One of the drawbacks of exotic cars is their temperamental nature. We rationalize this as part of the ownership experience-ungodly performance and drop-dead looks demand high-level maintenance. Though handsome, many exotics are difficult daily drivers.
The Lamborghini Gallardo isn't like that.
Oh, it's got the sexy part down pat, a smoldering sensuous sexy that makes men swoon and women ovulate. And fast? How's zero-to-60 mph in 3.2 seconds and a top speed of 200 mph?
The best part of the Gallardo is you can drive it every day-just like Porsche's 911 Turbo. It's a totally viable experience.
obsessionBlack SundayPurists may argue it's not a true Italian, that there's too much Audi in its bloodline. Bah. It's a proven fact that animals become stronger if they mix their genetic material. Even Darwin would agree that the Gallardo's pedigree has produced a fine creature.
A trio of devoted motorheads conspired to infuse the Gallardo with even more muscle. Enter Eric Kim, Dan Aspesi and Jason Heffner. Owner Kim is a long-time ec supporter and has collected a stunning stable of cars. Porsche, Ferrari, Lambo, Mercedes-Benz... Kim has them all. While managing his thriving apparel business (Monarch), Kim hooked up with his good friend Aspesi at The Speed Gallery (SG). The Speed Gallery is like Willie Wonka's factory, just substitute cars for chocolate. SG clients include folks in the movie industry, pro athletes and all manner of movers and shakers.
For the last 10 years, Kim and Aspesi have been racing shifter karts and various race cars in SG's stable. They've also played with more than a few street cars, typically buying the best and building upon the goodness already there. First stages of the Gallardo included big-bore throttle bodies, 100-cell catalysts and high-performance exhaust systems. The pair continued tweaking the V10, fighting hard for every naturally aspirated hp.
"We just weren't getting the numbers we wanted," recalls Kim. "All this work netted something like 50 hp. Aspesi suggested Heffner's twin turbo system. It was the only way to see substantial power gains."
Based in Sarasota, Florida, Jason Heffner has made a name for himself developing high-horsepower programs for a handful of high-end vehicles. This isn't a one-size-fits-all turbo kit but rather an exhaustive revision of the car's mechanicals matched to specially fabricated speed components. In this instance, Kim shipped a new Gallardo crate motor to Heffner to reduce the downtime (two to three weeks).
Heffner went through the entire engine before installing two Garrett GT-35R turbos. Compression was lowered to 9:1, via proprietary forged pistons and steel cylinder liners. The main rotating parts are polished, balanced and ultimately blueprinted before reassembly. Boost pressure runs at 8.5 psi, but that will be increasedafter Carillo rods go in.
Heffner fabricates all requisite plumbing pieces in-house: the intake system, mid- and downpipes, exhaust, oil feed lines and intercooler piping. A pair of Tial 38mm wastegates regulate pressure while a large Spearco water-to-air intercooler maintains charge temperatures. The factory ECU is augmented with an AEM auxiliary box and the fuel injector count is raised by 10, hence the car's prodigious appetite for petrol. A heavy duty clutch and pressure plate ensure the extra power is delivered accordingly.
The crew at SG made a special effort to increase cooling capabilities, installing a GTR-style aerodynamic kit with sizable air intakes and venting. The transparent engine cover was replaced with a perforated mesh unit and additional airflow is augmented with custom carbon fiber engine shrouding.
Heffner claims 800 hp. That's a big number, one that gets thrown around more than a Paris Hilton video.