Autos: It's Snow Bull

As I downshift into third gear and push the throttle to the floor, the 2006 Lamborghini Gallardo charges down a back road near the foot of New Hampshire’s Mount Washington. Gripping the steering wheel on this late December day, I take a corner at close to 100 mph, skip across a bridge that traverses a gorge, and pass a Moose Crossing sign. Since 1849, this region, known for having some of the world’s worst winter weather, has claimed 135 lives through hypothermia, drowning, falling ice, and avalanches. The cause of death for number 136 could be test-driving a Lamborghini, and my epitaph would read, “He had it coming.”

However, although this 3,350-pound, aluminum-bodied Italian bull might not survive a collision with a 1,000-pound New England moose, it does handle as well as it accelerates, and the fog-covered roads of the White Mountains turn out to be a good venue for testing the limits of the 10-cylinder, 520 hp convertible. Now if only it would start snowing.

When Lamborghini brought its Winter Academy from Europe, where it conducted eight programs last year, to the United States, it selected what should be an ideal locale for teaching its customers how to navigate a Gallardo through the snow: The average year-round temperature on Mount Washington is about 27 degrees Fahrenheit. However, thanks to one of the warmest Decembers on record, the area’s usual snow cover is absent when Lamborghini’s first North American Winter Academy commences. Thus my driving partner and I improvise and take the Gallardo on a high-speed cruise through the mountains.

In March, weather permitting, Lamborghini fans and owners will have two opportunities to learn about understeering and oversteering, drifting and braking, on a closed, snow-covered course in New Hampshire. Lamborghini has scheduled academy sessions for March 1–3 and March 7–10. Each costs $2,500 per person and includes accommodations at the Mountain View Grand Resort & Spa in the town of Whitefield. Lamborghini supplies the cars. If the idea of maneuvering a Gallardo—a machine capable of reaching 196 mph and performing a zero-to-60-mph sprint in just over four seconds—or any Lamborghini through the snow seems incongruous, consider that each of the marque’s models since the 1993 Diablo has been equipped with all-wheel drive.

Toward the end of the December session, on the tarmac at the Mount Washington Regional Airport, chief instructor Giorgio Sanna leads us through a series of rally-driving techniques, a planned component of the academy regardless of the weather conditions. While we perform slide turns, practice counter-steering, and try to resist the urge to tap the brakes, Mother Nature finally cooperates a little, sending a flurry that slicks the runway. The change in weather gives us a chance to experience the bad-weather benefits of Lamborghini’s all-wheel drive, and it also marks a rare occasion when sports car drivers actually welcome the arrival of snow. 

 

Lamborghini Academy
888.802.6265
www.lamborghiniacademy.com

Photo by 2015 Mercedes-Benz
Replete with passenger amenities, the car offers a relative value for those who prefer to be driven…
Perhaps its most visually striking feature is its robotically controlled doors that fold up 90...
The German carmaker has made changes to increase the car’s performance and bring greater tech...
The car’s design is based on that of the 1967 33 Stradale, which is valued at over $10 million...
Photo by Mercedes-Benz USA
Based on the road-going GT sports car, the GT3 was developed to comply with FIA GT3 race...
The Aero 8’s improved comfort, convenience, and safety should make for Morgan’s best open-air...
With a new, contemporary design, this is not your grandfather’s Continental…
Photo by Olivier Staub
Robb Report takes the new and improved three-wheeler for a spin on the roads of Malibu, Calif.…
Performance and style have perhaps never converged so beautifully as they did in European...
In May, the home of the American automobile will host three days of films, discussion panels, and...