“The Tecnica is the best combination of two or three worlds” - Rouven Mohr, Chief Technical Officer at Lamborghini, on the Lamborghini Huracan Tecnica, its purpose and the future of Lamborghini
The Lamborghini Huracan Tecnica is one of the most interesting Lamborghini’s to have been showcased in recent years. With a focus on both race-car like ability as well as usable comfort for road use, with the Tecnica, Lamborghini is shooting arrows straight at Porsche. Assistant Editor Aatish Mishra speak to Lamborghini’s Chief Technical Officer, Rouven Mohr, as well as the Head of Design, Mitja Borkert, the two men responsible for the car, to find out what has gone into the Huracan Tecnica, what is Lamborghini’s philosophy, and whether the Tecnica signals the end of an era. Read on to find out!
The Huracan Tecnica’s personality
Rouven Mohr: “The Tecnica is the best combination of two or three worlds at the end of the day. The car should be suitable for daily usage, so if you go in the evening to dinner or in the weekend to the mountains. But also to be able to perform on the racetrack. Therefore, we decided that you can also see in the components that we have selected, we started with the drivetrain and also the suspension setup and so on from the STO and give this a more radical track tool, a more versatile and lifestyle-oriented shape. We also added a little bit more insulation to the cabin so that it was also more suitable for long-distance travelling. This was at the end of the day the mission. People that are enjoying our brand, that are enjoying the emotions of the driving, but they also want to use the car more than only on the racetrack or on Sunday want to use the car also in daily usage conditions. So this in a nutshell was the mission, and therefore we think that it is perfectly in our Huracan model range, because we have the lifestyle-oriented version, we have the spyder, for instance, we have the pure track tool, the STO, and we have then something that we can say is building a bridge between the racetrack orientation and the daily usability and enhanced in this context of hard to drive because the Tecnica has really the mission to offer the most emotional driving experience under every condition.”
From the drivetrain and set up it's very close to the STO
RM: “But for sure from the noise insulation and usability perspective, because the STO is a very radical car. The Tecnica is for this purpose a little bit more street-oriented if you want to call it that. With the Tecnica it was also part of the development process therefore we have improved brake cooling and so on. It is also a very performance-oriented track day car. We decided also to take the same tyre off the STO to have more or less from the basic configuration technicality-wise of the STO.”
Balance between comfort and performance
RM: “It's not easy to answer because in general it's a question of philosophy that each manufacturer has. What is the level of comfort that you consider as sufficient? It's a little bit hard to specify this. In general, you always start with a rough attribute setting of a car. You define the requirements, and then based on these requirements you have always also objective measurements. And these objective measurements, during the development process, you always compare the targets with the current status and then you have the improvement. But to set the targets is also a part of the brand's philosophy. We have our typical test tracks, also with rough roads and potholes, so not only real tracks. It is valid for all our cars. Nonetheless, we want to ensure that the driver can really enjoy the car even on a public road and that the public road is not always perfect. So there we have our kind of calibrated test roads and based on these test roads we make measurements, and then we sit together and decide if this is for the mission of the car, yes or no. In a car like the STO, we are more compromising on this topic, to increase even the performance. In a car like the Tecnica that has nevertheless a bigger daily usage content, the answer is different. To answer this specifically, when is comfortable, comfortable enough? It is not possible to answer, because otherwise, I would have to take you to the test track someday. I can then also explain looking at the customer service what the customer wants to do with the cars. It's also market-specific because in each market, the customer behaviour is different. Then we have also investigations about the road conditions of all the markets, because there's a big difference. Sometimes in the markets if you are in the big city or the countryside. I would not say it's a science, it's complicated; when enough is enough?”
A Lamborghini does not have a "form follows function" philosophy
Mitja Borkert: “I think I see other manufacturers that are following this. We are much more emotional at Lamborghini and we are following our successful design DNA that you see even in the Countach, which gave the shape in terms of silhouette to Lamborghini. At Lamborghini for us, it's always following this DNA. The Huracan itself, for us it's really essential that our clients can really spot the difference and we have derivates within the model range of the Huracan that are crystal clear for the customer. So we have the STO, the track tool with the big wings and the clamshell hoods and so on, so this model is crystal clear. The Huracan Tecnica is the one where you have the best compromise (in the positive meaning) between an everyday Huracan, you enjoy the sound you can have a nice weekend with your partner, and you have all the luggage space.
"So in terms of design we wanted to make a big design update so the car looks really fresh and cool, everything is seamlessly fitting to the original Huracan basic shape. So when you look at the front of the Huracan Tecnica, you see there's this new light frontward that is created in carbon fibre, so I'm also using this for design change, because when you see the Huracan Tecnica from the front, the front fender and hood create more three-dimensional shapes. The customer can also have a more lifestyle approach, because you can have this carbon fibre but also invisible carbon fibre. So the lower parts of the nose, we have created this Y-shaped curtain, so that is graphically enlarging the front light graphic, it is very significant. We have those wings on the front that are also very significant. Everything was also related to the technical briefing of the Huracan Tecnica, which was to increase the downforce and decrease the drag. So that is also an important technical briefing before we start such a car. Also, because we wanted to improve the brake cooling, we have worked on the front of the car, improving all the channels for brake cooling, all the underfloor is newly designed too to have better channels for brake cooling. The bodyside of the Huracan Tecnica is using one nice inspiration because when you see the window line that is rising up and you see this little rear-glass that is also an air intake, this is taking inspiration from the window graphic of the Essenza SCV12. Coming back to the Tecnica briefing, it was always a rear-wheel-drive car with rear-wheel steering so it was clear that this car is fun to drive, so we wanted to really embrace the rear tyres, so we change the rear fender so all the greenhouse of the Tecnica is exaggerated and all the rear fenders are really pronounced. For lightweight reasons and also for design reasons for the downforce we have implemented this harsh integrated rear wing that is fixed. It's giving a little more dynamic, but it's also important to create this downforce. Last but not least, when you look at the rear of the car, we have a completely new diffuser, we have this hexagonal exhaust pipe that is creating a beautiful sound of Lamborghini. I'm always saying it is not an exhaust, it is a musical instrument. And this hexagon you can find also in the new wheels. The wheels are 20-inch on the front and rear, and this is also using it.
