As we pull up to the main Big Willow course of the Willow Springs International Raceway, the first thing we see is a row of candy-colored Lamborghinis lined up next to a portable lounge the Italians have set up for our comfort. It’s our first “group” automotive launch since Covid came down on the planet, so no one really knows exactly how to behave — all we know is we’re offered the opportunity to be the first to drive the rear-wheel-drive (RWD) version of Lambo’s spectacular Huracán EVO supercar. We’ll risk anything for that.
But soon we come to the realization the measures Lamborghini have taken on this international first-drive are long and cautious, including staggering waves so only two journalists are at Willow Springs at the same time — each on different events at different corners of this gigantic desert campus. When I walk up to my awaiting canary-yellow EVO Coupé, I notice they’ve even gone so far as to supply us with our own personalized carbon fiber Snell helmets. How considerate.
As we slip inside the black and banana-yellow Alcantara-wrapped womb of the Lambo any nervousness about a launch are quickly replaced by a swarm of butterflies going mental in my belly. Last time I drove the EVO Coupé was almost two years ago in Bahrain, on the distant middle eastern island nation’s Formula One racecourse. We hit 170-mph plus on the straights of the Bahrain International Circuit as a Super Blood Wolf Moon hung in the sky like a giant spotlight; it will be tough for anything to compare.
Of course that was with the EVO’s superb AWD system in place to keep things in order should our ambitions supersede abilities. If things ever got too far the Lambo’s LDVI supercomputer would tighten loose ends up quick. But that’s the beauty of these RWD models: with all power from the 5.2-liter V10 funneled exclusively to the rear axle, things can get squirrelly. Quick.
After pressing the ICBM-like Start button on the center console the cluster gauge lights up in ceremony across the bright display, complimented by a loud bark from the naturally-aspirated powerplant. Over the walkie talkie the professional driver ahead in the eggplant purple EVO tells me to follow him close as he edges onto the raceway. As soon as he’s rolls on track, it’s Go Time.
After a single warmup lap I’m giving chase in the Lambo at nearly full speed; by the third lap I’m sweating profusely just trying to keep up. The EVO is basically the Huracán 2.0, taking Lambo’s its engine and updating it with a detuned version of the Huracán Performante’s. That means 610-hp at 8,000 rpm and 413-lb ft of torque — enough virility to hit 202 mph, and to slingshot the EVO Coupé from 0-62 mph in 3.3 seconds. Sure that’s a tad slower than the 2.9 secs for the AWD EVO, but trust us you won’t notice.
On the flawless black asphalt of the Bahrain International Circuit the EVO with AWD stuck to the corners with cyborg-like precision, but on Willow’s much spottier tarmac, and with only RWD, the job of keeping the Coupé in order is much more difficult. Although Lambo’s new Performance Traction Control System is specifically calibrated for the rear-wheel drive model there’s plenty of action to get loose, as the P-TCS still supplies torque even as the EVO goes sideways. In Sport mode the system allows a full 15-degrees of yaw, or spin, before kicking in to save your overcooked ass.
Zipping through the EVO’s 7-speed dual-clutch transmission we pass 160-mph in furious racket, the naturally aspirated V10 filling the cabin with glee. Later in the afternoon we’ll take a snow white EVO Spyder out on the roads around Willow Springs Raceway, and the sound will be even more direct with no roof or glass to muffle its way between us and the roar screaming from the dual cannon exhaust ports. But we won’t come to speeds even remotely close to what we’re hitting on Big Willow’s long fast track, so the sound here is even more euphonic. What a joy.
After the track and before taking the EVO Spyder out on the winding roads that surround Tehachapi Mountain Park they’ll unleash us on a skid pad above the racetrack at an area called the Playpen, allowing us to really test out the EVO RWD’s traction… and lack thereof. Quickly it becomes clear just how easily even an unskilled driver like myself can modulate torque — quickly spinning the EVO like a Hanukah dreidel on the slick surface, or regain control by simply easing up on the throttle and letting the electronic wizardry catch tire friction.
But nothing quite compares to the track. Or maybe there is one point that does: when I step out of the supercar and head to the lounge to rehydrate with a tall glass of water. Standing there scanning the low-slung shape of the gleaming EVO allows one to consider what a stunning vehicle this is. Lamborghini Head Designer Mitja Borkert really outdid himself on this one, the EVO’s shapes and fractal surfaces seeming not unlike a cut gem in the autumn light.
Stunning design cues can be found everywhere, perhaps the nicest touch being the aforementioned dual exhaust ports defining the rear-end — raised high above the rear diffuser like twin cannons. In Bahrain Borkert revealed his inspiration for the artillery-like barrels came from one of his purest loves: MotoGP bikes. Seems clear now, menacing and dangerous.
Even though the RWD editions of the EVO Coupé and Spyder cut over $50,000 from the MSRP of AWD versions, don’t be fooled. These RWD are no compromised substitutes — they just may be the superior form of Lambo’s latest V10 supercar.
2021 Lamborghini Huracán EVO Coupé RWD
AS TESTED: $276,016