I used the first of my three laps of the Ferrari test track in the new 360 Challenge Stradale to suss out the circuit, the second to pick up the pace and the third to crash. Shame, I'd had a good day up until then.

Earlier on, lowering myself into the carbon-fibre bucket seat of the new Ferrari, there had been no nerves, only boyish excitement as I set out for a session of road driving before taking to the track in the afternoon. The Ferrari 360 Challenge Stradale is the new, hot version of the 360 Modena. 'Stradale' means 'road compatible', 'usable' and that, essentially, is what it is - a road legal version of the cars racing in the 360 Challenge series. Lighter, leaner, lower and faster than a 360 Modena, it's the Saxo VTS of the range. So a bit of fear then, maybe just a light film of sweat over the brow. The tension isn't reduced by the fact that stripped-out racer though this is, it still weighs in at £133,025. That's an extra 30 grand over the 360 Modena.

Three hundred Ferrari owners take part in the Ferrari Pilota driving courses every year, and on average most Ferraris spend 10 per cent of their time on tracks. So there is a demand for a Ferrari with the emphasis on track performance rather than luxury.
For the Stradale, Ferrari has trimmed an impressive 110kg off the 360 Modena, most of it from the body with the rest coming from the engine and the fitting of F1-developed, carbon-ceramic brakes.

The 3.5-litre engine has been buffed up and tweaked to give 420bhp, an extra 20bhp over the 360 Modena. This makes it the most powerful normally-aspirated Ferrari V8 ever and, together with the reduced weight, means a 0-62mph time of 4.2 seconds.
But despite bearing a price tag big enough to drain the colour from even the blackest Amex card, the Stradale is, right from the start, as accessible and welcoming to drive as a Lotus Elise, albeit with three times the power.
It takes only minutes, and a spot of clear road, before I find myself exploiting the full rev range. The sound is beautiful, a high pitched, urgent yelp and bark as the F1-style paddle-shift gearbox automatically blips on fast down changes.

The ride is perhaps the most amazing thing. In a car so focused and determined, you brace your backside in anticipation of a brutal battering from a no-compromise, race-car ride. But no, it soaks away the bumps and ridges of even the most vulgar stretches of road with all the confidence of a luxury saloon, albeit whilst keeping you directly informed about what's going on down below.

Braking into corners, there is a barely discernible dip of the front end and then such reassuring grip from those Pirelli tyres (unique to the car) that the road is really not the place to find the limits of the Stradale. The titanium front and rear springs are stiffer than on the 360 Modena and the rear anti-roll bar is a larger diameter. As result, there is next to no roll and steering input results in immediate and confident changes in direction. The carbon-ceramic brakes too are sensational. Smoothly progressive, they operate with gentle but firm insistence and even after several hours of hard road driving, there is not the slightest sign of them fading.

A deeper front spoiler, re-sculpted sills and smooth under body improve the aerodynamics of the Stradale over the Modena and give a 50 per cent increase in down force. Another advantage of an aerodynamically optimised, smooth underside is that there are no awkward bits of metal hanging down to get caught on the road when the suspension takes a real hammering, which it did on a stretch of mountain road more suited to rally cars than track-oriented Ferraris. So it's tough, then - perhaps tougher than its still glamorous looks might suggest. The Stradale really is a race car and not some Monte Carlo poseur.

And then, back at Ferrari HQ, it was my turn to slip out onto the Fiorano test track. I concentrated on navigation on my first lap. By the second, I was able to taste just how confident, competent and assured the 360 Stradale is on a track. It flatters the driver, it compensates for idiot decisions.

And then came lap three and a sequence of left and right jinks that I assumed a racing driver would 'take flat'. So I tried it. And then I span. I sidled back to the pits where the technicians were waiting to download the timings and, in my case, to pick out the grass from the cars nooks and crannies.

"I span off. Sorry," I muster, with a rather English, apologetic grin.

"It's OK, it happens. No damage," comes the reply.
 

The Ferrari 360 Stradale is the best road car I have ever driven. It flatters, inspires confidence, rewards effort and copes with real-life roads, race-circuit thrills and film premiere glamour. It's a proper Ferrari: hard, fast and intoxicating. Don't ever say that Ferrari has gone soft. It hasn't.

Richard Hammond

 

Believe It Or Not, There Exist Those Who Feel That Ferraris 360 Modena Is A Little Soft. The 360 Challenge Stradale Offers A Deafening, Battering, Teeth Shattering Riposte. Andy Enright Reports

Ferrari have released data showing that the average Ferrari driver spends ten per cent of their time on race tracks. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that ten per cent of their cars mileage is devoted to track use, but when I tried the 360 Challenge Stradale at a windswept Silverstone, I could confirm these figures. Ten per cent of my time was spent on track, the other ninety per cent involved summoning a Land Rover to drag the beached Ferrari from the Luffield corners deepest gravel trap. For some time, serious customers have clamoured for a Ferrari that bites back.

Effectively a road legal version of the Ferrari 360 Challenge race car (Stradale means road compatible in Ferrari-speak) and weighing in at a hefty £133,025, the Challenge Stradale is a lightened, toughened, lower and faster version of the 360 Modena for which Ferrari will expect an additional £30,000 or so. A huge 110kg has been shaved from the Modena's performance on the scales, most of it through the use of lightweight body panels and glazing, but a few kilos have also been shaved from the braking system and the even the engine. Despite this, the Challenge Stradale doesn't feature the sort of stripped-out interior that had Ferrari F40 owners pulling a wire to open the doors. The leather trim, air conditioning, electric windows and suede-covered dashboard are all still included, although there is no stereo.

With an engine as loud as the Challenge Stradale's, you'd need at least 100kg worth of amplifiers before any stereo system had a chance. The engine noise is an all-pervasive accompaniment. Twist the key and you get the usual furtive whine of the starter motor before the engine explodes into life with the sort of riotous, fruity bark that you thought European bureaucrats had legislated out of existence years ago. This normally aspirated 3.

5-litre engine has been teased out to give a
Porsche 911 Turbo-matching 420bhp and the Challenge Stradale holds the distinction of being the most powerful production Ferrari V8 ever produced that did without a turbocharger.

"The engine explodes into life with the sort of riotous, fruity bark that you thought European bureaucrats had legislated out of existence years ago."

The bucket seats can be specified in one of three sizes and I'm acutely aware that my long and involved relationships with the product range of Colonel Harland Sanders may have both done for my chances of fitting into the medium berths fitted to our test car. Constructed from finely weaved carbon fibre and trimmed with leather, the seats give plenty of support. The carbon theme continues on the centre console where the buttons for Sport and Race modes and the Launch Control system live. There's a conspicuous absence of gear stick, the Challenge Stradale being offered solely with the F1 sequential paddle shift transmission.

