No bull: World's quickest Lamborghinis duke it out at the strip

In today’s arms race of supercar performance, it no longer enough to head down to the exotic car dealer and drop a quarter of a million on a Lamborghini Gallardo. If you really want to upstage your buddies at the club, its got to be faster than theirs, too. A lot faster.

To feed that need for speed, aftermarket tuners now offer twin-turbo upgrades that can more than double the power output and insanity of the 560 hp Lamborghini Gallardo while maintaining its street legal status. Coinciding with the release of the redesigned 2013 Gallardo LP560 at the recent Paris Motor Show, North Carolina’s Underground Racing and Heffner Performance of Sarasota, Florida, have delivered earth shattering performances from their boosted versions of the already blistering supercar.

Last week, Heffner Performance used a customer’s twin turbo “Elite” 2008 Gallardo Superleggera to become the first break the 8-second barrier in the quarter mile.  But it would prove to be a bittersweet victory, as rival Underground Racing would respond within 48 hours to shatter the record by a large margin.

Heffner set the mark with company founder Jason Heffner at the helm. After just eight passes, the car put in a 8.72-second run at 169.8 mph, making it the quickest Gallardo ever recorded. A stock Gallardo does it in about 12 seconds.  The car was purpose built for an avid exotic car racer with breaking the eight second barrier specifically in mind, and it was driven to and from the track on street tires.  Heffner stresses that this car was designed for excellent driveability, and that his company can accomplish any build goal for their customers.

In order to reach the estimated 1400hp it took to propel the Lambo into the record books, the engine received a host of serious performance upgrades including strengthened, lightweight internals for the 5.2L V10 and a menacing ball bearing turbo system that was developed by TIAL and screams out of four inch pipes hanging off the back of engine, making it look like it’s being attacked by a metallic python.

Though the final price of the modifications hasn’t been completely tallied, Heffner estimates it to be in the neighborhood of $175,000. Records don’t come cheap.

Or last very long.

Underground Racing, a rival company also known for its turbocharged Lamborghinis, was quick to meet to the challenge. Within two days, it fired back with a 1,750hp Gallardo that ran 8.35 seconds at an incredible 181.4 mph. While .37 seconds might not seem like much, this is a huge margin of victory for cars running at these kinds of speeds.

Much like the Heffner Gallardo, the car was prepped by for a customer looking for extreme performance.  Underground Performance is well-established in pushing huge power through Lamborghini’s V10 engines, but this time they were instructed to go to any measures they deemed necessary. Customer Ray "Peak Completions" Hofman was quoted in a press release saying "Do ANYTHING you want to it! As long as it drives like a street car and is the baddest Gallardo on the planet!"

At least for the moment, it appears that Underground Racing has fulfilled its part of the bargain.  The car was reportedly running street legal tires at the track, and with the exception of a tank of racing fuel, in full street trim.  Like the Heffner Performance car, the engine uses a Motec engine management system with optional lower power levels for street driving on pump fuel.  Full details on the car a closely-held secret, but Underground’s standard “Stage Three” tuning package, which is good for 1500hp, is priced around $109,000. This one-off likely cost a lot more than that.

Of course, it’s only a matter of time before someone goes for a new

record, and the once unthinkable 7 second barrier is now tantalizingly close. What, and how much money, it will take to break it is anybody’s guess. But, if your bank account is ready, so are both of these shops.