Drive of a Lifetime: The Huayra on Track
Getting into the driver’s seat

Up until the point I stepped into the Pagani Huayra and hit the start button, the line between fast cars and supercars was still a little blurry to me. Performance is not just about numbers; it’s not purely defined by acceleration and top speed, it goes far deeper than that. It was thankfully due to a change of plan that I was lucky enough to make such a realization, as the day before I was to take the Huayra around the mountain roads that circle Lake Garda in Northern Italy, Luca Venturi  – Pagani’s PR man – decided to call the guys at Autodromo di Modena to see if the track happened to be free the following day.

Dino Dream Pagani Drive-3

Thankfully it was. With so much shooting to do that day up in Verona we decided it would be better to run a Dream Drive around this technical little track just outside Modena city. After all, after a quick confirmation from Luca, it turned out I was to be the first journalist to ever take the Huayra for a proper hot lap session on track. No pressure then!

Dino Dream Pagani Drive-22

With the shots with Davide Testi completed, and the Huayra nicely warmed up, it was my turn to jump into the driver’s seat.

Dino Dream Pagani Drive-26

Their development car would be all mine to explore; something that began with a little quiet time in the cabin by myself.

Dino Dream Pagani Drive-4

I’ve been lucky enough to drive some pretty awesome machinery over the years but my God was this on a whole new level! Intimidating doesn’t even begin to describe what the freshly-gold-wrapped Huayra looked like sitting there in the empty pit lane with its driver’s side door lifted open.

Dino Dream Pagani Drive-24

I wondered what such beautifully crafted and engineered perfection would feel like out on track. Should I take it easy, drive within my comfort zone, make sure I bring it back in one piece, or should I just go for it, as opportunities like these just don’t come around every day. So as I sat there with all these scenarios going through my head, which included brutal spins and crashes, Luca and Davide reassured me to go for it: “it’s an easy car to drive, just have fun!”

Dino Dream Pagani Drive-51

Davide quickly explained how the different ESC modes can be selected via the steering wheel-positioned button, and I opted to go for the most extreme ESC-on setting which would allow the car to move around a little bit before the electronics intervened.

Dino Dream Pagani Drive-27

Before I headed out there was one final thing to do: set up the GoPro that would be capturing video and stills during this, the most exciting drive of my life.


The Autodromo di Modena is a very cool little technical track. Recently finished, it offers some pretty impressive facilities, lots of space to play with and billiard smooth tarmac around its 2km road course. While you aren’t going to see crazy speeds on its main straight it turned out to be a superb venue to push the Huayra beyond what I thought was initially possible. Let me elaborate…

Dino Dream Pagani Drive-14

So with the GoPro on, the okay from the track and the thumbs up from Luca and Davide, I pulled the gear selectors back from neutral into drive, engaging first, and gently set off down the pit lane.

Hitting the track
Dino Dream Pagani Drive-2

Those first few laps felt so alien: the sounds, the smells the whole ambience of the Huayra continued to make me feel completely out of my element. It felt like I was driving some strange spaceship, the tactile experience alone continuously reminding you that you aren’t sitting in your everyday mid-engined sports car.

For such an imposing car, the Huayra began to shrink around me and I started to push a little harder, each corner, each prod of the throttle and each upshift all beginning to slowly feel normal.

Dino Dream Pagani Drive-5

The Autodromo throws a variety of corners.


You first pile on the speed and let the monster V12 annihilate the straight, as you make your way towards the first section, braking hard down from about 220 km/h and take the first right-hander, where both the brakes and front end are put to the test.

Dino Dream Pagani Drive-46

And it was the handling that really blew me away initially.


The car weighs 1,350 kg, translating into a perceivable nimbleness through the steering and, well,  your ass. You’re always aware of the big mass sitting behind your shoulders so while that does give typical mid-engined behavior there was a whole level of control that I’ve seldom felt before.

Dino Dream Pagani Drive-6

The front end bites down so hard there is always grip there and even if you overdo it, understeer sets in ever so gradually.

Dino Dream Pagani Drive-36

The rear end is sublimely set-up; there is immense grip and traction coming out of the corners but it all depends on how you control the power. Act like a hooligan and even those massive 335-section Pirelli P Zero Corsas are going to light up in an instant, but diligently feed the 1000Nm (737 lb/ft) of torque and you will shoot out of turns with incredible pace. There’s a race car-like level of tightness in the chassis: the stiffness and the rigidity is at the core of the performance and you’re aware of this at every moment on track as the suspension interacts with whatever you throw at it and supplies the most unspoiled stream of information through the steering.