The most uncanny thing about the Challenge Stradale more so even than the astonishing soundtrack is the cars poise. True, a Formula One racetrack isn't the most detailed inquisition into how a car rides on a typical British B-road, but its the Stradale's home turf and the results are impressive. Barrelling into Stowe corner at the end of the Hangar Straight sees the speedometer topping 160mph but a hefty stamp on the carbon-ceramic brakes sheds speed with eye watering efficiency. Too efficient in fact.

Making a mental note to brake later is one thing, actually having faith in the car as it sails past what every instinct screams is the final possible braking point is quite another. Even when the car is loaded up on the brutally effective stoppers, there's not the ponderous dive at the front you get from many super cars. The Challenge Stradale brakes flat, corners flat and then accelerates flat with a genuine absence of dive, roll and squat. Much of this is due to the titanium springs and the beefier rear anti-roll bar plus the extra 50 per cent down force afforded by the deeper front spoiler, re-sculpted sills and smooth under tray.

Despite this implacable poise, the car signals its intentions when it reaches the limits so clearly that only a ham-fisted idiot will be caught out. At least that's the theory. In reality, it has quite the opposite effect. You begin to have such faith in the car and such a malformed appraisal of your own skills as you slide the Stradale about that eventually your ego will swell, dwarfing the available talent pool and you'll make an excursion into the scenery.

This is not a cosseting boulevardier laden with safety net electronics. This is the real thing and deserves a little respect. The options list gives some indication of the cars intent, featuring items such as a roll cage, three or four point racing harnesses, racing stripes (£3,643 if you're interested) and even sliding Perspex side windows to trim the weight still further. A lot of attention to detail has been lavished on the Challenge Stradale.

The racing style squashed-top steering wheel features lengthened shift paddles for easier up changes when exiting tight corners all crossed up. Mats and carpets have been junked to cut weight and to punch up the enveloping noise levels. The tyres are Pirelli P Zero Corsas: this super-low profile tyre adopted specifically for the Challenge Stradale measures 225/35 at the front and 285/35 at the rear and is fitted on 19" Challenge-style wheels secured by titanium bolts. Despite its high-tech approach, the philosophy of the 360 Challenge Stradale is a throwback to illustrious Ferraris of yesteryear. It follows in the tyre tracks of cars like the 166 or 250 GT and, somewhat later, the GTO or F40. With cars like these, gentleman customer-drivers like Chinetti, Marzotto, Gregory and Guichet won the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the 12 Hours of Reims and the Mille Miglia and drove to victory in international championships.

The Challenge Stradale may have some hallowed forebears but its a car that's a credit to its lineage. Ferrari is a marque defined by competition. The Challenge Stradale never tires of reminding you of that fact. Forcefully.


Yahoo

 

It's such a rare sight, the Challenge Stradale, yet it’s instantly identifiable, even without the (optional) tricolour stripe. Standing still it’s got attitude, the lattice-spoked wheels tucked up into the arches like the car is midway through a heavy landing, the re-worked, more aggressive nose skimming the asphalt. It makes the stock 360 look rather tame, and it’s every bit as dialled-in as it looks.

Before the Challenge Stradale came along, if you wanted Ferrari’s take on a road-biased race-car you had to fork out proper super car money for an F40, F50 or Enzo. When it came to market in late 2003, the Stradale was significantly more expensive than the stock 360 – £133K versus £103K – yet it offered a mere 20bhp more. Admittedly, that made a rather thrilling 420bhp in total, but what really made it special was the impressively thorough approach Ferrari’s engineers had taken to make the car feel like a proper road-racer. An easy shortcut on the way to the substantial 110kg weight reduction would have been to use the carbon fibre interior trim from the 360 Challenge race cars, but the Stradale got bespoke, glossy carbon fibre of production-car standard.

Indeed, the deeper you delve, the less expensive the Stradale seems compared with the cooking 360. Carbon fibre brakes and the F1 automated manual gearbox together account for about half the price premium. The flat-plane-crank V8 is effectively blue-printed, race-car-style, with free-flowing air filters and intakes and a less restrictive exhaust that, on full throttle, is so incredibly loud that it still amazes me that it complies with any production car legislation. Just 20bhp seems small reward, but as this car’s owner says, ‘I’ve taken it to Ferrari dyno days, and it makes just under 410bhp while 360s typically make around 350bhp.’

This 16,000-miler does feel wonderfully fit, stronger than I remember, especially in the low- and mid-ranges. It’s the open-pipe, top-end blare that’s stuck in my mind, but splashing through puddles on the roads around Goodwood, there’s no chance of experiencing that. Every time I get anywhere near 5000rpm the rear wheels spin up, jinking the car a fraction sideways before ASR steps in. Blame the combination of cold, wet asphalt and sparsely treaded Pirelli P Zero Corsas.

It’s a worry. Not because the car feels like it’s going to snap away but because its owner wants to drive his cherished car home later. Right from the off, the Stradale inspires confidence with meaty, direct steering and a positive demeanour – it feels solid, low, connected, like it means business. It’s a great place to be, slotted into the high-sided seat, clutching the fat rim of the almost quartic steering wheel, using fingertips on the titanium-coloured paddles to cycle up and down the gearbox. Sure, the F1 in the Stradale isn’t as fast-acting as that of the current 430 Scuderia, but it’s smooth and quick and you can manipulate the throttle to seamlessly blend one ratio into another.

Challenge Stradale depreciation has been glacial, prices holding firm at around £110K until about a year ago. Now the least expensive ones offered for sale are priced at a fraction under £90K, the result, perhaps, of the financial turmoil and also some owners upgrading to the Scuderia. Yet just 852 Stradale's were built, of which 116 were officially imported to the UK, so it’s very likely that it will be a rarer car than the Scuderia (at the latter’s launch, Ferrari said it anticipated making around twice as many, though the final figure won’t be released until production ends). It all makes the Stradale a seriously enticing proposition.

What to look for
Intrinsically, the Stradale seems to be a hard-wearing bit of kit. A full service history is still essential, and check that the three-year engine belt change has been done. It’s also worth getting a Ferrari dealer to run a diagnostics test to find out what percentage worn the clutch and brake pads are; a full set of pads is around £1500 plus fitting and replacing the clutch costs around £3K. The car should also be on the recommended Pirelli P Zero Corsa tyres because anything less ruins the handling.  A clicking noise that seems to come from the glove box is probably a ball joint, while exhaust butterfly valves can stick, requiring the replacement of the tailpipe (expensive). Other than that, it’s mostly cosmetic; the Alcantara dash top fades yet can be rejuvenated, but carbon fibre panels that have gone milky, such as those in the engine bay, can only be replaced, at great expense.   
 
