOs where with sport seats only, 2 of them with the 4 points racing belts and Ti roll bar.
The tires available on the STO were Bridgestone both Racing and Sport. Instructors were driving in front of us with lead cars giving us the pace.
My RS is the Weissach pack, runs on Michelin Cup 2 and has the Manthey Racing suspension setup and wheels alignment, 5 points racing belts, Ti roll bar and bucket seats.

Driving position:
Overall I had a decent clearance with the helmet on the STO (I am 180cm), sport seats are very comfortable. Racing belts are interesting and I will come back to this later. On the RS you seat more upright as the seat is fixed, and with the helmet you lean forward, not ultra-comfortable as you expect but functional when you drive on track.
Visibility in the STO was ok and I have not felt missing anything as the 2 side mirrors are large enough to have a good control of what is happening behind and around you. Road use may be different as you probably need a better visibility with the rear mirror. RS overall has a better visibility as you seat higher and you have a better sense where the car ends in front of you, on the STO you have to figure out where your front lip is – something minor on track but on the road could be something
The STO interior is understated and i like it, very clean and no distractions. Same in the RS, I like how is understated and a bit old fashioned considering that the industry is going all digital.
I prefer the RS shift paddles anchored to the steering wheel rather in fixed position. Maybe be because I am not very used to them on track but I find inefficient to move the hand around to find the paddles in tight corners.
In both cars I don’t like the huge height gap between the accelerator pedal and the brake. In racing cars (or also in other supercar manufacturers) you can slide the right foot from the accelerator to the brake as they are at the same level so it is faster (unless you plan to brake with your left foot!).

Engine sound:
We had an EVO and the STOs slowly driving around the paddock and for sure the EVO was louder.
While driving, as many others have reported, on the STO there is a very noticeable “sound barrier” at 4500 rpm and from a characteristic but civilized sport sound you go to a very loud scream. I never liked the way the valve opens in the RS at 3800 rpm but in the STO is even more accentuated because of the larger sound gap. I was wearing the helmet so the resonance could have amplified that but the difference was too abrupt.
Lambo service team told me that opening the valve is a quick fix (you disconnect and close the vacuum hoses) and there is no technical issue nor warranty problems. It could be the solution as I suspect that the 3000-5000 rpm range will be the most common window while road driving and having this “on-off” transition sound each time may not be so ideal. I will reassess this once I can drive on normal roads.

When you push, the car is very loud beyond 5000 rpm, I was wearing my helmet so you get a lot of resonance, but I can tell you it could have been the loudest production stock car I have experienced so far. So loud that I was not able to understand anything the pro driver was telling me with the VHF handheld. RS is definitely quieter. The car is so loud to a point that you may need earplugs for a long track day or a specific headsets if you want to have a conversation on track. While pushing the car I was thinking that the sound is so massive that if you have the police nearby you could get in serious trouble….I watched the car from the paddock pushing on the straight, and the sound was insanely loud compared to other cars…when I asked earlier in the day to the Lambo team why they have this valve and they said "so you can drive the car in town without getting in trouble". I think that make sense after all…

Engine has a lower tone as opposed to the higher pitch of the RS, and has a good progression until you reach the 8500 rpm red line. STO pops on downshifts, but I think much less than the Performante. My only regret is that the STO does not reach a higher RPM, in the RS when you go from 8000 to 9000 you get that screaming sound which is so engaging and make you feel sitting in a racing car.

Overall I love the STO sound, it is engaging and a great contributor to the driver’ adrenaline and driving rhythm, I can’t wait to drive it on normal roads…

Driving
What I always liked of the RS is that it makes you sweat…it is mechanical, stiff, simple, raw, has a mechanical noise and likes to move and slide around when you push it. It is an intense driving and not very forgiving if you are not careful. I usually drive the RS with ESC/TC off on track but even when engaged the intervention is quite minimal and the car tend to slide or oversteer when you push.
It was a good feeling to find many similar traits on STO. The car is planted, feels very light, stiff and has that mechanical feeling overall, but it feels overall more refined, think about the gearbox noise in the RS. It is a simple car to set for track: you put in Trofeo mode, manual, and you are all set. The STO engine is much revving than the RS, it goes up in RPM much faster, and it sounds much better at low revs. Acceleration is very progressive as you expect from an NA engine, I love how predictable and controllable is the power.

I had the pro driver in front of me setting the pace so I reached my 100% of my capabilities but it was evident that the car had so much more to give. What impressed me is how the car is stable and balanced, neutral with no understeer at all. I had to drive with ESC on (we were not allowed to turn it off for this test drive) and I definitely noticed a very decisive intervention to avoid sliding and powerslides, I tried to un-balance the car or powerslide/drift but the car was always very planted and no loss of the driving line. I had the feeling that with all the nannies off the STO will be a very playful toy.

Last few laps I really pushed hard and yes the car was starting to feel light on the turns but still easily controllable and not intimidating. The RS is not that forgiving, I cannot smash the turns like this and have such a neutral behavior. Also, the RS out of the box was not very balanced with the factory setup, it had a noticeable understeering at high speed that has been corrected with the Manthey Racing setup.
The braking system in the STO is superb, super powerful (I really smashed it during the test), I love the long pedal excursion allowing a perfect braking modulation. I like it much better than the RS where the pedal excursion is very short. In the STO when you break from very high speed you feel a very minor zig-zag on the tail but nothing that make you feel in danger.
I checked the video footages with telemetry I recorded in both cars and I was surprised the time and speed I was able to clock with the STO, considering the limited experience on this car. It could have been the pro driver in front of me but in few sectors I was much faster with the STO vs the RS. I am very satisfied and the STO has such great potential.

