How to drive fast and safe

driving tips, lamborghini, max venturi, imola racetrack, how to drive fast and safe, braking, corners

How to drive fast and safe


Driving tips from Lamborghini

Max Venturi has a name designed for speed. It’s no wonder he’s ended up as Lamborghini’s chief test driver and driving instructor. He’s the kind of guy who spends his days behind the wheel of a 350 km/h car and has been featured on television shows like Top Gear.

Now, today, the poor man has the task of trying to teach me how to drive a half a million dollar Lamborghini. And not just any old Lamborghini – the brand new Aventador, which currently has a two year waiting list, with the factory unable to keep up with the demand for this beast.

driving tips, lamborghini, max venturi, imola racetrack, how to drive fast and safe, braking, corners

I’m at the Lamborghini Academy at the famous Imola racetrack in the Emilia Romagna region of Italy. There are seven of us at the school today and I fear I am the least experienced. One of the others I speak to has six cars at home in the United States, including a Lamborghini. Max tells me not to worry, though.

driving tips, lamborghini, max venturi, imola racetrack, how to drive fast and safe, braking, corners

“Normally who is coming to drive this car has experience with sports cars,” he says with his Italian accent.

“But this doesn’t mean anything because there are some people who are coming here and are maybe thinking to be the best driver but there’s always to learn something.”

driving tips, lamborghini, max venturi, imola racetrack, how to drive fast and safe, braking, corners

Working in his assumption that there’s always something to learn, I would like to pass on his most useful advice to you. It’s a bit complicated but it is the fundamental of all good driving – turning corners with the brake.

OK, you don’t normally come in at 200 km/h, but the basics will apply regardless of what you normally drive. As Max puts it at one point: “This is the most important thing that you can learn, the braking, because when you go on the track you are thinking you can go as fast as you can but without braking you can not go fast.”

driving tips, lamborghini, max venturi, imola racetrack, how to drive fast and safe, braking, corners

Hand position

Firstly, and quickly, the best hand position. I remember being taught as a teenager that your hands should be at the 10 and 2 position on the wheel. Max thinks you actually get a lot more control, particularly at high speed, with your hands at the 9 and 3 position. In case you don’t know what I mean, the image below shows you what you should be doing.

 driving tips, lamborghini, max venturi, imola racetrack, how to drive fast and safe, braking, corners

Feet position

This might be quite obvious, but it’s something Max still makes sure he points out. The Lamborghinis have no clutch because the gear shifts are on the steering wheel so we only use one foot to drive. The same would go for any automatic cars. The right foot controls the brake and the accelerator, and the left foot must sit on the foot support to get the right balance. Only very professional drivers (and go-kart enthusiasts) use both feet to control the brake and accelerator. These small things can be important in the bigger picture.

driving tips, lamborghini, max venturi, imola racetrack, how to drive fast and safe, braking, corners

“You must know you have a lot of power to manage,” Max warns.

“With the electronics, today’s cars are very safe. But you are hearing many times people who are saying ‘the car do this, the car do that’. It’s not the car, you are driving the car.”

Braking for a corner

Now we move on to the most important thing – braking for a corner. Max’s tip is to brake hard initially and then to pull off the brake gradually, rather then depressing the pedal slowly. If the strength of the brake was on a scale from 10 to 1, start at 10 (the strongest brake) and reach 3 before you even start to turn the steering wheel.

“There are people who are thinking they can accelerate before the corner,” Max points out, “and you have learnt if you accelerate before turning, the car doesn’t turn.”

driving tips, lamborghini, max venturi, imola racetrack, how to drive fast and safe, braking, corners

Turning a corner

This is probably the trickiest part, and the thing that I had the most trouble getting the hang of when I was doing my laps around Imola in the Aventador. When you hit the point where you begin to turn the steering wheel, the braking should almost be complete and you’ll be pulling your foot off the pedal as you turn. You want to turn the wheel and point towards the ‘apex’ of the corner (that’s the narrowest part of the curve).  There’ll be a short bit of time between turning and hitting the apex – during this time Max recommends applying no accelerator and no brake. You just glide through the tightest bit of the corner and then, as you come out of it, start to hit the gas and open up the steering wheel to get straight again.

If you can decipher the scribbles Max has made on the diagram here, you’ll see what I mean:

driving tips, lamborghini, max venturi, imola racetrack, how to drive fast and safe, braking, corners

And here, in his own words, is how Max puts it: “You cannot accelerate before you turn. You need to start opening up the steering wheel and accelerate at the same time. You need to be able to open up the steering wheel and then accelerate. This is the most important thing to remember not only with sports cars but with every type of car.”