      

EVO

 

 

Ever wondered how Formula One star Michael Schumacher must feel as he sits out the final seconds before the start of a grand prix? Pinned into a bucket seat by a racing harness, surrounded by carbon fibre, with the prancing horse emblem of the world's most famous super car maker in front of him. This is the stuff of dreams for every enthusiast. And here is a way for mere mortals to achieve it - or at least those with £133,025 to spend!

Indeed, Schuey played a role in the development of Ferrari's new Challenge Stradale, just as he did with the awesome Enzo. This model is more affordable, and is the Italian legend's answer to race-inspired sports cars such as the Porsche 911 GT3. It's also lighter, and more powerful and exclusive than the 360 Modena on which it's based, with only 400 being built each year.

Immediately distinguished by stylish lightweight wheels, a low ride height and hand-painted racing stripe along the body - itself a £3,645 extra - the newcomer is aimed at customers who are prepared to sacrifice luxury for outright performance. You can even order it in Ferrari's F1 racing red - Rossa Scuderia - the first time the shade has been offered on a road-going car.

Delivering 420bhp from its 3.5-litre engine, the Challenge Stradale sprints from 0-60mph in four seconds and has a top speed of 186mph. Impressively, the unit is the most powerful normally aspirated V8 the company has ever built, producing 117bhp per litre. If you want to make the most of it, a special "launch control" system has been fitted, which dials 8,000rpm into the engine before dropping the semi-auto's clutch and racing away.

The titanium suspension is 20 per cent stiffer than the standard version's, and there are aerodynamic modifications to the carbon composite floor pan to improve stability at speed. Owners can even have racing-type plastic windows with sliding air vents, similar to those fitted to the legendary F40.

Clearly, the new car is much more than a modified 360 Modena. The two machines look alike, but most similarities end there. On the road, the gulf that exists between the two Ferraris grows. The first thing you notice is the urgency with which the Stradale responds to driver inputs. The steering is razor sharp, while the lightest of touches on the throttle launches you forward. Squeeze the steering wheel gearshift paddle, and the next gear slams in.

The uprated brake system - using carbon ceramic discs and pads for the first time on an eight-cylinder Ferrari - is sensational. It offers an unrivalled blend of stopping power and feel.

But it's the engine and suspension set-up which proves most incredible. With a revised induction and exhaust, plus an 8,500rpm rev limit, the mid-mounted V8 produces one of the most haunting notes on a road car. Power delivery grows smoothly to a crescendo as you head towards the unit's red line, forcing the car ever faster.

As you would expect, the suspension is very firm, and there's little body roll when cornering. There's a massive amount of grip, too, and although it's possible to over steer, the handling balance is remarkably neutral. Driven hard, the Stradale is one of the few super cars that flatters rather than intimidates.

And this Ferrari is no bone shaker, either, as it rides far better than it has a right to. The lightweight springs effortlessly absorb the effects of ruts and cracks, while changes in camber don't tug at the steering, and the car refuses to follow tramlines on worn tarmac. The package is equally impressive in town. Although you'll need to drive as smoothly as possible, at lower speeds it proves surprisingly user-friendly.

Revisions to the gearbox software have removed some criticisms of the standard F1-style shift. Changes are now slicker and swifter, while three-point turns are no longer accompanied by the stench of burned clutch. Overall, the Stradale is the kind of car we think Schumacher would be pleased to own - short on compromise, but versatile enough to be well mannered at low speeds. It's not as effortless as the seamlessly engineered Porsche 911 GT3, but the Stradale makes up for its rough edges with bags of personality.

Autocar

 

 

 

This is without a doubt the most wildly entertaining device ever fitted to a production car. It’s called “launch control” and it does exactly what the launch control in Michael Schumacher’s Formula One Ferrari does when the starting lights go out on race day.

It works like this: at a standstill you push a button on the console of the Ferrari Challenge Stradale, then you mash the throttle and watch the rev counter swing past 8000rpm. Take your foot off the brake and the car’s computer engages the clutch as fast as it can without breaking anything. The result is an unholy yowl from the engine and the screech of spinning tyres accompanied by clouds of smoke as the rubber vaporises.

Try this dramatic getaway around any of the small villages outside Ferrari’s home town of Maranello and the proud locals will cheer, although I can’t guarantee the same result in Milton Keynes.

Launch control also provides the real clue as to what this new Ferrari is all about. The Challenge Stradale aims to give drivers a racing car experience in a road-legal package. It is based on the 360 Modena but incorporates a raft of technology from the competition-only derivative of the 360.

The Challenge Stradale costs £133,025, some £23,250 more than a regular Modena equipped with its own version of the F1 gearbox. But it is 243lb lighter, develops an amazing 50% more aerodynamic down force to keep it stuck to the road and deploys an explosive V8 with 25bhp more than standard. In addition, it uses F1-derived carbon-ceramic brakes that can be absolutely hammered without fading.

Ferrari’s engineers reduced the car’s weight by using super-light titanium on some parts of the suspension, carbon fibre on things such as door panels and interior trim, and a specially constructed aluminium floor pan that’s half as heavy as the standard item. The results are spectacular. Here is a car that will leap from 0 to 62mph in 4.1sec and won’t stop accelerating until 186mph.

The gearbox is an F1-style electro hydraulic set-up that you operate with paddles behind the steering wheel, flipping the right one to change up and the left to shift down. (There is no fully automatic mode, unlike in the less focused 360 Modena F1.) The Stradale can make you look and sound like a hero. As I headed south out of Maranello over fast, sweeping roads it consummately dispatched long lines of slower traffic, leaving a glorious V8 scream in its wake. A Hollywood producer looking for a soundtrack for his racer-guy movie would go nuts for it, a baritone bark that hardens at about 4000rpm into a soul-stirring wail.

Then, when you shift down, the engine management computer delivers a glorious, perfectly matched blip of the throttle before the gear is engaged. Phone your mates and let them hear the noise as you zap up and down the gearbox and they’ll think you’re Schuey himself. No need to mention that the car’s F1 shift and its Nasa-grade brain are doing all of the hard work.

The Challenge Stradale’s handling is equally user-friendly. It rides on specially made, soft-compound Pirelli P-Zero tyres that provide not only sensational grip but a good ride, too, despite the lowered and stiffened suspension that enables the car to change direction instantaneously.

And so to Ferrari’s test track at Fiorano, where Schumacher shakes down his Sunday car. A couple of laps with Ferrari test driver Dario Benuzzi demonstrate the Stradale’s exceptional ability. He is playing the shift paddles with great flourishes, like a pianist, as he grabs another gear. The sensations are pure racer, the acceleration and braking brutal, way beyond anything a regular road car could handle.

