Simply Abu Dhabi XX

2 4 4 S I M P LY A B U DH A B I “Today, Pagani the company has 100 people based in Italy for research, development and production, so it’s a small teamwith everything created in-house under my leadership.” “The Middle East has always been a key market for us. We developed a high performance supercar from scratch to cater to a global audience and one that is compliant with the toughest safety requirements.” To grasp the carbon fibre steering wheel of the Huayra, to sink into the leather race seat and gaze over the ridiculously ornate polishedmetal dash and trim is something you need to do slowly, to savour, to drink in. Everything is designed and built in-house with the exception of the Xtrac transmission and the Mercedes AMG-sourced engine. However, the engine is a bespoke unit not shared with any other Mercedes product. To start, I twisted a key that looked like a model of the Huayra carved from a solid billet of steel. I expected it to bark into life like a ferocious animal but it was the opposite. Almost like a jet engine spooling up, it was a smooth whir of starter motor followed by a gentle burble. After selecting first it was eerily quiet idling down Yas Marina’s pit lane which only added to the tension as I reached pit exit. Knowing that the auto is rear-wheel drive only, I cautiously eased on the gas, feeding in even less thanmy usual throttle percentage. But with this car, that was still akin to firing me like a canon straight over the blind crest to the first chicane. On track, the Huayra is simply breathtaking and is one of the fastest cars I’ve driven at Yas Marina Circuit in any form, road or race. Touching 270kmh on the main straight was almost too easy, which was probably aided by the fact that it’s so quiet. There’s no ear-shattering snarl from the 6-litre, V12 behind your head – just masses of whirs, fizzes and pops from the two turbochargers. Horacio tuned this car to be quiet but in such a seductive way that it still stirs emotions. He based his research on jet engines and so aside from the cockpit’s aviator look and feel, the Huayra also sounds like a fighter jet. Pure genius!