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Mike Stevens | Aug 3, 2009

LAMBORGHINI HAS RELEASED a short 'documercial', offering more than a glimpse of its special Lamborghini Gallardo LP 550-2 Valentino Balboni Edition in action.

Valentino Balboni has been Lamborghini's principal test driver since 1973, inadvertently gathering his own unique fan base in the decades since.

While clearly a modest man, Balboni is not bashful about the accomplishment that has lead to this special edition Lamborghini named in his honour: "I think it would be difficult to find somebody who has done more kilometres in a Lamborghini than I have."

The sheer delight on Balboni's face when describing the special edition Lambo is testament to the man's commitment to the Italian supercar-maker.

"Two-wheel drive and, you know… a little more… sporty settings for suspension, to enjoy the performance," Balboni said.

"I will never forget the first time I took a Lamborghini on the road. You can never forget this kind of thing, this day. This was a special day, you know. You have to understand the car, you have to become… one piece, only.

"You have to feel without hearing, or to see without seeing, what the car is telling you or how the car is reacting."

As its name suggests, the LP550-2 develops 550 horsepower (405kW) from a slightly detuned version of the 5.2 litre V10 found in the LP560-4, sending the lot to the rear wheels only.

It’s the first rear-wheel-drive Lamborghini since the Diablo of the 1990s, and for a lot of Lambo enthusiasts signals a return to purity for the supercar manufacturer.

lamborghini-balboni-edition

Ditching the front axles, differential and transfer case has netted significant weight savings for the RWD Gallardo, which weighs in at a relatively light 1380kg.

The result is a blistering 0-100km/h time of 3.9 seconds, while top speed is a heady 320km/h.

"I don't think I am a legend, but I can tell you I am very proud when people recognise me as a Lamborghini representative," Balboni said.

"I still don't believe this, it is a very big honour for me.

"This is something that is very touching, you know, after so many years… having a car, let's say, dedicated to my name. It is a very strong emotion."

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