Lamborghini Huracán Tecnica: The small convesations
The Lamborghini Huracán is now less a model than a family. In addition to the original, all-wheel-drive LP610-4 from 2014, there have been and still are eleven other derivatives. The Spyder variants are counted separately. In addition to the rear-wheel-drive Huracán, the Performante, EVO, STO and, as the most recent member, the Tecnica have been added over time. The spread can be roughly described from the ineffable term lifestyle to the rather unambiguous term racetrack.
At this point, one thing up front: even those who only glimpse a Lamborghini out of the corner of their eye will immediately identify it as a Lamborghini. The silhouette, front and rear view are far too distinctive and typical. Lamborghini almost has a unique selling point here. And not just within the exclusive circle of the usual suspects, but in automotive design in general. Only the Porsche 911 is similarly distinctive.
But within the individual models - and here especially with the Huracán family - you need a little more knowledge to be able to tell at first glance which model it actually is. One person who doesn't need to be tested on this is, of course, Mitja Borkert, chief designer at Lamborghini. We met him at the launch event for the Huracán Tecnica at the race track in Valencia and started our walk-around with a striking detail. Because that's where every Lamborghini actually starts.
Mr. Borkert, the design of every Lamborghini is decisively shaped by one and the same point. Which point is that?
Correct. It always starts at the corners on the left and right of the front apron. This is where everything is concentrated. Basically, a Lamborghini has this shark nose. But here at the front corner, virtually at the cheeks of the vehicle, here, where the Y-signature and the lights are on the Tecnica, this is where the music plays. Because at this corner all the air flow around the vehicle is created. Ideally, here you have an angle that is not too acute, we talk about arrowing, but at the same time, the point should not be too far out and on the way to the front wheel, there should not be too many negative topics. This means that the airflow must be able to run cleanly to the front wheel. The concentrated complexity of the aerodynamics of a super sports car and the distinctive design DNA of a Lamborghini is condensed at this point like nowhere else.
It sounds like a kind of holy grail, yet to be found.
A nice comparison. But I don't want to get too religious.
You're right. After all, it's just a car.
That, in turn, is too little for me. It's a Lamborghini!
We're going in circles.
A little bit. But, to get back to the topic at hand, it's a similar story with the connections between the aerodynamics of a super sports car, which are subject to clear physical laws, and the design DNA of a Lamborghini, which has to meet very clear aesthetic criteria. There is no right or wrong. It's more of a ping-pong game of convergence.
"It always starts at the corners on the left and right of the front apron. This is where everything is concentrated."
Isn't there a mathematically calculated ideal value for this complex position? Can't artificial intelligence just do the job here?
No, unfortunately no. But also fortunately: no, because this point is always significantly related to the overall shape of the vehicle. Depending on this, other angles and surfaces result as the ideal. The decisive factor for success is the interaction between aerodynamicists and designers. Let's say the aerodynamicist says he wants to go ten centimeters further out at this point (pointing to the outside of the front apron), then I, as the head of design, might say that's not possible, because then it's no longer a Huracán, but a truck. Or a Formula 1 car. On the other hand, we might design a surface and then the aerodynamicist tells us that the airflow at the rear will be cut off. So we keep passing the ball to each other and try to find solutions.
How do you come to an agreement?
Basically, we define a section, a line, where I say it still works for me and it also works for the aerodynamicist. From there, we then work our way forward step by step. Communication is crucial in this process. It's like in any relationship.
The man does what the woman says?
Not quite. At Lamborghini, we work at eye level. Everyone contributes their opinion and issues. What I notice time and again is that the real breakthroughs often come from the small conversations between two or three people and not in the big meetings. Often, it is several short and concise conversations from which the really good ideas and solutions emerge in dialogue. I think it actually helps here that we work for Lamborghini and design these highly emotional cars, because this means that, due to our passion, we are all thinking about our product almost constantly, and you can ask any employee about a current topic at any time. He immediately has everything at his fingertips.
"What I notice time and again is that the real breakthroughs often come from the small conversations between two or three people and not in the big meetings."
Is the relationship with the aerodynamicists particularly close in terms of the overall development of a Lamborghini?
I would say so. It's a very intimate and respectful relationship. Along with the relationship with the body development department, or as the Italians say: Sviluppo Carrozzeria. This department is enormously important. Lamborghini is always about the highest quality, not only in design, but also in workmanship, materials and gaps.
The front of the Tecnica is a bit longer than on the other Huracáns. To what extent is this a concession to the aerodynamicists?
We have a complicated interaction here. On the one hand, we have the front splitter, which is a bit longer than the top of the car. This is where the downforce comes in. So we have perfect airflow for the radiator here. Then, at the front, wing elements are integrated at the side, very width-accentuated, which we have also anchored in the Lamborghini design language and which look a bit like a modern version of the Performante blades. New on the Tecnica, we then integrated the typical Y into the front apron below the headlights. This Y, inspired by the Lamborghini SIAN, is not a styling element, but the entrance to an air tunnel for aerodynamics and cooling, which for me is a very good example of how design and aerodynamics support each other.
What were the main issues with the Tecnica?
We've already mentioned the front. Basically, the front end is always about crash safety and pedestrian protection. On the Tecnica in particular, the engine cover at the rear was a big issue. I was reminded here of little Mitja, who flattened his nose on super sports cars windows, and that's why we wanted this window through which you can see the engine directly. The challenge with supercars in the engine area is always heat buildup, so we had to create different chimneys and air outlets. It helps a bit that we have a naturally aspirated ten-cylinder engine here and not a turbo unit. Because the different engine concepts naturally generate different heat peaks.
The rear end is very striking.
That's right. That was already extreme on the STO, too. On the one hand, we went maximum width with the shoulders, i.e. the rear fenders, and on the other hand, I'm a big motorcycle fan, and since I love sports bikes in particular, I wanted to stay as open as possible next to the striking exhaust pipes that flow out the back. You can really see engineering. And you have a fantastic view of the tires. Just like on a motorcycle.
Final question: How does a chief designer at Lamborghini evaluate a model redesign in the first place? Is it a big challenge or aneasier exercise, since the proportions and certain lines are already defined?
Basically, I would say that the Tecnica is far more. It is certainly the most dramatic design revision on a Huracán we have ever done. For a chief designer, such an update is always the bigger challenge. When you start with a blank sheet of paper, you can go all out; but when you have to adopt certain body elements - on the Tecnica, that's the cabin and the doors - the main challenge is to find a design that blends into the existing shapes in a single cast. That's why I'm very proud of the Tecnica, especially the great sculpture of the rear fenders.