Lamborghini's Blancpain Super Trofeo
Anyone not blessed with executive producer credits or endorsement deals has been there – stuck on the wrong side of the velvet rope. Fortunately for motorheads, Lamborghini, the automotive equivalent of the hottest club in town, is letting everyone in with its new Blancpain Super Trofeo series. Amateurs, backed by a pit crew, can race 570 HP, 4-wheel drive Gallardo LP 570-4 Super Trofeos against each other and professionals for the steep (though reasonable given the extravagance) cover charge of roughly $35,000 per race weekend.
The world's fastest single-make series, which launched in Europe in 2009 and expanded to Asia last year, made its North American debut this month at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, CT. The debut kicked off at the New York luxury menswear boutique Seize sur Vingt (maker of the limited-edition Lime Rock/ALMS driving shirt) and culminated in an inaugural race against the backdrop of the American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix. The freshly minted North American series is part and parcel of Lamborghini's transparent approach to building supercars. The primary purpose of the series is to expose potential customers to the cars themselves, which makes the experience both incredibly exciting and an effective sales pitch. The fact that those two things are interchangeable for Lamborghini is a point of pride for the brand.
"It's not just about racing," says Jason Chinnock, general manager of marketing for Automobili Lamborghini America, "It's about the lifestyle."
The lifestyle is, suffice it to say, luxurious. Lamborghini is not a company built on compromises, and its trackside hospitality area, available to Super Trofeo drivers and VIPs, is a looming, Death Star-like tent of amenities – the type of place where you find yourself talking shop with celebrities, while gorging yourself on first-class Italian cuisine.
"This experience has really, really changed my whole view of Lamborghini," said 'Parenthood' star and Super Trofeo competitor, Dax Shepard at Lime Rock. "It's an amazing car. The gear box is great, everything about it – so balanced. This is a weapon out here."
If the Super Trofeo series is, at its core, a pitch from the Italian company, the strongest argument in Lamborghini's favor may be the people the pitch is reaching. Participants in the series rub shoulders, informally, with actors, bankers, movers, and shakers. The Super Trofeo Series presents car lovers with money burning a hole in their pockets with an opportunity to hop that velvet rope.
More information: There are four more Super Trofeo races on the docket for 2013, including next month's showdown at Kansas Speedway. Check out the Squadra Corse homepage for more information; driving options range from the entry-level Lamborghini Academy to the Super Trofeo Series and GT racing.