MEET Mario Fasanetto. He’s Lamborghini’s chief test driver and has helped shape every modern Lamborghini since the Countach.
Many would say you have the best job in the world? Do you see it that way?
Yeah, it is. I’m really lucky because my job is what I love to do. It’s always been my passion to become a test driver. I was born in a small town near Sant’Agata and I remember when I saw my first Lamborghini. I was really excited and saw a white Countach, and for me it was like a space shuttle. It was amazing, I was so surprised by it. Life is strange. I’m very happy.
How long have you been a test driver?
I started in 1985 at Lamborghini, so 32 years ago, and I became a test driver in 1993. After that I moved to different area inside Lamborghini, so aftersales test driver, production, and since 1998 in R&D, which is one of the most interesting area of the factory because that’s where we test all the new prototypes and all the new parts going into production for the future. In my point of view, the new Huracan Performante is a car I’ve already been testing for a couple of years, so it’s not new to me. This is a closed project, I’m already working on something new. That’s the best part of my job. I see the cars many years before everyone else. It’s amazing.
How do today’s cars compare to past Lamborghinis?
When I started in 1985 we had the Countach QV5000, 4 valve, and the Jalpa, 3.5 litre eight cylinder. Compared to our new cars it was a totally different universe, not just a different world. Totally different. These were cars you were really able to drive, they had no electronic controls, and they were really hard. The cockpit was really tight, even for me and I’m not so tall. But they were amazing. Those cars gave me big satisfaction.
You’ve helped create every modern Lamborghini. Do you have a favourite?
Each car has some different characteristics and I can’t tell you just one. But for each model, I’ll tell you what variant I enjoy to drive. For Diablo it was the GT, it was a really amazing version. The Murcielago, the SV, same for Aventador. Both are just unbelievable to drive. And for Huracan it is the Performante.
But if you had to have one…
I’d take the Aventador. Or Performante. The Aventador’s lines and the noise are amazing. But the Performante, it’s not easy to leave behind on the track. It’s really, really fast.
Have you ever crashed?
Yeah…sometimes it just happens. 95 percent of my job is on the track so sometimes it’s unavoidable. I’m not always driving the standard car and I’m testing new components and sometimes when I have to test the limit of a new component…well, when you find the limit it’s normal that something happens. But that’s part of the game because I have to find the limit and then make sure we improve it for the customer.
How do the police treat you?
It depends. Sometimes they stop me just to check out the car because even for them, they love the car. But if you exceed with the speed there is no way they let me off. So I have to be careful. Though the police in this area know these cars and they know the type of job we are doing, so even for them this is something to be proud about.
Emission rules mean future Lamborghinis are going to be different. Are you still excited about them?
Even if the future cars are going to change a lot, they are really exciting because we can always do more. They will be faster but always safer. And from my point of view that’s really important because we have a big amount of horsepower and for the standard driver it is not easy to control. So a big part of my job is to make the car easy to drive. You don’t have to be scared when driving our cars, but you have to be excited and leave with a big smile and much satisfaction.
What’s the Urus like?
I drive Urus almost all day, every day. That’s my focus. And…I can’t tell you more. Sorry.
What’s an average day look like for a Lamborghini test driver?
I have different type of standard day. In the factory I wake up at 6:15am, then drive 20km to work, have a small meeting and leave about 6pm. At the track, which is far away from the factory, I start about 7am and then test all day. Some days I’m still on track until 7 or 8pm.