The Challenge Stradale is a breathtaking experience, and I can’t imagine being able to stretch to £110,000 and not wanting to go the extra £23,000 for what you get over and above the 360 — a track-day car that you can drive every day.

Ferrari reckons it will sell about 60 Challenge Stradale's a year to confirmed enthusiasts of the marque. They’ll be the sort of people who will know about options such as the “rosso scuderia” paint scheme, which is about as extreme as it gets among Ferrari anoraks.

Why? Well, television cameras slightly distort the true Ferrari red, which would appear too dark left to its own devices, so the F1 cars are painted a more neon-tinted hue that looks right when broadcast. And, for a price, Ferrari will paint your road-going Challenge Stradale that same brighter red.

An amusing detail, no question, but not nearly as hysterical as launch control.


 

The Sunday Times

 

For years, a favourite carmaker mantra has been, "direct racing involvement creates the ultimate laboratory environment in which to test and develop new technology that can be transferred to production street cars." In simple terms: "Win on Sunday; sell on Monday." It's a good marketing pitch, but legit examples of motor sport trickle-down theory still aren't as prevalent as the hype would indicate. Not so in the case of Ferrari's new Challenge Stradale, for which the link is both clear and genuine.

The Stradale, a steroid-injected adaptation of the already potent 360 Modena, employs direct technology and hardware transfer from Ferrari's FIA GT and Ferrari Challenge racing efforts. The result is a street-legal road racer that only 250 "preferred" North American clients can purchase at their local Ferrari dealership. The Stradale's methodology applies three basic elements of a successful race car to the standard Modena coupe package: Make it lighter; make it more powerful; and make it handle better.

To further reduce the Modena's 3064-pound curb weight, comfort items, like interior carpeting, leather door panels, centre console, and radio, have been removed. In their place reside ribbed rubber floor matting and a carbon-fibre console and door panels. Even the revised instruments--the tach face is retina-scorching yellow with a bright-red indicator needle--are housed within a carbon-fibre panel.

A race-bred steering wheel carries longer F1-shifter paddles to aid in orchestrating the recalibrated six-speed electro hydraulic transmission. The Stradale-spec F1 tranny now executes gear changes in just 150 milliseconds, 40 percent quicker than a standard Modena. More rigid, yet lighter-weight seats are constructed of carbon fibre and come wrapped in your choice of leather or suede/fabric. A big arrivederci to the Modena's back glass; it's been replaced with a lightweight Lexan rear windscreen with carbon-fibre supports. Carbon-fibre side mirrors pirated from Ferrari's 360 GT are standard; fixed-position Lexan side windows with small slide back openings are optional. Weight drops by a total of 242 pounds.

Although the standard Modena power plant puts out more than 100 horsepower/ litre, there were a few more cavallini rampanti to be found. The stock 11:1 pistons were replaced with lightweight 11.2:1 slugs fit to the existing titanium con rods. A revised intake manifold boasting specially machined inlet trumpets is matched with a higher-volume air-mass meter to improve incoming airflow. The five-valve cylinder heads' intake and exhaust runners have been ported for improved flow as the engine sings at its 8500-rpm redline. A lightweight exhaust system reduces back pressure and leaves little doubt as to why the sound system was deleted: At idle, the 425-horse Stradale emits a racy rasp, and at wide-open throttle, it becomes the most wicked of wails.

Ride height has been lowered by 15 mm, thanks to shorter, 20-percent-stiffer coil springs constructed of titanium for weight saving. The rear anti-roll bar diameter has been increased by 1 mm and works with revised, driver-adjustable dampers; they're linked to a cockpit-mounted "race" mode button delivering a track-specific calibration should the CS driver use the car for weekend track events. The suspension hardware (and software) delivered a surprisingly docile ride during city driving, yet offered more manageable vehicle control on Ferrari's famed Fiorano test track.

Special Pirelli PZero Corsa tires are fit to lightweight 19-inch Challenge wheels. Hiding behind those BBS rims is one of the most impressive aspects of the Stradale package: a race-ready set of 15-inch-diameter carbon-ceramic composite-material brake rotors clamped by six-piston alloy callipers. If you think these brakes look like those fit to the super-exotic Enzo, you're right. The only difference is that the Stradale uses five titanium wheel studs in place of the Enzo's spindle-mount wheel-retention method. The two-piece brake rotors not only reduce un -sprung weight by 16 percent, but proved absolutely fade-free during repeated racetrack punishment.

Design cues come straight from the track bound GT and Challenge cars. An optional centre stripe, recalling the '62 GTO prototype, runs front to rear over bodywork evidencing subtle aerodynamic modifications that increase down force by a staggering 50 percent. Other aero updates include extensions added under the front air intakes, revised side sills, and a redesigned rear under body replete with wind-tunnel-tested longitudinal turning vanes similar to those on F1 machines.

The Ferrari Challenge Stradale defines race technology for the street, and it comes wrapped in an emotional, exciting package. It's just too bad there'll be so few to go around.

Motor Trend

 

The Challenge Stradale builds on aerodynamic concepts employed on the 360 Modena by taking advantage of the racing set-up (stiffer and lower) and adopting specific solutions that have led to a gain of 50% in vertical load compared with the 360 Modena.

Despite such a significant increase in vertical load, after all the modifications and adjustments to set-up the car has a Cd equal to that of the 360 Modena (Cd = 0.335).
Four types of intervention were adopted to improve aerodynamics on the Challenge Stradale.
Front section: modification of the bumper, which now extends below the air intakes to increase load at the front but without disrupting airflow toward the rear.

Aerodynamic study of the car‘s underside and rear section: with the result of an increase in height at the rear and introduction of longitudinal fins to balance the load. The decision was also taken to modify the rear holder to achieve greater efficiency by adopting a shape more appropriate to the function.

Drag and modification of the sills: the new shape streamlines the rear wheels more completely and contributes significantly to improving the car‘s efficiency and balance. The combined result of these interventions is that compared with the 360 Modena, drag has remained unchanged, so leading to a significant increase in efficiency.
In addition to the interventions outlined so far, the focus on the Challenge Stradale‘s aerodynamics and styling has been enhanced by a painstaking review of all technical details of the project: 360 GT-style aerodynamic, carbon mirrors, new 19" wheels with a Challenge-type design.