I am stating the obvious now but the sport seats in the STO with the normal seat belts are not the best setup for such high speed driving – the car put serious G on the turns and you feel your body is moving too much. The situation improves a lot with the 4 points racing belts as your body stays where it should. The setup for me is racing seats racing belts, even if I will not on track every weekend, I feel that such a car needs a more extreme seating setup to feel stable to the limit.

Bridgestone tires were very good, even in the sport version. Sport tires only shown some limitations on the high speed corners where you can appreciate the much harder shoulder of the racing version.

Final thoughts
I really loved the STO experience and I feel very excited for mine to come. The rawness and sound is worth the money and the wait. I was afraid that the STO would be an overlap with the RS but it is not, they have a very different soul and transmit different emotions.

Having said that I feel that these are cars less and less relevant today from a pure time lap point of view. Turbo cars offer another level of performances so if I was looking to be the #1 on track I would look for other options.

Last, these NA cars offer the best when they are pushed to the upper RPM so you can be constantly to prohibitive/dangerous speeds in normal roads, whereas a turbo gives a lot also at relatively low RPM and speed.

For me at least, these "slow" NA cars can still offer a lot.



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Why make a post and not add to the STO thread with thousands of posts?
 

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Thank you for taking the time and effort to report on your fabulous experience.

As mentioned above, you did a superb job of letting us know how it compares to another track focused car as well as your overall impression. Although not a big fan, I watched Mr JWW drive the STO and that thing is an animal. You were most likely there at the same time and possibly even drove the same STO. Well done!
 

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Thanks for the informative writeup. Having taken delivery of mine a few weeks ago, I have yet to really push it, but can agree with many of your observations. I’m used to the moving paddles and shifting in tight quarters. It is a dramatic car and I can only imagine what it can do on a track.

At Concours Miami we were stopping the F8 Tributos every several laps to cool the brakes. It’ll be interesting to do a direct comparison with the lighter, NA STO once I have the chance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thank you for taking the time and effort to report on your fabulous experience.

As mentioned above, you did a superb job of letting us know how it compares to another track focused car as well as your overall impression. Although not a big fan, I watched Mr JWW drive the STO and that thing is an animal. You were most likely there at the same time and possibly even drove the same STO. Well done!
Thanks for your comment-
Yes Mr JWW drove the cars on Saturday, my session was on Friday. He was again with us on the track day 2 days earlier driving a 458 speciale. Met him few times and is a nice guy and good driver.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Very informative, had some time with the STO at Thermal. A Lot more heavy braking, and I overheated the brakes after 6 laps. Otherwise, epic car compared to my GT3.
The overheating issue is interesting: did you drive with ESC on or off? In some cars the ESC is very intrusive causing overheating after a while.

What my driving instructors recommended and always follow is to push 3 laps and do a cooling lap then repeat. Which is fine for most of the occasions as we are not racing after all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks for the informative writeup. Having taken delivery of mine a few weeks ago, I have yet to really push it, but can agree with many of your observations. I’m used to the moving paddles and shifting in tight quarters. It is a dramatic car and I can only imagine what it can do on a track.

At Concours Miami we were stopping the F8 Tributos every several laps to cool the brakes. It’ll be interesting to do a direct comparison with the lighter, NA STO once I have the chance.
I recommend to drive the STO on track when you have the chance so you can fully appreciate what the engineers have put together, it is impressive!. It feels much lighter than the F8 on track and the overall setup is very compliant for track.

The recommended procedure to allow brakes, transmission etc to take a rest is to have a cool down lap every 3 or 4 fast laps. It is better to keep the car moving and cool with the airflow than stopping the car immediately.
 

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Great write up- thanks very much, very thorough and detailed - I missed the event as was out of town (Dubai based). Still pondering to order the STO as I was too late for the Ultimae. Very happy with the Evo however -so will make up my mind soon. Glad to hear that the engine sound is easily manipulated if needed - one of the core reasons I love my EVO so much.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Great write up- thanks very much, very thorough and detailed - I missed the event as was out of town (Dubai based). Still pondering to order the STO as I was too late for the Ultimae. Very happy with the Evo however -so will make up my mind soon. Glad to hear that the engine sound is easily manipulated if needed - one of the core reasons I love my EVO so much.
Disconnecting the valve hoses is very easy, it is a DYI if you are able to reach them.
If you plan to order in UAE better you check asap because the order book is pretty full, i ordered mine there too earlier this year and my delivery is expected to be Oct 2022. Good luck and I hope to see you around Dubai some day!
 

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Disconnecting the valve hoses is very easy, it is a DYI if you are able to reach them.
If you plan to order in UAE better you check asap because the order book is pretty full, i ordered mine there too earlier this year and my delivery is expected to be Oct 2022. Good luck and I hope to see you around Dubai some day!
Problem with disconnecting the valves means the car will always be loud. One of the great features of a Huracan is when in Strada the car is as quiet as a Camry when you're rolling through the neighborhood. Most likely a valve controller will be a better overall solution. Great write up and very detailed.
 
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