Lamborghini Gallardo LP 550-2 Valentino Balboni
1st July, 2009
He has long been recognised as one of the many legends surrounding
one of the world's most uncompromising sports car brand - Valentino Balboni, a remarkable test driver with his
own unique persona. Automobili Lamborghini now presents a model in his honour and bearing his name - the Gallardo
LP 550-2 Valentino Balboni.
The latest version of the Gallardo, Lamborghini's most successful model of all time - overall, more than
9,000 units of the model range have already been manufactured - boasts not only its own distinctive design and
exclusive equipment, but its technology is unique too, as indicated by the model badge: the 550 stands for the
power output in hp and the 2 is for rear wheel drive.
For several decades, Valentino Balboni has had a distinct influence on the 'character' of the super sports car
bearing the sign of the bull. With his fine-tuning and testing work, he has helped to shape many automotive
legends, from the Lamborghini Miura of the 60s through to the current Gallardo and Murciélago models. Balboni
was hired in 1967 by company founder Ferruccio Lamborghini himself. From early on, it was evident that the
young Balboni had a special feel for cars, that most sensitive of all instincts that connects to the 'life
blood' of an automobile and defines the soul of a test driver.
"A Lamborghini must always combine the precision of a race car with the reliability of a good friend,"
says Balboni. Since 1973, he has sat at the wheel of every prototype built by the brand, and even many
production cars have passed through his hands before being delivered to their customers. This has turned Balboni
into one of the most important representatives of the brand, with an outstanding reputation and status among the
brand's enthusiasts and customers worldwide.
Limited to 250 units
After over 40 years with Lamborghini, Balboni is now retired. Yet, Valentino Balboni continues to travel to
many countries around the world as an ambassador of the brand.
The special exclusivity of the Gallardo LP 550-2 Valentino Balboni is guaranteed - it is limited to 250
Light-footed yet extremely safe
With this latest version of the Gallardo, Lamborghini is honouring its long-standing test driver in a very
special way. The LP 550-2 Valentino Balboni was conceived in line with his own thinking, and it meets many
customers' requests for a model with a unique 'character', which offers a very special kind of active driving
fun. The Balboni model is the only current Lamborghini that delivers its power to the road via its rear wheels
Rear wheel drive has a special appeal to those sports car drivers who enjoy a particular driving style.
Thanks to the eminently powerful V10 driveline, controlled oversteer is no problem - naturally always to the
extent defined by the driver - because refined road manners and perfectly tuned assistance systems mean that
the Gallardo LP 550-2 Valentino Balboni is an exceptionally safe sports car to drive.
Driving fun with unique character
In order to shape this unique 'character' that combines driving fun and safety, the engineers at Sant'Agata
Bolognese have incorporated extensive modifications into the LP 550-2 Valentino Balboni. It was not simply a
question of moving the transmission to the rear axle, the vehicle had to be adjusted and tuned in every element
of its driving dynamics. This includes springs, dampers, stabilisers and even the tyres. The aerodynamics were
also adjusted to take account of the change to the power flow.
The rear axle differential, with a 45 per cent limited slip, was also redeveloped, as was the calibration
of the e-gear transmission. One significant point was the adjustments made to the ESP system. While the
standard programme is focused on high stability, the CORSA programme permits greater drift angles, thus
enabling drivers to enjoy the dynamics of the LP 550-2 to their full extent.
Outstanding performance is guaranteed
Adjustments have also been made to the very heart of the Gallardo, the 5.2 litre ten-cylinder: the perfect
synthesis of hi-revving pleasure, pulling power, a constantly exuberant 'temperament' and a powerful symphony
played in all keys. In the Valentino Balboni, the compact and lightweight power unit generates 405 kW (550 hp).
At a dry weight of only 1,380 kilogrammes, this guarantees outstanding performance: the LP 550-2 is catapulted
from 0 to 100 km/h (0-62 mph) in a breathtaking 3.9 seconds, while the top speed of 320 km/h (199 mph)
guarantees its place among the ultimate in super sports cars.
Powerful elegance in its distinctive design
The Valentino Balboni is not only unique in terms of its technology: its design and equipment reinforce
its exclusivity. Its classic sporting character is emphasised by a colour strip in white and gold running
from the front panel over the roof and parts of the engine cover all the way to the rear spoiler, with
inspiration from the classic sports cars from the '70s. This colour treatment underscores the powerful
elegance of the Gallardo and emphasises the unique Lamborghini design 'DNA'. The Special Edition is
available in eight colours, from Bianco Monocerus through to Verde Ithaca, or Arancio Borealis to Nero
Noctis. The Scorpius wheels retain their dark grey finish, while the brake callipers come in black, orange
or yellow, depending on the exterior paint finish.
Classic sporting look for the interior, too
The characteristic colour combination is repeated in the interior. The basic colour of the full leather
upholstery is black. Both seats, however, feature the colour strip in white. The centre console is
completely upholstered in Polar white leather to provide a powerful accent. A badge below the left side
window bears the signature of Valentino Balboni and the production number of the car.
The exclusivity of the Valentino Balboni is augmented further by its extensive equipment. Alongside
several new leather features in the interior, there is also the transparent engine cover, the rear view
camera, the navigation system with Bluetooth and the lifting system for the front axle that makes it
easier to drive over obstacles. In addition to the extensive standard equipment, a list of further options
is available including e-gear transmission and carbon ceramic brakes.