Now, this? This is a road I know. I’ve driven down the Puri-Konark Marine Drive, the beautiful seaside stretch not far away from Bhubaneswar, only once before and several years before, but it was etched so indelibly in my memory, I can almost recognise the corners as I approach them today. The moment I’d heard we’d be going to Odisha, I knew this had to be the road around which this adventure was crafted.
The beautiful Puri-Konark Marine Drive is also beautifully maintained.
The sense of familiarity turns to confidence, making its way from my brain through to my palms as they grip the Alcantara steering wheel, and to my right foot as it rests resolutely on the accelerator pedal. There’s no need for Strada mode here; it’s Sport all the way. The few speed breakers and sharp corners are clearly marked well in advance, the tarmac is beautifully smooth and blemish free, and though it’s only a two-lane road, each side is wide enough and there’s even some run-off as a bit of relief. It’s a driver’s dream.
Now, though I know this road in particular, there’s surely a lot more to see, not just here in Puri, but in Bhubaneswar proper, and so, once again, I’ve enlisted the help of a local resident to show me the sights and sounds. He’s supposed to meet me here, and well, the sound arrives before the sight.
I flick the paddle up to a higher gear to quiet down my Huracán, so I can have a clearer listen to the sound of a second Huracán approaching at full chat. The V10 scream echoing off the canopy of trees in this wooded area heralds the arrival of a very special version of Lamborghini’s smaller supercar.
A flash of his headlights as the sound gets louder is all the greeting I need; I move about a foot left to give him a wider berth, and watch as the matte blue blur whizzes past. Lamborghinis – it’s addictive even to just be a spectator. Luckily, today I’m no spectator. The blue car barks out a few downshifts as it starts to slow, but I flash my lights and he gets the message, and soon both cars bolt off, shrieking away in unison.
The road snakes through the woods for a bit, with the odd break in the trees giving us a brief glimpse of the sea in the distance. Once we find a comfortable rhythm, the two cars do a bit of a synchronised dance down the road. It’s quite a heady pace, too, and I feel the LDVI system, the electronic brain of the Huracán Evo I’m driving, is getting a pretty decent workout. There are sudden changes in pace, a few corners wind in on themselves, and there’s even some mild elevation change.
I’m trying to get a glimpse of some of the special details on the car in front of me, but it’s hard to focus on anything else when you’re having so much fun. And then, round a light bend, the trees give way to tall, buttery white sand dunes and the salty smell of the sea starts to waft in. Not long after, the dunes drop away entirely and there it is in all its glory – the Bay of Bengal.
Air Force One
We break off the main road, down a sort of driveway that leads right down to the beach. A quick lift of the nose and I cautiously roll onto the bare sand itself. By now our crew has caught up with us and I can see Gaurav darting out of the support car, camera shutter already firing. Two Huracáns parked on a pristine beach together? This is teenagers’ bedroom wall poster stuff right here.
But I’m curious to meet the person who’s led me to this postcard-perfect spot, and about the car he’s driving. Arpit Mohanty bursts out of the driver’s seat enthusiastically and meets me with a big handshake and a hug (these were pre-COVID-19 times). “Gavin! Welcome to Odisha,” he says, warmly and with a glimmer of pride in his eye.
He shows me the lay of the land, where the famous Konark Sun Temple is, how far the beach goes, and which direction Bhubaneswar is. He’s also quite keen to tell me about the work the authorities have been doing to keep this beach, and the road, in this incredible condition. “The government does a lot of Eco Tourism work here,” he tells me. “In fact, they had a three-month-long Eco Festival right on this beach, with a concert full of big musicians, watersports and even 30 cottages specially built.” That was mere weeks ago, and you certainly can’t tell looking at the spotless beach right now.
I learn more about Arpit and his hometown, but soon enough, the conversation turns to his car. “How did you manage to get your hands on one of these?” It’s a Huracán Avio LP610-4, a special edition, with a limited run of 250 units worldwide, and only three of them made it to India.
Aviation-themed Huracán Avio is one of three in India and 250 in the world.
