Hitting the Track With the Women of Lamborghini

“Turn your head the direction you want to go, and your hands will follow.”

Grateful as I am for such basic instruction from the professional race-car driver sitting next to me, I can’t help but feel there must be more to it. I’m navigating the smaller track at Lime Rock Park in Connecticut as part of She Drives a Lambo, an initiative by Lamborghini to encourage more women to take the wheel. The car is a Huracán Tecnica, a sleek powerhouse of a supercar with a maximum speed of 325 kilometres an hour, and this is the point where I admit I picked mine because it matched the flame highlights in my red hair.

We turned heads this morning: a steady crocodile of two dozen Lambos in all colours of the rainbow driving in convoy along the winding country roads, through picture-book villages and past beautiful historic homes with their meandering, manicured lawns. I’m trying to take it all in while also getting used to where everything is in this car and not lose sight of the driver ahead of me.

We arrive at the track and receive an orientation that includes a video recorded for us with the Iron Dames, Lamborghini’s all-female racing team working hard to break down barriers for women and girls in the male-dominated sport. Decked out in their trademark hot-pink suits, these bold women have a noticeable effect on the group. Oh, hell yes, we are doing this.

Twenty minutes later, I’m in line again, this time for my first turn on the track. It’s hot and dusty, and as I watch the women in front of me take their spots, I feel my nerves rising. Until this morning, I had never set foot in a Lamborghini, and here I am about to manoeuvre it at speed on an actual track—another first. My brain’s ability to conjure ways in which this might not be a good idea is impressive.

The overthinking switches off the moment the professional driver jumps in the passenger seat and the flag in front of me is raised. I am suddenly hyperfocused. As I aim in the direction of cones placed at key points on the turns of this tightly wrought pretzel of a track, I have no idea how fast I am driving, nor can I lose concentration for the time it would take to ask my instructor. At this point my singular goal is making the turn in front of me without error. I do know the Tecnica takes a mere 3.2 seconds to reach 100 kilometres an hour from zero, and once I’ve circled the course a few times, I can’t resist putting my foot down on the one short, straight section.

I realize I’m grinning moments before I slow to pull into the next bend, jaw clenching in a mixture of fear and thrill. I feel like I’m flying. Look at me go.

The adrenaline charge is intense: “Stay straight,” I hear over the insane roar of the V10 engine. I realize I’m grinning moments before I slow to pull into the next bend, jaw clenching in a mixture of fear and thrill. I feel like I’m flying. Look at me go.

The other women driving today are almost exclusively members of the Lamborghini Club, most of them here with their (mostly male) partners. I assume they are all used to driving the cars, but while chatting between turns, I realize I have assumed too much. While two or three are as committed as their other halves, the majority have rarely been behind the wheel of these powerful vehicles before today. It’s an unusual sight: the men wandering around awkwardly, not sure what to do with themselves, as we 20 or so women flex our motoring muscle. It’s also refreshingly uncompetitive: we are here to challenge ourselves, not compete.

As I pull up to the line for my final track time, I switch seats. This time, I say, I want to be driven, to feel what the car can do when handled by someone whose job it is to push it to its limits. We screech onto the circuit, me instinctively grabbing the seatbelt. There’s no time to process what is happening: I am pinned in the seat, every turn a body-jolting combination of stop, start, stop, start. At one point I wonder if my head might simply detach; at another, if my back will still hold me up when we are done. It’s like being trapped in a pop bottle, being shaken hard before it must explode.

We take a final victory lap around Lime Rock’s main track, and then it’s time to leave. Driving back, I feel comfortable enough to simply enjoy the Huracán. The gentle turns and twists of the quiet country roads are a real pleasure to navigate. I feel in control, capable, and yes, not a little glamorous.

Later, at dinner, we women are bonded by the experience, lifted by the thrill of stepping outside our comfort zone. One of the few participants whose Lamborghini is her own walks up to the bar where I am sitting, points at me, and declares: “She can really drive.”

She sure can.

Photos courtesy of Extension PR. Read more from our Autumn 2023 issue.

Post Date:

October 23, 2023