Most high performance driving schools are held in hopelessly unromantic locales based on their proximity to racetracks. But Lamborghini takes the high road – both literally and figuratively – by hosting its Winter Driving Academy in the stunning alpine town of Cortina d'Ampezzo, just south of the Austrian border.
Nestled deep in the Dolomite mountain range, this tiny ski town served as the backdrop to scenes from 'For Your Eyes Only' and the original 'Pink Panther,' and is a worthy setting for the rolling sculptures that hail from the Italian suburb of Sant'Agata Bolognese, some four hours south. A small cadre of instructors rotates between a fleet of vehicles including the open-air Gallardo Spyder and the hulking, V12-powered Aventador. And yes, you can pull down the ragtop (crank the seat heaters if you like).
The teaching style tends to be casual but effective, and indoor "chalk talk" is minimized in order to maximize seat time, which hones skills like power drifting and threshold braking. High-speed car control proves to be challenging but exhilarating when wrangling these powerful beasts in inclement conditions, and each steed's unique personality emerges when pushed to its limits: The rear-drive Gallardo LP550-2 is a nimble, tail happy dance partner, and it's hard not to fall in love with the Aventador's sense of dynamic drama.
While these two days of snowy driving might be the most fun you'll have in a car, the delicious local cuisine and luxe accommodations at the five-star Cristallo Palace Hotel will make bon vivants happy, too. Would you expect anything less from Lamborghini?
More Information: €3,900 ($5,100) per driver, €550 ($720) per non-driving partner for the Intensive program, and €6,900 ($9000), €750 ($980) per non-driving partner for the Advanced program. Both programs take place in February. [lamborghini.com]