Meant to celebrate the Italian air force, it was available in one of five unique dual-tone paint schemes, my favourite of which is this subtle matte finish Blu Grifo. I absolutely love the offset white double pinstripe running the length of the car, the white mirrors and the white skirting all around. Then, of course, there are the contrast red brake calipers on this car, and the L63 (Lamborghini – 1963, the year the company was founded) and the Italian air force tricolour roundel, which is quite similar to what you’ll find on our own IAF aircraft. This fascinating level of detail continues inside, with the L63 roundel logo embroidered on the seats and a plaque that says ‘1 of 250’. And just to turn the wick up even further, he’s put an aftermarket exhaust on it.
“I got lucky, honestly,” Arpit tells me. “I wanted a Huracán LP580-2; in fact, I even placed the order. But while I waited to take delivery, Lamborghini called to say they had this very special car available, and that too in my favourite colour, blue. And well, of course, I said yes!”
Arpit managed to snag not just a limited-edition Huracán, but one in his favourite colour too.
Sky’s The Limit
Arpit, ever the gracious host, wants us to try the local Oriya fare, and offers to take us for a meal unlike anything we’ve tried before. How could we say no? As it turns out, however, leaving the beach isn’t going to be quite as easy as it was reaching it. The on-ramp is narrow, with little space for a U-turn, so both Huracáns are tasked with a delicate, multi-point turn to get out. But then it strikes me, these are modern cars with parking sensors and rear-view cameras, and so in a move I never thought I’d ever make, I find myself backing all the way up the ramp; it’s as easy as pie.
The wide roads in Bhubaneswar make it easy to drive a supercar everyday.
Roaring back to Bhubaneswar is even more entertaining than the drive up here, now that I have company. And company that knows every corner, dip and crest of this road perfectly. With a fast lead car ahead of me, it’s far easier to carry more speed into and out of corners, and let’s just say Arpit has no intention of slowing the pace. And why should he; the roads are just brilliant and conducive to putting down every last one of the 640 horses. Rear-wheel steer, torque vectoring and the four-wheel-drive system, they’re all working together to make my life so much easier in this Huracán Evo.
Smart City Of Temples
The pair of Lamborghinis make a relatively subdued entrance to the city, grumbling low like a pair of prowling big cats as they navigate the urban jungle. Weaving calmly between rickshaws and motorcycles, I do notice one thing, however. The roads are impressively wide and well marked here, and there’s a pretty decent sense of order to the traffic. I don’t even have to exercise the nose lift function as much as last time, because the speed breakers all seem to be built to a comfortable regulation size. What a welcome environment in which to drive a supercar. Bhubaneswar may be traditionally known as the City of Temples, but it’s also classified as a Smart City.
You’ll find great contrasts in the City of Temples; like the calm inside the Ram Mandir, and the hustle on the outside.
On the way to that epic meal, Arpit’s taking me on a small, impromptu tour of the city. Amidst all the bustle is the Ram Mandir, bang on the main street, where we stop for a few photographs. Understandably, the cars are swamped by curious passers-by, and we’re quick to get moving again to avoid causing a traffic jam, but from what Arpit tells me, supercars actually aren’t that uncommon a sight here.
Bhubaneswar locals are quite used to the sight of supercars roaming the streets.
There’s a decently sized exotic car community here, including one rather rare Lamborghini Aventador SV, and of course, Arpit’s Avio is quite a regular on these roads. In fact, as we pull up for lunch, there are already a few petrolheads waiting to greet us. And by that I don’t mean pounce haphazardly at the cars to take selfies and then disappear but genuine enthusiasts curious to know more about the cars, who have their own blogs that they share with us, and happily, all readers and viewers of Autocar India as well.
Two-finger swipe, an easy shortcut for audio volume on Huracán Evo’s new touchscreen.
The meal was as novel and even more extravagant than described, and with that we say goodbye to our host and go out for one last blast around town. The Huracán Evo, by now, feels like home to me. The controls and switchgear, with all the quirkiness and extravagance of a supercar, and nothing like your average sedan, are now etched into my muscle memory. I can reach for the nose lift switch without looking, I know the door pocket is just the right size for my phone, and if I want to turn the music down and hear the engine, I’ve realised it’s a simple two-finger swipe of the touchscreen away. It’s all come together to make exploring this city just as easy and enjoyable as any other road trip. Okay, who am I kidding, a whole lot more enjoyable.