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2021 Lamborghini Huracan STO first drive review: Race car cosplay

Lamborghini uses its motorsports know-how to make the ultimate road-legal Huracan.

2021 Lamborghini Huracan STO
This is definitely a color scheme, alright.
Drew Phillips/Lamborghini

Lamborghini says you can drive its new Huracan STO on the street, but I don't know why you would. I'm not saying that because of the STO's outright brutality or the fact that you can't see out the back. This ultimate road-going Huracan is just so hyper-focused on performance I wouldn't want to waste a single millimeter of tread on anything other than track time.

STO stands for Super Trofeo Omologato, meaning it's quite literally a road-homologated version of the Huracan ST Evo that competes in Lamborghini's one-make Super Trofeo race series. It's far and away the most extreme street-legal Huracan that Lamborghini's ever made. Where the old Huracan Performante was more of an amped-up road car, the STO is a toned-down race car. Of course, that's obvious from the minute you look at it -- eye-searing green-and-red color scheme notwithstanding.

The STO's changes are actually quite extensive. The entire front end -- "cofango" in Lambo-speak -- is one solid piece encompassing the fenders, hood and bumper. Largely made of carbon fiber, this huge bit of body structure is super light, and its front-hinged design means the nose tilts down and the wheel wells come up when it's lifted. The front splitter, hood vents and louvers over the arches all work to reduce aerodynamic drag and improve downforce, making it an incredibly cool piece of engineering.

Oh, and when I asked Lamborghini how much it costs to replace the cofango if you, I don't know, eat a cone at 160 mph, one of the company's spokespeople just started laughing.

Out back, the normal Huracan's hatch glass is replaced by a lightweight louvered panel, complete with air intakes that flank a pronounced shark fin and an additional air scoop up top which, functionality aside, is freaking cool. The huge wing can be set to three different positions, the most extreme of which provides 926 pounds of downforce at 174 mph! All told, the STO has 53% more downforce than the Huracan Performante and 37% better aerodynamic efficiency overall.

These gains are the Huracan's greatest assets when it comes to trackability, aided by some major performance hardware. MagneRide dampers are constantly making minor adjustments based on road conditions and lightweight magnesium 20-inch wheels are fitted at all four corners. Bridgestone created specific Potenza tires specifically for the Huracan STO, and both road and track rubbers are available -- 245/30s up front and 305/30s at the rear.

Set to its most aggressive position, the STO's rear wing provides 926 pounds of downforce.

Drew Phillips/Lamborghini

Behind the wheels you'll find 15.4-inch front and 14.2-inch rear carbon-ceramic brake discs, with CCM-R technology adapted from Formula 1 racing. These brakes have 60% higher stress resistance than standard carbon-ceramic stoppers and are four times better at managing heat. Speaking of which, the STO adds a brake temperature monitoring page to the Huracan's digital gauge cluster and multimedia screens, so you can see if those ceramics are getting a little too hot before you start to smell (or see) smoke.

It'll take you a minute to warm up to the brakes, but damn are they effective. They're borderline grabby when you're going slow, but at higher velocities while flying into corners, the six-piston front calipers immediately grab hard and quickly scrub off speed. With each passing lap, you'll find yourself digging deeper and deeper into braking zones, knowing full well the carbon-ceramics will work perfectly every time. The STO's downforce comes into play big time here, too: You can trail brake through tight turns without upsetting the flow, and more assertive inputs don't result in major front-end dive, preventing oversteer.

Torque-vectoring tech helps the rear-wheel-drive STO manage power delivery between its fat back tires, and rear-axle steering gives you a little extra shove to help you get through corners faster. The rear-steering tech is adapted from the standard Huracan Evo, but it's thankfully been retuned to feel more natural and less twitchy in action -- one of the Evo's few faults. Feedback through the Alcantara-wrapped wheel is excellent; the STO's movements are almost reflexively quick.

No carpets? No sound deadening? No problem.

Drew Phillips/Lamborghini

I've waited until now to talk about the engine because it's arguably the least interesting piece of the STO puzzle, strange as that might sound. Situated amidships is Lamborghini's tried and true 5.2-liter naturally aspirated V10, offering 631 horsepower at a lofty 8,000 rpm, as well as 417 pound-feet of torque at an also-lofty 6,500 rpm. That's an equal amount of horsepower and a little less torque than the Huracan Performante, though the STO is 95 pounds lighter, tipping the scales at a scant 2,952.

You'll for sure want to use the big, metal, steering column-mounted paddle shifters to work the STO's seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. In the standard drive mode -- simply called STO -- the gearbox is way too eager to upshift and won't hold gears through corners. Managing the shifting yourself solves this issue, and considering the aforementioned lofty power peaks, you'll want to keep the engine boiling hot near the top of the rev range to make the most out of that sweet V10. This also ensures a properly racy soundtrack, all shouty and racy and rah-rah-rah exciting.

Click the red notch at the bottom of the steering wheel down to Trofeo mode and the Huracan loosens the reins on its safety systems. You'll get more play in the rear end, stiffer damping from the suspension, quicker response from the rear-axle steering and snappier shifts from the transmission. It's definitely the way to go for maximum performance, though I'll say I drove a number of laps at Willow Springs International Raceway in the basic STO mode and never once thought, "man, I wish this was better."


Drew Phillips/Lamborghini

You won't really want for anything in the Huracan STO, save maybe some better outward visibility and a roofline that doesn't require you to contort to get in and out while wearing a helmet. I could complain about the laggy and unintuitive infotainment system or the lack of features and amenities, but that's not why you buy an STO in the first place. Floor mats? Power seats? Nah, brah. Grab a fabric door pull and strap in.

These are also some of the reasons why I can't imagine using a Huracan STO as a road car, save for maybe a fast weekend run through the canyons or to show off your big bucks at a local Cars and Coffee. Big bucks indeed, by the way -- you're looking at $330,000 for one of these after factoring in destination, and that's before you pile on the personalization options. That green-and-red get-up doesn't come for free.

Not that affordability is even a consideration with a car like this; no Lamborghini is purchased on a budget, after all. The Huracan STO is one of the truest realizations of a roadgoing race car I've had the privilege of testing, and it's hard to put a price on that thrill.