Careful project development has led to a Challenge Stradale car weight that is fully 110 kg less than the 360 Modena, achieved by concentrating on three complementary spheres: materials, construction technology and project optimisation.
The basic material used to build the Challenge Stradale is aluminium, as was already the case for the 360 Modena and Spider. Aluminium has a specific weight one third of that of steel. This initial approach already made it extremely competitive (compared with the 360 Modena).
Starting from this base new developments were introduced specifically for the Challenge Stradale. Titanium, already used for the piston rods, was also adopted for parts of the suspension.

Carbon technology, derived directly from Formula 1 and used extensively on Ferrari limited-run road cars, was employed for the first time on an 8-cylinder car.
For the Challenge Stradale it has been used for both structural parts (door panels, racing seat shells, filter-box covers) and for interior and exterior trim features.

A particularly advanced construction technology was adopted for the car‘s floor pan. This involves impregnating the resin with multi-axial carbon fibres in a vacuum in order to obtain the necessary rigidity, but which
simultaneously leads to a 50% reduction in the weight of the floor pan itself.
A key factor in the search for the best weight-performance ratio for the Challenge Stradale was adopting a braking system comprising carbon-ceramic (CCM) discs developed for Formula 1 (combined with aluminium brake carriers as standard equipment) that mean a 16% reduction in the weight compared with conventional brake discs; given that the weight eliminated affects unsuspended masses, its contribution to the car‘s performance can be assumed to be even more significant.

Reducing a car‘s weight also means a reduction in its inertia. The main effect of this on the Challenge Stradale, together with the peak power increase provided by the V8 engine, is a considerable increase in performance, particularly as regards pick-up and acceleration.
The car accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.1 seconds and covers 400 metres from a standing start in 12.1 seconds.

The Challenge Stradale is equipped with the previous 360 Modena 90° V8 engine mounted centrally behind the cabin in a longitudinal configuration as a single block together with the gearbox and differential. Peak power output of the V8 engine has been raised to 425 bhp at 8,500 rpm to give an exceptional power rating that exceeds 118.5 bhp/litre, which makes it the most powerful aspirated V8 ever built by Ferrari also thanks to the ram-effect induction which, at maximum speed, increases power by 2%. The extremely high peak torque remains unchanged at 38 kgm at 4,750 rpm.
On the mechanical front, couplings for rotating parts in the Challenge Stradale‘s V8 have been carefully selected and this has led to a significant improvement in performance.

The entire development of the Challenge Stradale was based around F1-type electro-hydraulic transmission that controls the clutch and gearbox by means of blades integral with the steering column - a trademark of Ferrari cars and a solution developed specifically for racing.
The increase in precision guaranteed by the new control strategy applied specifically to this car, and also by a faster processing speed, has reduced gear-change time throughout the entire range of use, with a minimum of 150 milliseconds when using the super-performance option.

The available gear-change configurations are consistent with the car‘s top-level sporting profile and so only include manual gear-change operated by the driver using F1-type paddles (there is no automatic gearbox option).
The reverse gear is engaged by means of a button on the tunnel.
There are two gear-change configurations (Sport and Race): each of these configurations corresponds to an integrated car-control logic as regards damper set-up and traction control (ASR).

In ‘RACE‘ mode and with the ASR disengaged there‘s also a ‘launch control‘ strategy as used in Formula 1, a feature specially designed to give drivers a high-performance start in good grip conditions.
Essentiality - in the most specific meaning of the term - is the dominant characteristic of the Challenge Stradale‘s interior, right from the elimination of unnecessary features like carpeting and mats, to a racing-style interpretation for every single feature.

The rev counter located right in the centre of the instruments becomes the driver‘s main point of reference, emphasised by the yellow graphics and red indicator that ensure optimum contrast and legibility. The entire panel is enclosed within a carbon-fibre element that also houses secondary instruments and other telltales.

The new steering wheel, with a squashed crown in the upper section fitted with a sight just like on the racing version, has F1 gear-change paddles, the right one having been lengthened to facilitate changing up when pulling out of corners.
The car is fitted with carbon fibre-structure racing seats upholstered with a high-grip textile.
Door panels are made entirely of carbon fibre, as is the central tunnel, which has been designed to house all the car‘s main controls - ignition button, reverse gear button, dynamic vehicle settings (race, launch control, ASR excluder) within easy reach of the driver.

The car can be fitted with either 3-point attachment or 4-point racing attachment seat belts and an aluminium roll-bar that‘s 40% lighter than a conventional type, developed specifically for the Challenge Stradale.

The results are extremely significant: at 200 km/h the load increase is about 40 kg for a gain corresponding to the effect of a wing with 15 cm chord length and 1.8 m span.

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It seems some Ferrari owners would like their 360 Modena's served with more sizzle, so Maranello has obliged with the Challenge Stradale. They have, in a sense, "Enzo-ized" the 360.

You see the changes on the outside: a reshaped nose, side sills that better guide air around the rear wheels, a reworked spoiler atop the tail and a revision of the under body and rear air extractor.

The Stradale looks cooler too, squatting down on its 19-in. alloy wheels, which are fitted with Pirellis, 225/35ZR-19 front, 285/35ZR-19 rear.

A major component from the Enzo super car lurks inside those wheels, 15.0-in. carbon-ceramic disc brakes in front, and smaller discs of similar makeup for the rear.

The centre of gravity of the Challenge Stradale is 0.6 in. lower than a stock 360's, and the suspension has been stiffened, with a 20-percent increase in springing and damping. The driver is able to choose the suspension mode: an already firm Sport or a still more serious Race setting.

Inside the Stradale is the same beautifully finished carbon fibre used in the Enzo, adding a nice aura to the cockpit and contributing to the weight trimmed from the 360 Modena for this new version. Like the Enzo, the Stradale has carbon-fibre inner door panels, centre tunnel, seat shells, trim areas and several mechanical components. Using advanced plastic compounds for body panels, Lexan for the engine cover (and optional sliding side windows) and the lighter carbon-ceramic brakes, the Stradale weighs 242 lb. less than a 360 Modena.

Those changes bring a race-car feeling to the inside of the Stradale, with leather or a grippy cloth covering the seats. In addition to the generally spare-yet-elegant look of the cockpit, other elements from the Enzo include drilled aluminium pedals, a slightly flattened-top (but control-button-free) steering wheel, the same heating/air-conditioning switch panel and the air vents. Ahead is the gauge pod, with a yellow-face tachometer; while behind the steering-wheel rim are the F1 shift paddles.

These little levers to happiness work in the same manner as in the Enzo, the gearbox having two settings that work in conjunction with the suspension: Sport for genteel driving, Race for anything-but-genteel driving. Get in, foot on the brake, turn the key, pull both paddles back for neutral, punch the starter button, up on the right paddle for "1," off the brake and drive away. Reverse is button-actuated and there is no "Drive" button, but there is one that's better: "L.C."

