It’s the final hurrah for the naturally aspirated V12 engine and it is here in India! The Lamborghini Aventador SVJ is the latest and greatest addition to Boopesh Reddy’s Bren Garage that already counts three evo Cars of the Year in there. The Lamborghini Aventador SVJ is the ninth addition to the garage and has been christened Brentador!
Editor Sirish Chandran spent a day with Boopesh Reddy and the Aventador SVJ and says Boopesh is a true supercar enthusiast. The Bren Garage houses one of the most exotic collection of supercars in India. Last month, at the Bren Centre in the heart of Bangalore, a stand-alone building next to the Porsche showroom, Boopesh invited enthusiasts to have a look at the Lamborghini Aventador SVJ. 500 fans showed up to check out the SVJ, “The enthusiasm reminded me of myself, as a youngster,” Boopesh tells me.
Read evo India’s exclusive drive in Lamborghini Aventador SVJ in March issue, on stands now. Buy here
In a freewheeling conversation with Editor Sirish, Boopesh also reveals that the Bren Garage was ready before he bought any of the cars. “My farmhouse is 200km away and I go there only 4 times a year. I love my cars and I need to go to them often. When my neighbours wanted to sell their plot I bought it and the first thing I did was design the garage. I wanted it to be a place which is beautiful and well-ventilated, 12 feet high ceilings in the basement, so it never feels like a basement. And then I got my Ferrari 458 Speciale confirmation.”
As a kid, Boopesh had a poster of the Ferrari F40 on his wall. His first love was Ferrari. But that was the time when Ferrari had no official presence in India. “I was not a big fan of Porsche earlier and Ferrari’s dealerships had issues those days. So I decided on the Aston Martin, otherwise Ferrari would have been my first choice.”
“I was always a big fan of James Bond. Aston called me and said they have a Vantage, I said no, I need something even nicer. Do you have the James Bond DBS which he has in Casino Royale? They said we have better one, DBS Carbon Black edition. It took me two minutes to say yes.”
The DBS was the start of the Bren Garage that now includes, “Based on the order in which I purchased them- Ferrari 458 Speciale, Porsche 911 Carrera S, Porsche Cayman GT4, Porsche 911R, Turbo S [GT Street R conversion], Mercedes AMG GT R, then Porsche 911 GT2 RS, and now the Lamborghini Aventador SVJ.” The Ferrari 458 Speciale was the first Ferrari Boopesh not only owned but also the first Ferrari he ever drove! How’s that for a cool story! With breathtaking humility he tells me, “The timing worked well. Sometimes I feel that if you chase passion, not hurting anyone’s sentiments, there is someone listening and it works out.”
Of course Boopesh is now a big Porsche fan and his Techart GT Street R conversion on the 911 Turbo S is the car he uses to drive up and down to the Chennai race track from Bangalore. “My first love was the Porsche 911 Carrera S. I was learning how to drive on the racetrack, learning the lines and everything. I would learn so diligently, and it would work with me as though it is listening to me. It was amazing how the machine would connect to me.”
We are of course here to drive and talk about his SVJ. And I start by asking him why the Lamborghini Aventador SVJ?
“I was never a Lamborghini Aventador fan because I thought it was too bulky for the racetrack. I never fell in love with it even when the SV came out. But the new ALA system changed my mind, and it did the Nurburgring lap record even with that kind of bulk, so it must be a phenomenal machine. I think they have come to a level where the best naturally aspirated engine with the best aero is a great combination.”
I remember him telling me how difficult it was to get hold of the 911 R, the only one to be allocated to India. Was getting the SVJ that difficult? “They pre-selected certain people who were fascinated about racetracks, as they wanted to give it to people who go out on the track more where they can enjoy it. I was given an allotment, and the moment I got it, I said I’m ready to buy it. I’m sure that after beating the Nurburgring Porsche GT2 RS lap record, there must be something to it. So I was very excited. I was almost desperate, I needed to experience this.”
Post our drive in the Lamborghini Aventador SVJ, the car was loaded on to the custom-built transporter and driven off to the BIC for the Cannonball track day. I ask him his first thoughts about driving the car on the road. “Over all, I am surprised by the way it behaves. And it has the character of the Lamborghini single clutch kick which I really enjoyed the most and I miss it in all my cars. And that kick is what I look forward to on the racetrack.”
But isn’t that kick a sign of the Aventador’s age, in this day of twin-clutch automatics? There is a sense of fear, a sense of ‘ok, I’m driving a beast’ and that’s the kind of feeling you need, when you’re driving, the kick it gives you, you need to be very alert. I need to control the car. So these are things which keeps you excited, that ‘yes, there is something special’. If you make it smooth then what is the fun? If you want a car to be smooth and just hit a straight line, buy a Tesla. All this, it is its character.”
Boopesh is a track-day fanatic and the SVJ is there to fuel his race track passions. He isn’t one for driving it around in the city and having the hordes chase him with their mobile phones. “These machines with so much power, they’re a responsibility. When you drive these machines on the road, and are trying to impress people, it’s a wrong thing. These machines are meant for racetrack and highway specific usage and people must understand that”
His track day enthusiasm started on a bike. “It all started 10 years ago, when I used to take my bike to the track. From bikes to cars was a big shift. Because of safety reasons. My wife said no more bikes. So then I said it’s going to be an expensive hobby. And it is expensive it definitely is, as you need a lot of money to buy such cars, but you hardly get to drive them, except for some special moments on the track. It’s not the car for your daily commute. For me it’s all about the moments on the track and the thrills and the happiness and adrenaline rush, all of which matter a lot to me.”
Moving on, I ask him what’s next. “The Ferrari Pista is coming soon and I am eagerly looking forward because the reviews and what people are talking is that it’s one hell of a track machine. I like track machines and that is why I didn’t buy any other car than the GT and the Turbo S, these are two good machines that can go anywhere and if you want the old king, the 911, the legend is always there.”
Though his cars are mostly out on track he also lets his fans get close. “A lot of kids, including I, had posters on walls. We would dream of the cars in the posters. I have worked hard to achieve my dream of buying such cars, and I want to share my experiences and inspire these kids. Their enthusiasm to have such a car, that was in me also.”
When he was asked if he can drive it on the streets, he refused as it is unsafe and he doesn’t want them to follow him. “So I thought of this event, where I will announce when the car will be available for display. The turnout was maddening. The enthusiasm reminded me of myself, as a youngster. And the entire crowd respected the car. Nobody even touched it. I’m inspiring these young kids and it’s very overwhelming. I was once like them, day dreaming. Sometimes I wish that everyone gets a car like this, gets to experience such a car.
He said that with complete sincerity. “I wish everyone gets a car like this!” It’s not a sentiment you will find echoed from many owners of such cars.”