“There isn’t a single manual-transmission car in the world that can beat it over the half mile”
We live in exciting times for the supercar genre. As is well-documented, the term was originally coined for the Lamborghini Miura way back in 1966 – a car that transcended everyday transport, it was stunning to look at and moved faster than anyone at the time could comfortably cope with. For generations, that iconic name – ‘supercar’– has held children in its thrall and grown-ups spellbound.
And these days? The goalposts have moved an unimaginable distance. The game’s moved on so much in recent years that we’ve had to formulate a new term, ‘hypercar’. Some of these otherworldly machines fuse up-to-the-minute hybrid tech with improbable aero to achieve their scientifically challenging ends, others stick rigidly to the classic big-engine big-horsepower formula. But they’re all doing things that we once never believed possible.
Of course, as much as the manufacturers endeavour to cram ever-more improbable levels of technology and spaceship-performance into their latest bedroom-wall-poster machines, so the aftermarket is always keen to take a step back, view the performance landscape with an objective eye, and develop means to apply the latest hypercar performance to the previous generation of supercars. Imagine if you could take, say, the power of the Lamborghini Aventador SVJ and squeeze it into something with the footprint of the Huracán, maximising power-to-weight and exponentially ramping up the inherent drama? That would condense the entire model range into one fabulous entity, wouldn’t it? Well, you don’t need to imagine such a thing – Underground Racing exists to carry out just such lunatic endeavours… with a unique twist. If you take them, for example, a 12-year-old Gallardo and give them the brief to make it quicker than any brand new hypercar, they’re happy to oblige. Sound unlikely? Feast your eyes on the Nardo Grey 2007 Gallardo you see before you: it may look relatively stock, but there isn’t a single manual-transmission car in the world that can beat it over the half mile. And that’s a verified fact.
As a base for a project, the bone-stock Gallardo is already a pretty brutal and savage thing. It’s the car that really pushed Lamborghini into the volume-selling mainstream. Production ran from 2003-2013 and they shifted over 14,000 units – unprecedented numbers for a company that always belligerently walked its own path and had to accept the financial setbacks that came with this uncompromising quest for uniqueness. The first-generation Gallardo, like the one we have before Mike’s lens today, came equipped with a 5.0-litre V10 producing a nice round 500bhp; it would run 0-62mph in 4.2 seconds straight out of the box and go on to 196mph. Standing quarter-mile? An unstressed 12 seconds. Some people may call it the ‘baby Lambo’, but don’t go thinking it’s not thoroughly grown-up. Naturally, however, such things can always be made more aggressive – and, inevitably, faster. 500bhp? It’s a nice starting point. But how about doubling that? Or trebling it? Or more? That was the key driver for Murad Alzuraiki, owner of this startling grey brute; known to friends as Moe, he employed the services of Underground Racing to take his Gallardo to the next level – and ended up several levels beyond that.
“I’ve always modified my cars because I love to go fast,” Moe laughs. “I’ve had this Lamborghini since 2012, and at the time I bought it, it was the perfect platform for Underground Racing. I’m a long-time friend and customer of theirs. We work as a team, and I knew they’d bring my vision to life – an unbeatably powerful car that I could still use every day.”
Underground Racing are a bit like a cult. If you scroll through the customer build list on their website, you’ll find well over 80 big-horsepower conversions… and that’s just for the first-gen Gallardos. They also offer massive power enhancements for the LP560, Huracán, Aventador and Murciélago, as well as Audi’s R8 in both V8 and V10 guise, and the Ferrari F430 and 458.
The official tuning menu lists five upgrade options for the early Gallardo, although Moe’s is something rather special even beyond that. The first option available is for the firm’s Stage 1 twin-turbo setup to be fitted to the stock V10 motor – an arrangement which will provide 700bhp on pump fuel, or up to 900bhp on race fuel. The next step up is to have the Stage 2 turbo system bolted to a modified engine – they’ll upgrade the internals with forged pistons and stronger rods, the whole thing will be blueprinted and balanced, and you’ll be on the way to 850bhp on pump fuel or 1,150bhp on race fuel. Staggering numbers, right? But we’re only at the second stage. The Stage 3 option adds further engine mods to allow 1,250bhp, the next step is unsubtly called ‘Race Version’ which brings you up to 1,500bhp, and the final act of lunacy is Stage 2 Race, at which point you’ll be staring down the barrel of 1,750bhp and the very foundations of the Earth itself will have started to shift and crumble.