Take into account that this development car has covered a very hard 90,000km and this becomes even more impressive. If it feels so tight at 90k, what on earth does a new and fresh off-the-production-line Huayra feel like?!

Dino Dream Pagani Drive-8

And then, then there is the engine. I don’t care what people say- sure the Zonda’s naturally aspirated V12 will forever remain one of the best motors fitted to a road car ever, but this new force-induced V12 from AMG is very much a worthy successor, one that fits in perfectly with our times and the single aspect that gives this car its persona.

Dino Dream Pagani Drive-9

The Huayra’s throttle deserves a lot of respect, it doses what has to be the most violent engine I’ve ever sampled. Turbo lag? This thing has the absolute opposite of lag, in fact it’s more explosive than an NA motor of similar power, as from anywhere in the rev range it just unleashes the most brutal wave of torque you could possibly imagine.

Oversteer is there pretty much in any gear and with any perfectly set up car you know exactly how and when it comes in…

Dino Dream Pagani Drive-38

… either using it to your advantage through corners to trim your line or just playing around and letting the tail kick out.

Dino Dream Pagani Drive-47

Add to all of this the sound of fluttering blow off valves and the underlying thunder of the 6 liter V12 underneath it, and well, it all just adds to the surreal experience.

Visceral experience

It’s almost hard to describe how it feels to throw a car worth upwards of 1.3 million Euros around like it was a hot hatch, but the Huayra is so mechanically well set up and balanced, that you quickly begin to trust it and dare I say, almost take liberties with it. And that’s when you really start to have fun.

Dino Dream Pagani Drive-37

The active aero is a joy to see in action, it’s always reacting to what the car is doing: its speed, the steering angle, the pressure on the throttle and of course the brakes.

Dino Dream Pagani Drive-12

The massive Brembo calipers at each corner are mated to equally large carbon ceramic rotors that take all the abuse you could possibly throw at them. You can trust them, you know the pedal will always be there, tight and progressive right from the top of its travel and ready to shed as much speed as you need, effortlessly and without drama.

If you recall during the Pagani Factory Tour that I posted a few weeks back, I touched on the car’s transmission. Pagani did actually run and test a dual clutch transmission but the weight and size alone turned them off the idea. They ended up working with Xtrac who developed a compact (only 90kg!) transversally oriented single clutch seven-speed transaxle transmission which has no issues dealing with the crazy torque and power figures.

Dino Dream Pagani Drive-40

While it doesn’t offer an instant flat shift as a DSG unit would, it does have its own very distinct character and  despite there being a short momentary pause in the drive, the way it all happens adds to the Huayra’s driving experience rather than taking away from it. I loved how I sometimes shifted mid-corner, going from a second gear slide, up into third and then had the rear kick out again.


Yes, I was very happy!

Dino Dream Pagani Drive-1

While in most cases driving experiences of this nature are limited to a handful of hot laps that end before we realize what just happened, every time I came back in, Luca would tell me to go out again!

Dino Dream Pagani Drive-31

Do you still have gas? Yes. Then go! It’s hard not to give cheesy smiles when people keep insisting you continue to drive a car like the Huayra.

Dino Dream Pagani Drive-50

We did keep an eye on the tires too of course, but these specially developed Pirellis didn’t seem to be too bothered by the things I was asking them to do.

Redefining performance
Dino Dream Pagani Drive-15

So off I went again.

Dino Dream Pagani Drive-17

And then the more I drove it, the more I realized about that initial thought I opened with.


There are fast cars – plenty of them in fact, but there are very few that tap into your senses like the Huayra does. The term supercar is probably thrown around too easily these days…

Dino Dream Pagani Drive-18

… and that’s just plain wrong. It’s a classification that we should seldom use; it should be saved exclusively for a select crop of machines…

Dino Dream Pagani Drive-30

… cars that put the driver at the center of it all and put you through the most visceral driving experience you could possibly have this side of a fully blown race car. The Huayra, with the way it’s constructed, developed and put together, further adds to this as you’re always aware of just how much of a special creation you are piloting.


The end result is pure satisfaction. That is what a supercar should do.

Dino Dream Pagani Drive-25

Even the best things in life have to come to an end and it was hard not to share my emotions with two guys that get to experience this car on a daily basis. I now totally get it, it makes sense why those with the means not only would want to drop a substantial sum of money to have their very own Huayra, but in some cases need to own more than one.

