Valentino Balboni, former chief test driver at Lamborghini, recalls a simpler time

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In this online exclusive, Balboni looks back on his time as a test driver – when each Lambo was developed by a small tight-knit team with few restrictions and ample allocation of resources – and considers how things have changed for evaluators today.

The way we grew up at Lamborghini was to test a prototype – not just its components but the whole car. It was wonderful to go out on the road for the first time. Only four or five people would be involved in developing a prototype. [Back then] the objective was always to test the prototype and then to refine the components later. Over the months, we would test the individual components, the engine, suspension and so on.

We used to test on public roads near the company’s base. Lamborghini always used to develop its cars on public roads because these are the conditions that the customer will drive on. Then we would go to Nardò later in the testing cycle.

It required a lot of energy but it was much more rewarding. These days it’s very different; there are specialist test drivers for suspension, the drivetrain and other elements of the car – I have a lot of respect for the modern test driver.

You’ll find a feature on test driving in today’s vehicle development sphere in the March 2021 issue of ATTI, online here.

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