It does that by being more powerful, lighter, more aerodynamically clever, dynamically tweaked and having more grippy tyres than before. The full engineering gamut, then.
What gives the Aventador SVJ its performance credentials?
Let’s start with the engine. The 6.5-litre V12 has titanium inlet valves, a lighter flywheel, less internal friction, an 8700rpm limiter and now makes 759bhp at 8500rpm. More important, though, peak torque was at 5500rpm on the Aventador SV but then tailed away rapidly; the SVJ makes more torque through the entire rev range – before and including 5500rpm – but its 531lb ft peak doesn’t arrive until 6750rpm and its curve is flatter after that; so considerably more torque reaches the wheels all the time.
Those wheels are lighter, as are several other body components, so this (dry) is a 1525kg car, although given a fuelled Huracán Performante was 200kg more than its claimed dry weight when we put it on our scales last year, you can imagine where this will end up.
Chassis changes see springs unchanged but dampers and anti-roll bars stiffer, and the torque split typically 3% more biased to the rear; although it varies anyway. The front is disconnected entirely during braking, to mean the only steering wheel inputs are from braking, and there’s active rear-steer.
Then there’s the improved aero, which brings the SVJ 40% more downforce than an Aventador S but, significantly, is a second-generation ‘ALA’ (Aerodinamica Lamborghini Attiva 2.0), which can push turbulent air out beneath the rear spoiler, to stall it, reducing downforce and drag, and which it can split from left to right. In cornering, then, the SVJ will make more downforce on the inside of the bend, which keeps the body flatter and helps turn-in. Overall lateral g isn’t necessarily increased (you’d just put a massive wing on if you wanted to do that), but it apparently means less lock is required to get into a turn, and given less applied lock, more power can be applied, making corner exit quicker. I don’t think it makes a lot of difference to an overall lap time: between one and three seconds around a near seven-minute lap, according to an engineer.
Making a bigger difference is the option, for the first time, of race-derived Pirelli P Zero Trofeo tyres, rather than Corsas, as on other Aventadors. It’s the first time the Aventador has been offered on this rubber, which alone is worth around 10 seconds on a long lap.
The SVJ is limited to 900 units, and costs £360,000.
Understanding the SVJ's engineering
Would it surprise you to learn that the SVJ was extremely fast? Thought not. J is for article J in the old FIA documents that told car makers what they had to do to go sports car racing, and although the Aventador doesn’t race, there are slower cars that do.
Less focused-feeling ones too. The SVJ is fast in the old-fashioned, brutal way, in a straight line, at least. What might be the world’s greatest production engine is exceptionally urgent, and feels no slower to me than the crop of hypercars I’ve driven. Which, probably, is because it isn’t.
It’s mated to a single-clutch gearbox which is as terrible most of the time as you’ll expect, fudging through changes with an inordinate amount of head rock. But put the car into ‘Corsa’ mode, which also puts the dynamic steering into a constant rather than variable ratio – so is something you should absolutely do – and it just punches through shifts with a fairly satisfying venom.