Taking the technique to the streets

And that, my friends, is the most valuable information you can get on driving skills – direct from one of the world’s best drivers. It’s obviously more relevant to high-speed environments where you’ve got a whole track to move across, but the elements will help you with any kind of driving with any type of car. That’s one of the points of the Lamborghini Academy.

driving tips, lamborghini, max venturi, imola racetrack, how to drive fast and safe, braking, corners

“You learn not only how to drive well on the track,” Max says, “but you can bring all that even on the normal roads. I mean not the speed but maybe the technique to approach the corner.”

So watch out! Next time you see an old white hatchback veering around a corner with perfect precision, it could be someone who learnt everything they know on the turns of Imola!

Other Lamborghini Academy posts:
* The need for speed: on the track with Lamborghini
* Lamborghini’s students: You’ll be surprised at who actually attends the academy…

You can check out the official page for the Lamborghini Academy here

Time Travel Turtle was a guest of Lamborghini and the Emilia Romagna tourism board but the opinions, over-written descriptions and bad jokes are his own.

  • Alexandra | May 14, 2012 at 7:55 pm

    I am so jealous of your trip to Lamborghini. I’m so sad my time in Bologna didn’t coincide with this! I’m keeping my fingers crossed for next Blogville!
    Alexandra recently posted..Travel Porn: Pisa, ItalyMy Profile

    • Michael Turtle | May 16, 2012 at 1:20 am

      I’m not sure when the next driving academy is going to be. Perhaps if you asked nicely… 🙂

  • JAYME BIANCO | May 15, 2012 at 12:25 am

    Impressive! I can’t wait to have this experience next time I go to Italy!


    • Michael Turtle | May 16, 2012 at 1:20 am

      Oh, you’ll love it! It’s such a great way to experience the Aventador!

  • Moron with a Lamborghini crashes while showing off - Adam's Polishes Forums | May 15, 2012 at 11:40 pm

    […] crashes while showing off It's funny that I just came upon this article this morning: How to drive fast and safe: Driving tips from Lamborghini – Time Travel Turtle. It seems to be strangely relevant. […]

  • candice michelle | May 17, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    Love to know this! this very adventurous experienced that I will treasure for my entire life!

    • Michael Turtle | May 20, 2012 at 9:18 pm

      Yeah, I felt pretty adventurous, that’s for sure!

  • An Italian Fairytale: Three Days with Lamborghini - twoOregonians | May 18, 2012 at 8:21 am

    […] Chief Driving Instructor Max Venturi gave an expert’s overview on the fundamental keys for speed on the track: hand/foot positions and braking/accelerating patterns on the corners. (See classmate Michael’s summary of How to Drive Fast and Safe.) […]

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  • oferte bulgaria 2012 | May 24, 2012 at 6:30 pm

    Hello, can you tell me if anyone can do this or you need something special for this academy? Thanks a lot

    • Michael Turtle | May 25, 2012 at 4:58 pm

      Hi, anyone can sign up for it. There are no requirements in term of skills. All you need is the money to be able to pay for it… 🙂

  • 11 Questions With Max Venturi at Lamborghini | Discommon | May 25, 2012 at 2:41 am

    […] a lot to Max for taking the time and to Michael Turtle over at the blog Time Travel Turtle who did a great piece on the Lamborghini Driving Academy. The picture at the top is his. […]

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  • Bernard Yap | Dec 11, 2012 at 12:09 am

    Hello, do you mind if I ask is this academy just only one day?

    • Michael Turtle | Dec 11, 2012 at 1:22 am

      The academy is just for one day (but there’s a briefing the evening before as well). But Lamborghini doesn’t run it all the time. They have special courses only every so often. The best thing would be to check out their website and see when the next most convenient one for you would be, if you’re interested.

  • Driving Instructor North Lakes | May 9, 2013 at 8:57 pm

    Hey Michael, you mean to this training session comes only once in a week, right..?

    • Michael Turtle | May 11, 2013 at 3:41 am

      It only happens a couple of times a year – although there are sometime some extra ones they do in special places. The best thing to do is check the website and see what’s available in 2013.

  • John | Jun 9, 2013 at 2:41 pm

    Most of the road accidents takes place when vehicles takes turn or you can say while they approach to the corner. Learning those techniques in the track will remain as an asset for the drivers to drive well in the normal traffic roads too. Thanks for sharing this piece of gem.

    • Michael Turtle | Jun 23, 2013 at 12:51 am

      Exactly! Although these tips were shared in the context of a racetrack, everyone who drives can use them to be safer on the roads.

