The Dallara Stradale has no doors, no roof and no windscreen – those are optional extras, on top of a base price of US$182,000. And yet lovers of true driver's cars will likely be lining up for these things, because it's the passion project of one of the world's greatest ever chassis designers, and it'll pull a whopping 2G of lateral acceleration in the corners.
But Dallara is much better known in the racing world, where the company's chassis work has underpinned the handling of Formula One, Two and Three cars, as well as being the sole chassis supplier for IndyCar, Renault World Series, GP3, Super Formula and Formula E.
And now, after two years of design and development, the company has built its first road car – something simple and stripped back to the essence of pleasurable road and track driving. Meet the Stradale.
We usually start with engine stats, as that's generally the heart of a car. Not really, in this case, but it's a 400-hp (298-kW), supercharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder unit that should be reliable; it's actually been developed out of a Ford EcoBoost engine. That might be odd for such an exotic machine, but then, 400 horses is arguably an outstanding amount of power for a machine centerd around driving pleasure. It's powerful, but not so powerful you can't really get a gumboot into it. This car should be exceptionally thrashable.
The transmission's a manual, but there's an optional paddle shift kit for faster shifting, with Normal and Sport modes to suit how you're driving it.
The overall weight of the Stradale is an eye-popping 855 kg (1,885 lb), or about the same as four sports motorcycles. This is thanks to "extensive use of composite materials and carbon fiber," as well as doing away with heavy luxuries like doors and windscreens. This is a car to be leapt into, Dukes of Hazzard style. Or if you're feeling classy, just step in – the seats have a helpful "step here" zone on them built for the task.
Springs, bars and dampers in the suspension have been "defined to maximize the compromise between grip and comfort," and the setup has been extensively tested, both in simulators and on the road, by a series of the kinds of drivers you'd expect these guys would have access to.
Bosch has chipped in with an electronics package that includes ABS, with electronic brake force distribution, as well as traction control and vehicle dynamics control to keep things on the safe side of fun.
Pirelli has contributed a specially-designed set of tires that focus on precision, grip and kinematic feel. And these hoops, in conjunction with the light weight and expert chassis design, allow a whopping 2G of lateral acceleration in the corners. That's not far shy of the much wider, million-dollar McLaren P1, which can hang on with up to 2.4G.
This is a wicked looking machine in its base configuration, or with a large rear wing added that gives you a mighty 820 kg (1,808 lb) of downforce at top speed.
If you don't mind ruining the open-top barchetta-style look, you can plonk on a curved windscreen, and there's a targa T-frame as well that accepts a pair of gull-wing doors to keep things totally enclosed. But this car looks so much better when you've got your noggin right out in the wind, picking the bugs out of your teeth like a motorcyclist as you whip it around corners.
Only 600 will be built, according to Automotive News, and 100 are already reserved at a base price of €155,000 (US$182,000). The first to roll off the shop floor has already been delivered to customer #1 – Giampaolo Dallara himself, who's been driving the thing on his home roads around the Dallara factory. That's just up the road from where he was born in Varano de Melegari, about 50 km from Italy's Motor Valley of Modena, and a fine place to find yourself if you love fast cars.
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