"The interior is also created to increase the piot feeling, especially in the lounge configuration we have a new sports seat, we have a dedicated colour and trim, and we are also offering for the first time for the Huracan a performance door, so you can have the door panel from the STO that is made of carbon fibre, also to decrease the weight a little it. So there's a lot of things done to have a new car that looks fresh for this chapter of the Huracan. We have a much wider spread for the customer as an offer from a lifestyle-oriented car into a car that is also ready for track days and its a car that is also updating the interior and giving more opportunities.”
No one needs a Lamborghini, but it makes you happy
MB: “For the design, of course, when you start a completely new car then you have a white piece of paper and you just go. For the designer for sure, it's always a challenge to update an existing car because everything that you do needs to fit seamlessly into the original design of the car. For us, that was a challenge, but I am so happy about this design because everybody likes the design. Until now we presented the car in New York, all the clients have seen the car, all the journalists. We have fantastic feedback on that car and it will be a very successful one. But the challenge was we want to create a car that is emotional. We have this design that is inspiring, looks visionary already by the style of a Lamborghini, we look futuristic, we look like a spaceship. We always have these fantastic reactions from children, when they are running around the car I can imagine. For example, yesterday here, we had an Indian customer picking up an Aventador and he was 21 years old but he was like a child. It was his first Lamborghini and it was the fulfilment of his dream since he was a boy and for sure, he had when he was young, small models of a Lamborghini. We are about this, people dream to have a Lamborghini, people want to have a Lamborghini. No one needs a Lamborghini, but it makes you happy. To create these emotions from design, from sound, from the driving point of view, from the performance point of view, this is our aim to create a Lamborghini.”
Tecnica: the last new Lamborghini with a V10?
RM: “I would say no. We have announced that this year we still celebrate our pure internal combustion engine era. Starting from next year, we will introduce, step by step, partial electrification which is also really exciting and you can be sure that in this case, we are choosing not only the simple solution. Here also we will provide the most emotional solution that is available. But this year we announced that we will present four new models. Though the Tecnica was the first one, I wouldn't say that it is the last one. Sometimes it's all a little surprising, but looking forward it's also very exciting, and something surprising is coming.”
We spent a lot of effort in the definition of our driving modes
RM: “It is kind of a philosophy question. Our philosophy is that the engineers at the end of the day do the job and make the best configurations for the customer, and not letting the customer be the engineer. It's a question of philosophy. I know that especially in the last few years the trend was in some of the segments to have an absolutely overwhelming configuration possibility. If you ask me, I would like to have a clear profile in each driving mode, but it has to be simple so that the driver can understand what he is doing. If at the end of the day you have to have a Master's or Doctoral degree in engineering to understand the setup of your car, this is not our philosophy. We spent a lot of effort in the definition of our driving modes. We spoke about this a little when you asked the question of how much comfort is enough. This has all been discussed more or less from scratch. Then we discuss based on the development procedure I mentioned in the beginning, to have a clear differentiation because sometimes you also don't feel a difference in the driving modes which is not good. We want to customise the best solution in every mode and then that's it. I'm not the biggest fan of having these overwhelming configuration possibilities. We have a lot of different customers, so we want to provide a wide spread of possibilities to adjust the car. For instance, the customers said that we have customers who use the car for long-distance travel, even the sportscars, you need to provide a mode that is a little quiet. You can also enjoy long-distance running. Other customers really want to have this maximum level of emotion, maximum level of sound, and therefore we are always also taking care of them. In general, our driving mode philosophy is also consistent so we always say the Strada mode is the basic mode that has to provide a minimum level of comfort to drive, and also to be relaxing in the cabin. The sport mode is always our fun-to-drive mode, meaning also from the calibration point of view, it allows you more slip angle and you can really play with the car. Not on the public road, but at least when you drive on the track. The Corsa mode is always our performance oriented track mode that gives the best performance for lap time. At the end of the day this is our philosophy, and we received really good feedback from the customers because they understand our philosophy.”
Two-wheel-drive also has applications that make sense for driving fun
RM: “I would not say that the general philosophy has changed. In the meantime, we have increased our portfolio. If you look at maximum performance in every condition, for sure a four-wheel-drive car is the best choice. But you are right, the two-wheel-drive also has applications that make sense for driving fun, regarding trustability, weight, purpose. So we go car by car, what makes sense. In the STO, there is a close relation to the Super Trofeo and the GT3 car, and in this segment, it is from the homologation point of view only two-wheel-drive that is the basic setup. So we started from the racing car, to the street car. Two-wheel-drive was then the only choice. The second reason is, the weight reduction, you save, although it depends a little bit on the drivetrain but more or less you save somewhere between 40 and 80 kilogram if you offer a two-wheel-drive car. The fun to drive also fits. Overall I would not call it a change of philosophy, we increased the perimeter that we offer to our customers. In the future also we'll have four-wheel-drive cars. I believe in the case of STO and Tecnica, four-wheel-drive would not have been the best choice.”