Yup, launch control. Push the centre console button marked "R" for Race. Depress the ASR button to disable traction control. Have your left foot on the brake and activate L.C. Rev the throttle, step off the brake and you've slammed the clutch home.

Have a nice day. You'll be seeing 60 mph in about 4 seconds.

You are putting 425 bhp to the pavement, 30 more than in a 360 Modena. It's Ferrari's basic 3.6-liter 40-valve V-8 engine. But it's finessed for better breathing, the intake side ported and polished, the exhaust having a new low back-pressure system with a wonderfully rasty sound.

Which echoed off the hillsides and hairpin turns of the roads near Maranello, where the pavement never seems to rest on the straight and level. Dive to the left, twist up to the right activating up shifts and downshifts one could never manage by hand — can I do 150 milliseconds? I don't think so — and no longer missing the manual gearbox.

Steering is just about perfect, no need to readjust it in a corner, with such smooth turn-in that perhaps we should retire the term.

Okay, here's a set of corners with serious imperfections, patches and little ruts. And does the Challenge Stradale care? Not one whit, as both ends of the car track as true as if on new asphalt.

Despite the "Challenge" in the name, the Challenge Stradale is not meant for Ferrari's Challenge race series, but as a road car. And at a 20-percent premium over the 360 Modena — about $200,000 — the 250 Stradale's earmarked for North America could disappear as fast as the view out the rear window when you flip the F1 gearbox up another cog, throttle flat on the floor.

Check out this factory-modified version of Ferrari's 360 Modena. For use in the Ferrari Challenge series (a gentleman's racing league with regional divisions around the globe, including the U.S.), the Challenge Stradale benefits from aero tweaks, softer tires, stiffer suspension, and on and on. Racing in the Ferrari Challenge event as a support race for the United States Grand Prix at the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway should be worth the price of the car alone. Look for a First Drive article in the September issue of Road & Track and a feature in the upcoming edition of Rosso Ferrari.

Road & Track

 

Ten years on, this progressive mutation has now given way to a certain feeling of nostalgia for a Ferrari with no frills, which models like the F50 and Enzo have continued to express even though they were produced in limited runs. With the 360 Challenge Stradale, Ferrari again proposes the very essence of a racing car. Only features that were absolutely essential to the performance and safety were built into the car; the rest were left out. The end result is an extremely lightweight, fast sports saloon, with a true racing-style set-up and impeccable handling: a model offering top-level performance that incorporates experience gained over the many thousands of kilometres covered by drivers in Challenge Championships throughout the world and advanced testing with the 360 GTs that have participated in the FIA World Championship.

There‘s a choice of two Challenge Stradale versions: a more extreme one with racing seats and sliding windows, last used on the F40, and another, fitted with lighter, wrap-around, leather seats and wind-down windows.

Aerodynamics

The Challenge Stradale builds on aerodynamic concepts employed on the 360 Modena by taking advantage of the racing set-up (stiffer and lower) and adopting specific solutions that have led to a gain of 50% in vertical load compared with the 360 Modena. The results are extremely significant: at 200 km/h the load increase is about 40 kg for a gain corresponding to the effect of a wing with 15 cm chord length and 1.8 m span.

Despite such a significant increase in vertical load, after all the modifications and adjustments to set-up the car has a Cd equal to that of the 360 Modena (Cd = 0.335).

F1 Gearbox

The entire development of the Challenge Stradale was based around F1-type electro-hydraulic transmission that controls the clutch and gearbox by means of blades integral with the steering column - a trademark of Ferrari cars and a solution developed specifically for racing. The increase in precision guaranteed by the new control strategy applied specifically to this car, and also by a faster processing speed, has reduced gear-change time throughout the entire range of use, with a minimum of 150 milliseconds when using the super-performance option. The available gear-change configurations are consistent with the car‘s top-level sporting profile and so only include manual gear-change operated by the driver using F1-type paddles (there is no automatic gearbox option). The reverse gear is engaged by means of a button on the tunnel.

There are two gear-change configurations (Sport and Race): each of these configurations corresponds to an integrated car-control logic as regards damper set-up and traction control (ASR). In ‘RACE‘ mode and with the ASR disengaged there‘s also a ‘launch control‘ strategy as used in Formula 1, a feature specially designed to give drivers a high-performance start in good grip conditions.

Chassis

The Challenge Stradale has been derived from the 360 Modena and maintains the same basic approach and architecture. However significant changes have been made to the suspension system and set-up. The titanium front and rear springs are stiffer than on the 360 Modena (around +20%), whereas the rear bar has a larger diameter. These interventions have increased resistance to roll and dip and in general terms have made reaction to direction changes more rapid, giving the driver a more direct feel of the car.

Damper settings have been reviewed and defined specifically for this model. The car‘s centre of gravity has been lowered by 15 mm. The tyres are Pirelli P Zero Corsa type - this new Pirelli super-low tyre adopted specifically for the Challenge Stradale measures 225/35 at the front and 285/35 at the rear and is fitted on 19" Challenge-style wheels secured by titanium bolts. The choice of these tyres exclusively for the Challenge Stradale confirms the effectiveness of cooperation between two of motoring‘s historic brands, not only in the case of the Ferrari Challenge-Pirelli Trophy but also in the FIA GT Championship. A long series of tests carried out together with Pirelli has identified a tyre compound and tread design that maximises torque transfer to the road surface and produces very high lateral acceleration (1.3 g) while maintaining superb balance between the two axles. The innovative characteristics of this tyre, which made its world debut at the Geneva Show together with the Challenge Stradale, means grip can be adjusted to suit the thermal conditions under which the tyre must perform.

Braking System

The braking system on the Challenge Stradale comprises carbon-ceramic (CCM, Carbon Composite Material) discs: the result of highly advanced studies conducted by Ferrari in conjunction with Brembo, the supplier of this system. Dimensions of the brake discs are as follows: front: 380 mm diameter x 34 mm thickness, and a differentiated-diameter, 6-piston calliper; rear: 350 mm diameter x 34 m thickness; and a differentiated-diameter, 4-piston calliper The carbon-ceramic system installed on the Challenge Stradale, together with the aluminium brake carriers, makes for astounding performance and braking distance. In terms of weight, the reduction achieved for the Challenge Stradale is 16% when compared with conventional brake discs. Overall deceleration rates for the Challenge Stradale are 15% better than for the 360 Modena.

