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Right now, I’m sitting in a gorgeous ninth floor room at the W Hotel in South Beach.
The ocean view is breathtaking. The weather is tropical. The guaranteed madness of the 2014 Gumball 3000 lies ahead. And like sharks poised for a feeding frenzy, angry supercars circle the surrounding streets. A few minutes ago, one of the Gumballers entertained the constant stream of tourists by furiously revving the engine of his Lamborghini Aventador—and the resulting flames caught the shrubbery bordering the driveway on fire.
Miami might as well be heaven on earth.
Since I arrived in the Sunshine State just over 24 hours ago, every minute has been jam packed—and the Rally hasn’t even officially kicked off! As soon as I landed, I went straight to Rally Central to get my credentials—an extremely official feeling fabric wrist band—then ditched my luggage and hooked up with the AnastasiaDate Team.
Then we jumped in a cab and headed to a cocktail party at the headquarters for the Porsche Design Tower Miami, an automobile-centered, 57-story building which will feature an automated system allowing residents to park their cars on the same floor as their homes.
Think low-income housing, but with robotic valets and prices starting at four million.
Unsurprisingly, the parking lot was lousy with exotics. When we arrived two Bugatti Veyrons were already out front, and before we even manged to get inside, a Gumball-liveried Ferrari F12 Berlinetta rolled up.
The party was the first chance I got to talk to the ladies I’ll be riding with over the next seven days, and we had a blast. Though we managed to do plenty of practicing anyway, Margarita—the blonde—was clearly impressed with my pronunciation of the traditional Russian toast nostrovia.
Elisa—the brunette—is hilarious, and can snap from being a total goofball into laser-focused model mode with a speed that could give a camera shutter whiplash. Though their English isn’t perfect, and my Russian—drinking cries excepted—is nonexistent, it was obvious both were super stoked, if a little nervous, to be driving on the Gumball. That was just fine with me, because if they were about to embark on a trans-continental road rally with a 120 speed-crazed gearheads in 550hp Italian supercar, and weren’t a little nervous, I would have been.
Of course, while we waited for the custom-wrapped Lamborghini to be unloaded from the trailer the next morning, Margarita and Elisa did a bunch of on-camera interviews with the local press, and played it like they’d just happened to take a break from racing in the spec-Gallardo Super Trofeo to do the Gumball.
When they had wrapped everything up, we headed over to the parking lot of the Miami Beach Convention Center, so they could get familiar with the E-Gear set up, and everything went fine.
An Audi-derived AWD system makes the Gallardo a thoroughly modern supercar, which basically means the vehicle is not actively trying to turn you into a crimson-colored stain on the pavement via twitchy, tail-happy handling.
It’s confidence inspiring, even if it is a break from tradition.
In another departure from some of Lamborghini’s past product, drivers can also count on functioning radios and climate control, along with the ability to raise and lower the top without a contacting a crack team of Italian tent construction professionals.
Tomorrow, I’ll be alternating between stints in AnastasiaDate’s Mercedes-Benz Sprinter chase van and the purple Lamborghini as Margarita and Elisa blast up toward the rally’s first destination city—Atlanta, Georgia. Until then, check out the gallery below and head over to AnastasiaDate’s official Gumball 3000 site for all the info you can handle on this pair of Russian dolls!
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