Galloping across the burning desert in the saddle of a spartan enduro bike, without anyone to tell you exactly where and how far away the finish line is. Or straddling a bucking Bull in an arena of snow and ice. Challenging its fury, and yourself: if the “beast” acknowledges the superiority of the “bullfighter” at the end of the day, he may be said to have succeeded in his mission. There can be no doubt that Ottavio Missoni Jr. loves adventure. Preferably motorised adventure, and better yet with a set of custom-designed wheels; either four wheels or two will do. And judging by the smile that spreads across on the face of this big boy, six feet of passion for cars and motorbikes, between pauses, a weekend in Livigno in the company of the instructors at the Lamborghini Winter Academy (the Lamborghini Squadra Corse project teaching winter sports driving) is just what his untamed spirit demands.
“I’ve loved speed ever since I was a little boy. I rode a motorbike, but also a go-kart”, recalls Ottavio Jr., representing the latest new generation of a family and a company, Missoni, that deserves the epithet of “the Lamborghini of fashion houses”. “And while I see the motorbike as being primarily about exploration, the car is a special way of sharing an adventure with others.” The Winter Academy teaches drivers not to fear the cold. And to govern the power of a V12 under any circumstances. In actual fact, Ottavio Missoni had already measured his skills against an Lamborghini Aventador of 700 horsepower or more in the past. But he had never attempted to tame a “Lambo” Bull at high elevation on an ice track, with brute power fighting an ultra-thin degree of adherence and a team of experts egging him on to test his limits. And he found that it was entirely another matter. “Driving a super-sports car under such extreme conditions was a new experience for me. What can I say? Plenty of fun and excitement, lots of advice on winter technique that you can apply in everyday driving as well”. Yes, because though it’s unlikely that you’ll find yourself driving a Huracàn with four-wheel drive over Foscagno Pass at sub-zero temperatures, it’s true that experiencing the reactions of a high-performing automobile on ice and snow first-hand, perceiving the first-class teamwork that only a set of high-performing tyres can achieve thanks to technological progress, is an exercise that can only improve your winter driving skills. “In addition to the time spent at the wheel, always aided by experienced instructors, I also found the theory lessons particularly useful: the distribution of masses, the role played by tyres, using the electronics. And driving at night was really exciting!” exclaims Missoni; “I found the Lamborghini Winter Academy to be a truly unique experience: professional, exciting, complete in every way”.
When adherence is precarious or practically non-existent, as on bare ice, it is the tyres that make the difference between a spectacular skid and an embarrassing unintentional detour: “At the Winter Accademia”, explains Ottavio, “I found out for myself what it means to drive a car fitted with high-performing winter tyres. It’s unbelievable how much a particular set of tyres can change the way you drive. In terms of both safety, and sporty driving. Countersteering a Lamborghini Huracàn with spiked tyres is of course an entirely different thing from a car without these claws. But even without spikes, a tyre such as the Pirelli Winter Sottozero is super-effective even under borderline conditions, due to the pattern of the tread and the winter tyre compound, the product of advanced scientific studies”.
Crazy on the racetrack; sober-minded on the road. “I’m afraid of the traffic, especially when I’m on my motorbike,” confesses Ottavio. “I don’t take risks; I take it slow. And that’s partly because I often have my girlfriend with me… I save my instinct for speed for when I am racing.” And what he refers to as his “tricks on two wheels”, raid rallies such as the Gibraltar Race or the Merzouga Rally, are not just a Sunday drive! “I don’t consider myself a professional race driver, of course. But I do love competing in stage races alongside famous champions. Riding alongside them, I always learn something from them.” Just as Ottavio honed his skills as a trainer of 10 and 12 cylinder racing animals at the Lamborghini Winter Academy. “In addition to their dynamic properties, I love the style of the Lambos, a combination of harmony and boldness unparalleled in the world of supercars". And that's the opinion of Ottavio Missoni, a boy who knows a thing or two about design!