Racing Interior

Essentiality - in the most specific meaning of the term - is the dominant characteristic of the Challenge Stradale‘s interior, right from the elimination of unnecessary features like carpeting and mats, to a racing-style interpretation for every single feature. The rev counter located right in the centre of the instruments becomes the driver‘s main point of reference, emphasised by the yellow graphics and red indicator that ensure optimum contrast and legibility. The entire panel is enclosed within a carbon-fibre element that also houses secondary instruments and other telltales. The new steering wheel, with a squashed crown in the upper section fitted with a sight just like on the racing version, has F1 gear-change paddles, the right one having been lengthened to facilitate changing up when pulling out of corners. The car is fitted with carbon fibre-structure racing seats upholstered with a high-grip textile.

Door panels are made entirely of carbon fibre, as is the central tunnel, which has been designed to house all the car‘s main controls - ignition button, reverse gear button, dynamic vehicle settings (race, launch control, ASR excluder) within easy reach of the driver. The car can be fitted with either 3-point attachment or 4-point racing attachment seat belts and an aluminium roll-bar that‘s 40% lighter than a conventional type, developed specifically for the Challenge Stradale.

Top Speed

 

With the 360 Modena nearly four years old and Ferrari wanting to homologate some improvements for their GTC racer, this car was introduced, the Challenge Stradale. Weighing in at just 20kg more than the Challenge, it features a host of aero and mechanical refinements that combine to make it 3.5 seconds faster around Fiorano than a stock Modena. New titanium wheel bolts and damper springs increase resistance to roll and dip and have made directional changes more rapid. The damper settings themselves have been re-rated to provide a 15mm lower centre of gravity while a particularly advanced multi-axial carbon floor pan is 50% lighter than before and also increases rigidity. Perhaps the most significant arrival though are carbon brakes as standard.

Developed initially for use in Formula 1, these carbon-ceramic discs are combined with new aluminium brake carriers, the 19-inch Challenge-style BBS alloy wheels being secured by titanium bolts and shod with Pirelli P Zero Corsa tyres designed specifically for this car. At the same time, Ferrari's engine revisions are no less mouth-watering, peak output of the now familiar 3.6-litre V8 having been raised from 400 to 425bhp at an identical 8500rpm. Designated Tipo 131, this reworked motor is riddled with improvements like new heads and pistons that allow an increase in compression to 11.2:1, low-friction cylinder blocks also being used. There's a new intake manifold, revised intake timing, a low counter-pressure exhaust silencer and re-positioned valve-springs, the transmission additionally coming in for some serious attention. Only available with the F1-style paddle change, the Challenge Stradale box has a faster processing speed that reduces change times to just 150 milliseconds when operating in Race mode. There are once again two alternative gear-change configurations (Sport and Race), each of which corresponds to an integrated car-control logic regarding damper set-up and traction control (ASR). In Race mode and with the ASR disengaged, there's a launch control facility as used in Formula 1, a feature designed to give drivers the fastest possible start in good grip conditions.

Pininfarina's bodywork has come under serious scrutiny, a revised aero pack resulting in a gain of 50% more vertical load being generated and allowing for much faster cornering speeds. This has been achieved by adopting a modified front bumper that extends below the air intakes to increase down force at the front, deeper side sills streamlining the rear wheels and contributing significantly to improving the cars efficiency and balance. Additional down force is generated at the back by a subtly re-profiled tailgate whilst oval cooling vanes now surround the engine cover. Inside, carbon racing seats are upholstered in high-grip cloth or leather and fitted either with four-point harnesses or traditional safety belts. Customers can also choose between sliding Lexan windows or electric glass items.

The door panels and centre console are made entirely of carbon fibre whilst all carpeting is discarded in favour of a racing-style cabin with just rubber mats for comfort. Located in the centre of the instrument binnacle, the rev counter becomes the drivers main point of reference and is emphasised by the yellow graphics and red indicator that ensure optimum contrast and legibility. The entire panel is enclosed within a carbon-fibre element and fronted by a new flat top steering wheel with an extended right-hand side gear-change paddle to make changing up easier when exiting corners. All told, this equates to a weight saving of some 110kg over a stock Modena and explains the dramatic improvement in performance. Cost options include a radio, tricolour centre stripe, fire extinguisher and an aluminium roll-cage, this being 40% lighter than a conventional type and developed specifically for the Stradale. A practically limitless range of paint and interior colour combinations allow buyers to order a genuinely bespoke motorcar, but at £133,000, the base price is already well above the original Modena. Nevertheless, launched during March 2003 at the Geneva Salon, the first deliveries were made that October and the car has been a great success no doubt thanks to its homologation special status.

QV500

 

THE FERRARI 360 CHALLENGE STRADALE
photos by Roberto Carrer

It would seem Ferrari is not one for abbreviations if the 360 Challenge Stradale is anything to go by. It may well be a mouthful but there is a method to this madness. The cognisant among you would have heard of the Ferrari Challenge Championship a one make, one model race series for customers. The Challenge cars are factory prepared race versions of the 360 Modena with a FIA sealed and inspected engine rated conservatively at 400 bhp, exactly the same as the standard 360. However its dry weight is just 1160 kg considerably lighter than the 1290 kg of the Modena. Ferrari has also developed the 360 GT for the FIA GT Championships which is an even more extreme car having 430 bhp and weighing just 1100 kg.

Both these cars are not for sale to the general public and they had to come up with something new to market to address the challenge posed by the new Porsche GT3 and the forthcoming Lamborghini Gallardo.

The technical brief given to the engineers for the new car was to use their collective knowledge of the 360 Challenge, 360 GT and F-1 development and come up with the “Stradale”. Incidentally “Stradale” is Italian for “road” or “street” which implies this is the road-going version of the Challenge car. In reality it is a little more than that. Its 3.6-litre V8 develops 25 bhp more than the standard car’s and it’s dry weight is 1180 kg, just a little heavier than the Challenge car’s thanks to the need for daily luxuries like air-conditioning, air-bags and a stereo system. For the discerning owner, there is an extreme variant of the Stradale with race seats and Lexan sliding windows while the standard version gets leather wrapped seats and electric wind-up windows.

The real good news is that the Stradale is not just a one-off model but it will join the current line up of the 360 Modena and Spider with a potential production rate of 900 units a year. If you think that’s a lot for such a specialised car think again, The production for this year, some 400 units have already been snapped up and they are already taking orders for well into next year. July is the date of the first customer deliveries in Europe and USA but the RHD version will only be available in September.

If you like us think Ferrari had gone a little soft in recent years, merely pandering to the tastes of the well heeled, well the Stradale addresses this lingering doubt. Unfortunately it still panders to the well heeled because it costs about 25% more. However it is a substantially revised and focused car far more than the minor cosmetics would suggest. Take note those of you thinking of convincing your other half because it does not have an auto mode, it’s that focused.

