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Dallara branches out from track to road with 2017 coupe

Published: 12 May 2017

► Legendary racing engineer's road car plans
► A tiny driver-focused mid-engined sports car
► Turbo power, expected to launch late in 2017

Dallara - the engineering company involved in top-end motorsport from Formula E to Indycar - is readying a sports car for the road, and these new spyshots have captured a prototype undergoing tests in Germany.

Back in the September 2014 issue of CAR magazine, the firm's founder Gian Paolo Dallara confirmed a back-to-basics eponymous sports car due to arrive by 2017.

It’s clear the Dallara road car will be extremely focused: target weight stands at just 850kg, enabled by the use of carbonfibre, just like on the Alfa Romeo 4C that Dallara helped to develop. Its overall dimensions are clearly tiny, with modestly sized wheels and tyres.

Dallara sports car prototype

Dallara's sports car for the road: the news

To achieve that low mass, we're talking here about a simple sports car in the vein of the 4C and Lotus Elise with few niceties such as air-conditioning and a driving experience unsullied by electronic driver aids.

Steering is unassisted - this a lightweight virtuous circle here - and power is likely to come from a four-cylinder turbo good for 300bhp. Original reports suggested the engine would be sourced from Italian neighbours at Fiat/Alfa, but subsequent industry gossip points to the 2.3-litre Ecoboost engine as seen in the Ford Focus RS, tuned to an increased power output in excess of 350bhp.

Expect the Dallara to launch later in 2017, priced around €80,000 (£64,000). Production is limited to no more than 100 units a year.

Dallara sports car prototype

Dallara: a quick history

Dallara the person has become something of a motor industry legend. First hired by Enzo Ferrari in 1959, the engineer introduced wind tunnels to Maranello, worked on the 250 GTO, joined Maserati and then Lamborghini.

'We developed the 350 GT, Miura and the Espada on a shoestring budget and within a ridiculously short timeframe,' Dallara told CAR. 'The Miura was perhaps the most significant sports car of its era. Bob Wallace did all the test driving with the only two prototypes we could afford - just 30,000km -and even those mules were sold!'

He set up his eponymous automotive engineering company in 1972 and has worked in F1 and all levels of motorsport. Most weekends, 300 Dallara racers take to the track in everything from Formula 3 to Indycar. But Dallara has also worked on low-volume road cars, such as KTM's X-Bow, the Maserati MC12 and even the Bugatti Veyron.

'I'm often been asked why I never did a sports badged Dallara,' says the 80-year-old engineer. 'A lack of money and not enough time. But now I'm ready to go ahead with a lightweight two-seater bearing my name.'

By Georg Kacher

European editor, secrets uncoverer, futurist, first man behind any wheel