Q&A: Maurizio Reggiani

R&D director at Lamborghini says the company increased the stiffness by 40% and due to this the car has perfect alignment between the roof and the body-in-white

How challenging was it to build the soft-top Huracan?

The main challenge to build a soft-top begins right at the start as to whether we can guarantee that what comes from the designer can be reproduced in the real-life physical copy. We need engineering solutions that can guarantee tension, to avoid the rib-effect of the canopy. This is somethingthat normally nobody can see but it is our starting point.

We put material in, and changed the stitching of the connection between the tube of the frame and the soft-top hood. We also put some special material in the end to guarantee the shape by holding the tension.

This was a big problem, because you must guarantee this tension and this aesthetical perception after thousands of openings and closings of the soft-top hood. When you close it you must be able to predict exactly what happens in every wave of the canopy.

You must imagine that when you start development you build a demo version where you have only the soft-top hood with the container. You start to open and close it to see in the details with cameras what happens in the compressing of the canopy and to see if this generates scratches or marks.

Do you have to think carefully about the materials used, then?

It is mainly down to the engineering and positioning of this tube – the connection between it and the canopy and what happens when you fold down everything. And the canopy must have the perfect shape also when it is closed, otherwise you will increase the volume.

With this system, our target was to achieve a superfast opening and closing experience of 17 seconds.

I don’t want to say it is the best in the world but for a soft-top the possibility to be able to operate it at 50km/h is impressive.

What other challenges did you face?

An important point was the aerodynamics of the car, mainly when it is open but also when it is closed. This must be done very early on when designing the car. You must be able to realise something that allows the occupants to have good comfort when the car is open in terms of wind. But what is much more difficult is the acoustic pressure and for this we created two things that come out when you open the soft-top hood: there are two areas that channel the air in order to avoid the external pressure, plus there are two net components that compensate the shape of the window with a big radius. In this way you can really talk with your passenger at speed without any trouble.

tags: April 2016 Lamborghini