    • Jan Thornton | Jan 15, 2015 at 8:09 pm

      You are spot on. Taking turn is a very crucial time for a driver and maximum attention is required at that time. There is another thing which is also responsible for a big number of accidents. Competition. Especially youngsters makes this mistake most of them time.
      Jan Thornton recently posted..MainPageMy Profile

      • Michael Turtle | Jan 30, 2015 at 4:29 am

        Definitely! And that’s why a bit of education and understanding of how cars react on the road would make everyone a lot safer!

  • Bradenton Insurance | Dec 31, 2014 at 7:42 pm

    I really appreciate these tips and I’m going to go show it to a couple of my friends that are kind of scary drivers. They almost always accelerate when going around a corner and in a canyon at that. I hope this helps to convince them accelerating around a corner is not the best way to turn.

  • EL's Driving School | Jan 29, 2015 at 10:03 pm

    The lambo’s look absolutely stunning! Would love to take one for a spin.

    • Michael Turtle | Jan 30, 2015 at 2:00 am

      They are beautiful cars, indeed. Maybe you should look into this driving school and see if there’s a chance for you to try it out sometime!

  • Hembenngua Wangi | May 21, 2015 at 6:59 am

    Thanks michael for the info. cars are my passion and Im just learning to drive and researching on many driving techniques. i like sports car especially however im training on an old toyota and learning to drive safe is how i want to do it. That was a great Lambo there and sometime later im going to be in one.

    • Michael Turtle | Jun 13, 2015 at 1:26 pm

      You cna still use most of these tips on your old Toyota, which is why I thought it was really interesting to learn a bit more about it. Maybe one day you’ll have a Lambo, if that’s the dream! 🙂

  • Randolph Hoover | Jun 4, 2015 at 7:24 am

    Wow. That was so cool Michael! If I had this kind of experience, I would say no instead. It always made me curious if Sports cars had the same configuration just the standard ones.
    Randolph Hoover recently posted..Toyota3My Profile

    • Michael Turtle | Jun 13, 2015 at 1:56 pm

      Maybe one day you’ll be able to try it for yourself. Good luck!

  • Patrick | truck driving training | Aug 6, 2015 at 8:47 am

    Lamborghini is my dream car! I really want to have one, but it’s too expensive. Even though I have one of it. I cannot use it because shame on me I don’t know how to drive. My father won’t let me enroll in a driving school he doesn’t trust my driving skills. He is afraid that I might be involved in an accident and die. Seriously, he is thinking that way. Sooner or later I will really enroll in driving school.
    Patrick | truck driving training recently posted..Taking Driving Lessons is a PrivilegeMy Profile

    • Michael Turtle | Aug 26, 2015 at 8:05 pm

      Well, the good thing about a driving school is that the emphasis is on how to be safe, not how to go fast. Once you understand the basics and have good handling skills, then you can do trickier things.

  • 5 Real People That Sound Like Fictional Badasses - Viral Seekers | Jan 6, 2016 at 10:37 am

    […] Look at that guy: If he walked into a bar, you would jokingly turn to your friends and say, “He’s probably named Max Venturi and test drives Lamborghinis.” And you would get a laugh, because it nails down the ridiculously unreasonable standards that guy is setting for himself. It looks like he learned what “cool” was from a 1980s movie about fighter pilots. But then you’d go talk to him, and he would introduce himself as … Max Venturi, official test driver for Lamborghini. […]

  • David | Lamboghini Driving Experiences | May 11, 2016 at 6:21 pm

    Thanks for that write up, still adds value now. Although Max was teaching you to phase out the brake then remain of both break and accelerator for a short time as you reach apex before pinning the throttle, do you know if that’s how he would have done it himself?

    I know sometimes the techniques that are taught are more simplified that the way the professionals do things themselves and was wondering if that was the case here, I know its a different league, but when watching F1 you get the dials that show when and how much break / throttle the drivers are applying and they are never off both the break and throttle, often on both mid corner.

  • Jonathan morrison | Jul 12, 2016 at 8:25 am

    Lamborghini , everyone dream car to ride because of its comfort and high class . Do i need special driving lesson to ride Lamborghini ?

    • Michael Turtle | Aug 7, 2016 at 12:19 am

      For this course you don’t need to have any special skills – just a driver’s license. They’ll teach you everything you need to know!

  • Hafiz Faiz | Nov 22, 2016 at 12:49 pm

    Really informative Article..! it can be helpful for Driving Learner. Driving is not big thing but arrive your destination safely is very important.

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