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.
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.
“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.”
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.”
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.
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.
“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 than 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.”
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:
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.
“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…
THE BEST ACCOMMODATION IN BOLOGNA
Bologna is a great place to base yourself to explore the region. Here are my tips for some of the best accommodation.
For a good budget option, I would suggest the Dopa Hostel near the city centre.
For an affordable hotel, Albergo Panorama has good rooms right in the town centre.
If you’re looking for an interesting design hotel, I would suggest Art Hotel Commercianti.
And to splurge, the Savoia Hotel Regency is probably the best in Bologna.
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.
34 thoughts on “How to drive fast and safe”
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!
I’m not sure when the next driving academy is going to be. Perhaps if you asked nicely… 🙂
Impressive! I can’t wait to have this experience next time I go to Italy!
Oh, you’ll love it! It’s such a great way to experience the Aventador!
Love to know this! this very adventurous experienced that I will treasure for my entire life!
Yeah, I felt pretty adventurous, that’s for sure!
Hello, can you tell me if anyone can do this or you need something special for this academy? Thanks a lot
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… 🙂
Hello, do you mind if I ask is this academy just only one day?
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.
Hey Michael, you mean to this training session comes only once in a week, right..?
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.
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.
Exactly! Although these tips were shared in the context of a racetrack, everyone who drives can use them to be safer on the roads.
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.
Definitely! And that’s why a bit of education and understanding of how cars react on the road would make everyone a lot safer!
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.
The lambo’s look absolutely stunning! Would love to take one for a spin.
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!
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.
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! 🙂
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.
Maybe one day you’ll be able to try it for yourself. Good luck!
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.
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.
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.
Lamborghini , everyone dream car to ride because of its comfort and high class . Do i need special driving lesson to ride Lamborghini ?
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!
Really informative Article..! it can be helpful for Driving Learner. Driving is not big thing but arrive your destination safely is very important. goo.gl/gJry9f
I’m a learner. Learning how to drive in my country (Bhutan) under driving institution. It’s been only four month I standing behind the wheel…
Sir your advice works a lot while I’m driving..
I Love To Own A Lamborghini
Thanks for these reminders. This will be a great experience for everyone. Keep on sharing.
Since childhood, I fell in love with the car. Lambo! It was my big dream.
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