But even this act of certifiable craziness wasn’t sufficient for Moe’s heady aspirations. He didn’t want to just be ludicrously fast – he wanted to be so fast that nobody could catch him. So he’s worked closely with Underground Racing to tailor a unique and eye-watering spec for his Gallardo, side-stepping the mainstream menu and going à la carte. The engine has been blueprinted and features twin billet 62mm Precision turbos, Tial billet wastegates and BOVs, and a custom-fabricated stainless steel exhaust system with ultra-lightweight silencers. It inhales through a mighty stainless steel ram-air induction arrangement with hungry K&N filters, and inside the block reside custom CP reverse-dish aluminium pistons with Carillo rods and custom steel cylinder sleeves. The fuelling is frankly massive, and it’s all overseen by AEM engine management to keep everything safe as well as utterly ballistic. The ice water reservoir is a neat touch, allowing Moe to significantly reduce charge temperatures by pouring in a bunch of ice before a high-speed run. And perhaps the most notable feature of this car, aside from the near-unbelievable horsepower, is the fact that it’s still running a six-speed manual gearbox. There’s no e-Gear chicanery or motorsport sequentials here, simply a billet gearset inside the standard ’box. Now, this car’s running 2,300bhp, a figure you may need to absorb for a moment, with potential for up to 2,500bhp depending on setup – there’s much about the engine spec that Moe would prefer to keep secret. That’s a lot of grunt to entrust to your wrist and your left ankle.
Thankfully Moe’s limber extremities are up to the task. Indeed, in August 2018 he took a World Record in this amusingly frightening machine, reaching 226.59mph in a standing half-mile, something no other manual car in the world has managed. This particular record has been pinballing about between five different Underground Racing customers for the better part of a decade now, and it’s Moe’s combination of stratospheric horsepower and steady hand on the tiller that netted him the worldwide accolades. This is the fastest 6-speed Gallardo there is. It’s as simple as that.
What surprises most Lambo aficionados about this car is the relative levels of stealth. OK, you could never describe any Lamborghini as a sleeper, they’re way too ostentatious for that, but to the untrained eye this appears to be nothing more extraordinary than a mainstream, factory-spec Gallardo. The fact that it’s painted in subtle Nardo Grey further adds to the under-the-radar mystique; a fashion-forward shade that fans affectionately know as ‘shiny primer’, it helps Moe to blend in with the traffic as much as is possible in such a machine. Indeed, there are only four clues that give away the simmering malevolence that resides beneath that engine lid: firstly, there’s the wheels. They’re HRE C103 forged three-piece split-rims, their 19-inch diameter chosen to offer the ideal mix of acceleration and top-end; HRE competition-spec wheels are incredibly light and strong, and Moe’s wrapped his in sticky Toyo R888R rubber. So that’s clue one. The second hint that all’s not quite factory is the Superleggera rear spoiler – although, to be fair, a lot of owners do that. The third? It’s those mighty tailpipes, which do have a tendency to spit huge blue flames when angered. And finally, above all, there’s the incredible noise this car makes, an aggressive crescendo of growls, rumbles, whooshing sounds and wastegate chatter. It sounds like an entire fairground has been squeezed inside the diminutive Sant’Agata sweetheart. It heralds chaos like a binary supernova.
But let’s not forget Moe’s original brief: an unbeatably powerful car that I could still use every day. Surely with these levels of record-breaking thrust, he’s thrown any semblance of practicality right out of the window? Far from it, actually. “I drive this car around town every day, just like any other car,” he assures us. “It’s very docile, it has air-con and all the factory options. It just also happens to have well over 2,000bhp.” Put like that, the logic is impeccable. The original spirit of the Miura, refracted through a 21st-century filter, with next-gen power and everyday usability. What Moe and Underground Racing have created here is the perfect car – trundle to work through the week, set a world speed record on Saturday before cruising to the drive-thru, then head out for a spirited Sunday blast. Keep your Regeras and your Speedtails, this Gallardo can do anything.
TECH SPEC LAMBORGHINI GALLARDO
Styling: Stock Gallardo with Superleggera rear wing, Nardo Grey.
Tuning: 5.0-litre V10, blueprinted and balanced, twin billet 62mm Precision turbos, Tial billet wastegates and BOVs, custom-fabricated stainless steel exhaust system with ultra-lightweight silencers, custom stainless steel ram-air induction with K&N filters, custom air/water intercooler with upgraded water pump, high-flow heat exchanger, ice water reservoir, crankcase ventilation system, silicone hoses, custom heat-shielding, custom CP reverse-dish aluminium pistons, Carillo rods, CP spiral locks and wrist pins, custom steel cylinder sleeves, twin high-flow fuel pumps on billet hangers, Aeroquip stainless fuel lines, Aeromotive adjustable fuel pressure regulator, upgraded fuel injectors, AEM engine management, GReddy electronic boost controller, custom wiring harness, billet manual 6-speed gearbox.
Chassis: 19in HRE C103 wheels, Toyo R888R tyres, stock suspension and brakes.
Interior: Stock Gallardo
Words Daniel Bevis Photos Mike Kuhn