|This article is outdated. (March 2013)|
Valentino Balboni is the former chief test driver of Lamborghini, a manufacturer of sports cars in Italy. He retired in October 2008 due to Italian government work regulations, after having served the company for 40 years. To pay tribute to him in occasion of his retirement, Lamborghini had labeled a 2009 addition to the Gallardo line-up, the LP550-2 Valentino Balboni.
Balboni started working for Lamborghini on April 21, 1968 as a mechanic apprentice in the company. Eventually he was personally asked by the founder of the company, Ferruccio Lamborghini, to test-drive the newly built cars. Together with Bob Wallace, they became the test-driving team of Lamborghini. Valentino Balboni has reportedly driven about 80% of all Lamborghinis ever built. Among the marque aficionados, Balboni has risen to cult status. In 2008, Balboni was still active for the company as the chief test-driver and ambassador. Fluent in English and German, he often appeared at different Lamborghini-related events, such as the unveiling of new models.
In July 2009, Lamborghini announced a special edition run of 250 Gallardo LP550-2 "Valentino Balboni edition" supercars; the company stated that the new car was to be rear-wheel driven in accordance with Balboni's preference for the thrill of cornering a rear-wheel driven vehicle. These vehicles were also made special with a white and gold stripe that runs the center of the car, inspired by sports cars of the 1970s.
Valentino Balboni has made several appearances on television in different documentaries related to Lamborghini such as Top Gear Rides, as well as an episode of 60 Minutes from 1987. In the 2012 film Zero Dark Thirty, one of the characters asks a salesman at a Lamborghini dealer "...is that a Balboni?", referring to the special edition vehicle.
- Matt Davis (August 3, 2009). "2010 Lamborghini Gallardo LP550-2 Valentino Balboni First Drive". InsideLine.com. Retrieved June 4, 2010.
- Luke Madden (July 1, 2009). "Lamborghini LP550-2 ‘Valentino Balboni'". evo.co.uk. Retrieved June 4, 2010.
- "Balboni honored with two-wheel drive Gallardo and Aston city-car ...". ultimatecarpage.com. June 30, 2009. Retrieved June 4, 2010.
- "Legendary Lamborghini Test Driver Valentino Balboni Celebrates 40 Years With The Bull". italiaspeed.com. July 23, 2007. Retrieved June 4, 2010.
- "1987: Lamborghini on 60 Minutes". Retrieved April 29, 2013.