Monterey, California - Finally, after one of the most intense hype programmes in recent history, here it is in all its glory: Lamborghini’s Aventador Superveloce Jota, the fastest production car yet around the Nurburgring at 6m44.97s.
And this is how they did it:
It’s not primarily about the 6.5-litre V12, which has been mildly tweaked with new titanium intake valves in reshaped inlet ports and a new lightweight exhaust system with reduced back-pressure (and a more authoritative soundtrack) for an extra 22kw, up to a quoted 566kW at 8500 revs and 720Nm at 6750rpm - although that does make it the most powerful naturally aspirated engine yet from Sant’Agata, with claimed launch numbers of 0-100 in 2.8 seconds, 0-200 in 8.6 and Vmax of 350km/h.
It’s about using carbon-fibre and high-tech alloys to reduce dry weight to 1525kg, for a power-to-weight ratio of 371kW/ton, upgrading the adaptive suspension with 15 percent more damping range and 50 percent stiffer anti-roll bars, recalibrating the electric power steering and rear-wheel steering servos for more direct feedback, and dialling three percent more rear bias into the all-wheel drive mapping.
And it’s about the latest second-generation version of Sant’Agata’s Aerodinamica Lamborghini Attiva 2.0, providing up to 500kg of downforce in fast cornering - and bespoke Pirelli P Zero Corsa tyres with stiffer sidewalls to deal with it. This car, fast as it is, is more about control than outright power.
Electric motors modulated by the car’s six-axis inertial sensors open or close active flaps in the front splitter and on the engine cover to direct the airflow from front to rear. When the system goes to ‘On’ the flaps are open, reducing air pressure on the front spoiler and directing airflow via an inner channel and through vortex generators under the car to reduce drag and deliver maximum acceleration and top speed.
The flaps in the engine cover also bleed air through the tunnel-shaped rear wing to stall it, negating downforce and further reducing drag.
Hit the brakes, or turn into a corner, however, and the flaps close in less than half a second, sending the airflow over the car and through the tunnel-shaped rear wing for maximum downforce, with the flaps in the engine cover operating independently on the left and right sides of the rear wing to add extra downforce on the inner rear wheel.
So detailed is the management of the airflow over the Aventador SVJ that it can be regarded as more akin to a low-flying aircraft than a road car - and the styling only reinforces that impression.
Form follows function
The nose of the car is wider than that of its parent, with a new front treatment featuring integrated side fins and a new air intake, as well as new three-dimensional slats in the bonnet to direct airflow smoothly over the bonnet and windscreen - which says, Lamborghini, is responsible for 70 percent of the added downforce.
The rocker panels are all new, with jet fighter style air-intakes that reduce drag while increasing the volume of air reaching the cooling system, and an improved underbody shape with a radical rear diffuser increases rear downforce by 30 percent. The engine cover has also been redesigned for the SVJ in carbon fibre with Y-shaped strakes and racing-style clips instead of hinges and struts, so that it lifts straight off for servicing, while saving a bit more weight.
The new exhaust system is mounted high like that of a superbike, which also saves weight by making shorter, and the SVJ runs special lightweight rims in your choice of two designs.
Just 900 examples of the Aventador SVJ will be made, with prices starting at €349 116 (R5.8 million) ex factory, for delivery to the first customers during the first quarter of 2019. There’s no word yet from Lamborghini SA about build slots allocated to South African customers or local pricing.
And finally, in typical Italian fashion Lamborghini has revealed on the concept lawn at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance a special edition of this special edition, limited to just 63 cars, with distinctive livery and a lot more clear-lacquered carbon fibre on show, labelled SVJ 63 to commemorate Lamborghini’s founding year of 1963, and which will, of course, cost extra.