Dino Dream Pagani Drive-21

After those few hours at the Autodromo di Modena we made the journey up to Verona where we shot the car in the streets of the historical town…

Dino Dream Pagani Drive-49

… before returning to the stunning Byblos Art Hotel, our home for the night. It was here that I had to say goodbye to the Huayra…

Dino Dream Pagani Drive-48

… a car that has helped me redefine how I look at performance cars from here on forth. Dream drives just don’t get more epic than this!

We would like to once again thank all the guys at Pagani Automobili and especially the Autodromo di Modena



Comments are closed.


by Oldest
by Best by Newest by Oldest

Sooooooo much better looking than the Zonda. Sounds great to boot, mucho jealous!


Un. Real. And those faces! ;)


Zonda is WAAAYY better looking, but thats a subjective thing.


today we envy you....a liiitle bit    :)


Amazing car. looks amazing, sounds amazing; I'm just jelly


Second pic up in the third chapter - I love the look on your face Dino! :)


Well, I'd say the Huayra belongs in the elite "hypercar" category rather than "supercar".


This car just sounds so evil like an old Group 5 or GTP car.

Harry bs allstar

'describe what the freshly-gold-wrapped Huayra looked like sitting there in the empty pit lane with its driver’s side door lifted open...' Easy. Liberace with legs akimbo. Last shot very cool, obviously just before Diamanté Transformer reverts back into a bejewelled trinket mirror-box on Cinderellas night stand...

Harry bs allstar

Hypedcar... \'^]


DINOOOO! You lucky guy! Lol, what an experience! Nice work!


The car suits you Dino!


Brad_S Yeah but not my bank account haha :)


Option86 Thanks :)


@zz Evil yes, lots of whooshing :)


jay8393 I'm not a great fan of that word, supercar is just used to describe way too many sports cars and performance cars these days.


SuzyWallace :D


koko san LOL, I still can't believe this day actually happened!


P1 Race Photography hehe, what could you possibly mean


Driveitlikeyoustoleit Zonda will remain a classic


Well pagani is so wonderful......i will share some of your photos in my website and won't edit your photo..i will give credit to you


How do you see your Gtr now after this mind-blowing drive?

I seriously thought he was your Asian brother until I looked again and realized he was you.


Looks more like a spaceship than a car to me :)


anyone notice the "Like" button not working?...


zomg those turbines are so loud


koko san you logged in yeah?


dovvv Yep but if a customer doesn't like that too much they can tone it down for you :)


Frank Kim Feels like one too


TheRobotCow Let's not go there....



AsheshShrestha Thanks


Invidioso al massimo,che esperienza dev'essere guidare un capolavoro simile!!! Ottimo report ed ottime foto come sempre,complimenti


speedhunters_dino koko san yes logged in. sometimes the likes show, sometimes not, maybe it's browser related.


speedhunters_dino using Chrome or Firefox on Ubuntu Linux OS


pecche Un'esperienza indimenticabile :) Grazie!!


a parte l'invidia in senso buono, che credo ogni persona amante di motori ha nei tuoi confronti, è bello leggere un report simile. le sensazioni che personalmente ho ogni volta che ascolto e sogno, vengono descritte perfettamente. sembrava di essere là con te (e magari fosse stato così). in ogni caso credo che le pagani siano la concretizzazione dei sogni in senso automobilistico. bellissime foto oltretutto e bella guida - vedere davide testi che guida la huayra al limite non fa ben apprezzare lo shock che ha una persona normale quando si mette al volante di un mezzo simile - è forse questo l'aspetto che più mi è piaciuto. complimenti per il tuo lavoro!


speedhunters_dino same thing in Windows OS using Firefox or I-explorer (i-explorer blocked this website from displaying content with security certificate errors)...not that I ever use I-explorer.  :)


StefanoSarsale Grazie Stefano per le belle parole :)


speedhunters_dino I agree. That term is being used loosely nowadays. But it takes a lot more for a car to be a "hypercar". Cars like the Veyron, Koenigsegg Agera, Huayra performs on a totally different level of performance they are not your average "supercars" like Lamborghini's Gallardo, McLaren MP4-12C and such.


There's nobody that deserved that drive more than you Dino.
Thank you for the brief insite into the essence of what makes Huayra what is it.


Where is the video ?


@guest What do you mean? There are 3 of them embedded in the post :)


Verdigrie Thanks man!!


The sound! The sound! The sound! Hahaha! I love that sound!


The Pagani Huayra is one of my favorite modern super cars! Sleek, super-light, super-fast and super luxurious! I love it!
Will -