At just on twenty-five grand, plus that much again on a few well-chosen performance mods for that extra ‘go’, our 2003 Subaru Impreza WRX track car is worth but a fraction of the cost of a Lamborghini Gallardo LP 550-2 Balboni.
You’ll need to slap down near enough to half a million big ones for your own set of keys to one of these ultra limited Lamborghini’s. Only 250 will ever be produced.
It’s a similar story with Porsche’s hard-core GT3 model, which comes with a factory fitted roll cage and driver’s racing harness as standard kit.
That said with a list price of $273,500 (for the MY10 model), it represents a relative bargain when compared with the Balboni, but then again, it’s not a Lamborghini.
So you can imagine our delight when we arrived at Queensland’s Morgan Park race circuit for some additional tyre testing in our humble WRX, and cast our eyes upon no less than three brightly coloured Balboni’s and a couple of matching 997 GT3’s, armed and ready for some high speed track work organised by Stokell Motorsports.
Did I mention the Nissan R35 GT-R running a set of slicks? Normally, I would have snapped a photo of this track weapon, but all that euro eye candy was too greater attraction.
It’s little wonder why such esteemed company greeted us, given the blistering performance specs of all three models and a nation wide speed limit of 110km/h. Track days like these at least once a month are mandatory for owners of these cars.
The Balboni might be slightly down on power when compared with its all-wheel-drive V10 powered Gallardo siblings, but with a 120 kilogram weight advantage, things pretty much even out in the power stakes.
Top speed is a ballistic 320km/h and in this country, that could mean a life sentence in a government facility. Launch the car from a standing start though, and you’ll slingshot to 100km/h in sub four seconds.
Porsche’s 997 GT3 on the other hand, is more a street legal tarmac chaser. Fit a set of slicks, and you may as well refer to it as a bona fide race car, such is its ability to demolish both corners and straights with equal aplomb.
It’s rear mounted 3.6-litre dry sump engine produces 309kW and 405 Newton-metres of torque, and when that tachometer needle nudges 8400 rpm down the main straight, you want to hope you’re wearing some earplugs, as the metallic shrill this thing lets out, is deafening.
The GT3 is fractionally slower that the Balboni and needs 4.1 seconds to accelerate from 0-100km/h, but hits 160km/h in 9.2 seconds. Quick is a word that comes to mind, and its ungoverned top speed is 310km/h.
More impressive is the GT3s ability to corner flat at ridiculous speeds without losing its line or in some cases, with very little brake required.
It’s worth noting too that both the Lamborghini’s and Porsches were running road tyres and not semi-slicks, as was the Nissan GT-R.
In 2008, we drove the razor sharp Superleggera (and its LP540-4 Gallardo Spyder sibling) through the Italian Alps over three days and got to know it very well. After listening to the Balboni at flat stick on the track, I can assure you that it sounds every bit as good, if not better, than its all-wheel-drive V-10 brother.
The small badge below the right side window clearly states as to why this car is so special, apart from the limited build number, of course.
Valentino Balboni started work at Lamborghini in the small rustic town of Sant’Agata in Northern Italy in 1968, as an apprentice mechanic.
He was hired by Ferruccio Lamborghini himself, and went on to become the company’s chief test driver, which has seen him drive almost every car that Lamborghini has ever built.
He holds legendary status within Lamborghini, who decided to dedicate a special car to him, The Gallardo “LP550-2 Valentino Balboni Edizioni Limitata 250” is that car, and there just happens to be three of these stunners here at Morgan Park today.
Some would say that’s a miracle, or Lamborghini Australia has some very serious connections in Italy.
While we were too busy trying to stay with this collection of high powered rockets in our lessor powered Subaru, Chris McCormack of Stokell Motorsports, got to drive a few fast laps in the Balboni and climbed out of the cockpit with what looked like a decent size grin on his face.
He told me that it didn’t feel like a two-wheel-drive although; there was some slip angle through the tighter turns, whereas the Superleggera will hold its line no matter how hard you turn in.
He also said that the gear changes on the Balboni, which uses a traditional six-speed manual box (you can option E-gear), are quite a bit smoother than the semi-violent shifts of the Superleggera, when you’re in the Corsa track-mode.
Midway down the straight with engines screaming, both the GT3s and Lamborghini’s sounded like full-blown GT racing at Le Mans.
One earful of this music is more than enough motivation to sell your house, downsize, and go straight to your preferred dealership and order one of these beautiful machines.
While I could go on and tell you about how our WRX held its own amongst all this exotica, the glory goes to the heavy hitters from Santa’Agata Bolognese and Stuttgart.
This is what I call artwork, pure and simple.