The short version of the technical brief is just 3 seconds, the very time the engineering team had to shave off the original 360 Modena’s lap time around Fiorano track. Not an easy task as the Modena is already plenty fast. More power is not the key nor is it the quicker shift times. Sure the 25 bhp and 150 ms shifts help but the trick is to reduce weight and they did so by a substantial 110 kg. Un-sprung mass reduction which included things like titanium wheel studs, springs and CCM (Carbon Ceramic Brakes) contributed to 5 kg. The engine and gearbox shaved another 11 kg with the use of titanium con rods, lightweight exhaust plumbing and selective machining of components.

But the bodywork saved a whopping 94 kg by the strategic use of carbon fibre on the door panels, engine bonnet, racing seats, air filter and intake casings and various interior inserts. The under body tray is also optimised taking 50% off its original weight. The use of Lexan in the side windows eliminates the glass and winding mechanism which is also quite a considerable weight saving.

Aerodynamic tuning was focused to provide even more down force without increasing drag which remains at Cd 0.335. With just small revisions to the front spoiler, side skirts and the under body, Ferrari has managed to increase down force to 270 kg at 295 km/h about 90 kg greater than the Modena. Thankfully there are no wings or add on spoilers to mess up the clean lines of the car.

Although the V8 engine still displaces 3586cc, it has been optimised by porting and polishing. More importantly its compression ratio has crept up to 11.2:1. Revisions to cam timing and ignition timings further optimise combustion efficiency. Getting the exhaust gasses out has also received attention with a new low back-pressure exhaust silencer system. This being the most obvious change as the exhaust bark is as loud as the latest WRC cars’. Ferrari themselves admit that there will probably be some revisions to make it quieter as even the local Modenese were not so happy with our cars as we flew by at full throttle.

Then again it could be the speed at which these machines whisked by because the Stradale sounds and behaves like a track car. The reduction of 110 kg is very telling as the car really rockets ahead given there is just a modest hike in power. The same rocket effect can be attained with even more horsepower but inertia due to weight will not be easily overcome with just better brakes. No doubt, the 364mm CCM brakes have the requisite stopping power but it is the low weight of the car that allows the brakes to produce incredibly short stopping distances. The CCM brakes are there to provide the stamina. The five laps around Fiorano did not wilt the brakes one bit and they were used very hard especially down the fast straight where it had to wipe off 200 plus km/h in one stab for the 2nd gear tight right hander.

Lowering the weight of a car is better than increasing horsepower or extending it’s redline to 9000 rpm. All other things being equal, not only does the car accelerate faster because there is less weight to pull, it stops a lot faster too. As if that were not enough it corners harder as well because the tyres have less mass pushing the car wide.

It would not be fair to give all the credit to the car as the latest Pirelli P-Zero Corsa seem to produce amazing grip, approaching that of race compounds. The quasi race tyres have a tread pattern that allows it to pass street regulations with sufficient (borderline) drainage for wet weather use. It is suited mainly for dry weather use and it positively acts like glue. Of course it should be durable but do not expect it to match the Rosso’s longevity especially since it will be seeing a lot of track use. Pirelli has worked in conjunction with the Ferrari engineers on this project and the Corsa will be the only tyres available for the Stradale but that is absolutely no drawback it turns out.

The suspension of course has been revised. It helps lower the car’s centre of gravity by 15mm and this not only adds to the handling and grip but it also increases the ground effect to attain that 270 kg of down force at 295 km/h. Titanium is now used in the springs, a particularly difficult engineering task but there is a 27% weight savings and are now 20% stiffer. The dampers are electronically controlled and have two settings. Sport and Race, no prizes for guessing which one is stiffer. While Ferrari claims the normal setting “Sport” is more comfortable over their cobble stone roads, “Race” sharpened the chassis response vividly, much more than Sport provided comfort. Race setting also controls other engine and transmission settings to allow the most performance to be eked out from the chassis.

Admittedly the rock hard Race setting will jiggle your brain to jelly and on a few occasions effect vision; Race mode is still the setting to enable. Ferrari had mapped out a decent course for us but there was one particular road that legend had it having 100 corners. Taking a detour was not what Ferrari had in mind but it just had to be done. As for the 100corners, by the third corner all other non-vital activity ceased and the focus was on pure driving. Sure the road was not in pristine condition and it may have been a few corners shy of 100 but it snaked all the way down the mountain for 20 incredible minutes. There were a few moments the ASR saved the day but it cuts in very late, even later in Race setting.

The positive way the steering relays grip and balance, the way the gears change at just a flick of a stalk, the way that the power shoots the car out of corners, the way the tyres grip and grip and the way you become one with the car in all that it does is just astounding. There was no need for a track session at Fiorano to tell us this is something really special. Fiorano was just the icing on a very nice cake. They had secretly wired the Stradale with telemetry and saved it all in their computers no doubt to blackmail us in some way later on but it proved that this is the Ferrari to use on and off the track. This is the Ferrari to own if driving is what you live for. This is the best-darned Ferrari they have come up with yet. In its final iteration the 360 Challenge Stradale shaves three and a half seconds off the Modena’s Fiorano times, mission accomplished.

SPECIFICATIONS

ENGINE
CAPACITY : 3586cc
CYLINDER LAYOUT : V8 90 degree
VALVES : 5-valve heads 40 valves DOHC per bank
BORE X STROKE : 85 x 79mm
COMPRESSION RATIO : 11.2:1
MAXIMUM POWER : 425 bhp at 8500 rpm
MAXIMUM TORQUE : 373 Nm at 4750 rpm

TRANSMISSION
TYPE : 6-speed F-1 Electro-hydraulic control
DRIVEN WHEELS : Rear

PERFORMANCE
TOP SPEED : 300 km/h
0-100KM/H : 4.1 seconds

SUSPENSION
FRONT : Double wishbones, Forged Aluminium
REAR : Double wishbones, Forged Aluminium

BRAKES
FRONT : 380mm Carbon Ceramic Discs
REAR : 350mm Carbon Ceramic Discs

TYRES
TYPE : Pirelli P-Zero Corsa
SIZE : f: 225/35 ZR 19, r: 285/35 ZR 19

SAFETY
ABS : Yes
AIRBAGS : Yes x 2
TRACTION CONTROL : ASR

MEASUREMENTS
LENGTH : 4477mm
WIDTH : 1922mm
HEIGHT : 1199mm
WHEELBASE : 2600mm
DRY WEIGHT : 1180 kg
TURNING CIRCLE : 10.8m
 

Summary
What a brilliant Ferrari. The weight reduction program improves all performance aspects of the F360 CS even without the extra horses but Ferrari didn't stop there and pushed power to 425 bhp. Raw and exciting. Always a life affirming drive. Best Ferrari in the stables now (2003).- AL

Motor Prime