The Lamborghini Academy was introduced to China earlier this month, the first time the Italian manufacturer has taken its super sports car driving experience outside Europe for its customers.
‘The Asia-Pacific region has become the most important market for Lamborghini,‘ explains Christian Mastro, general manager of Automobili Lamborghini Asia-Pacific. ‘With a year-on-year increase in sales of 60 per cent, Asia-Pacific, and especially China, has emerged as the frontrunner in global sales.’
The Lamborghini Academy allows super sports car drivers to explore the ultimate potential of a Lamborghini in the safety of a circuit under the guidance of professional instructors.
For China, the course will be offered at the Shanghai Formula One Circuit, with the models used being the Gallardo LP 560-4 and Gallardo LP 550-2.
He says that the arrival of the Lamborghini Academy in China is ‘an epitome of Lamborghini’s brand spirit and a major complement in Lamborghini’s overall strategic plan in China’.
‘Due to this spectacular growth, it became necessary to continue our investment in the region, not only in terms of setting up a regional headquarter office in Beijing, but also by offering our growing customer base additional opportunities to get behind the wheel of all types of Lamborghini models,’ says Mr Mastro.
In addition, more and more Lamborghini vehicles are also being driven on the roads of cities such as New Delhi, Tokyo and Sydney, although the total numbers remain relatively small compared with other super sports car brands. In 2009, Lamborghini’s total production was 1,253 units.
Before setting up in Shanghai, the Lamborghini Academy has been held at various race tracks around the world, such as Vallelunga in Italy and Sachsenring in Germany. Winter driving in a Gallardo is also possible in Cortina, northern Italy.
‘The rapid growth of the Chinese market and the thriving super sports car culture in China gives Lamborghini full confidence in introducing the Academy to China,’ says Mr Mastro.
The Academy will also travel to other Asia-Pacific countries, but for now, he declines to reveal the cost of Lamborghini’s investment.
‘We are currently in the process of outlining the entire programme throughout the Asia-Pacific markets,’ he says. ‘The budget is yet to be fully defined as the cost of holding the academies varies greatly from country to country; the overall budget and total spending for 2011 remains under consideration.’
This article was first published in The Business Times.