Ferrari F430 CS: the lowdown
Ferrari is about to take the fight to homegrown rival Lamborghini's front door. This autumn it will unveil a hardcore F430 derivative as a riposte to the upstart Gallardo Superleggera. Seems like recent eco concept the Mille Chili wasn't a sign that Maranello had gone all soft after all... The range-topping F430 - dubbed Challenge Stradale after its predecessor - is Ferrari back to business as usual. It'll be the hardest, fastest bottom-rung sports car it's ever made.
So what's new on the F430 Challenge Stradale?
Details are scarce at this stage, as Ferrari is keen to keep its powder dry for the planned unveil at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September. But it looks certain that the fastest F430 will be sent on a weight-saving and body-building exercise. Expect to see the regular V8 fettled to hike power from 483bhp to nearer the magical 500bhp mark, according to our sources. Maranello V8s have always been rev happy and this newcomer will be no different, with a raucous-sounding 9000rpm redline. Sounds like aural heaven or hell, depending on where you're sitting.
The Mille Chili was all about light weight. Will the top F430 follow suit?
Oh yes. Word is that lightweight materials will feature extensively; along with a weight-saving programme to trim away unnecessary equipment, Ferrari aims to shave around 100kg off the standard car's 1450kg kerb weight. The F430 Challenge race car is a blueprint for the Challenge Stradale. It runs the same 483bhp 4.3-litre V8, but is 225kg lighter thanks to a lighter windscreen, carbonfibre intake plenum cover and a new exhaust.
Will there be other technical highlights?
Expect the new road car to share other race-spec details with the Challenge track special: carbon ceramic brakes, mechanical differential, track-honed suspension and revised electronics for more exciting handling. Our spy photos reveal bigger air intakes on the car's nose and enlarged scoops on the car's flanks feeding the mid-mounted V8.
What do the suits say about the top F430?
Earlier this year, Ferrari boss Luca di Montezemolo told CAR Online: 'Before the end of the year, we will have a new car. It will have F1 technology. It will embrace the know-how of weight reduction and high performance learnt from our F1 experience.' One of the few question marks about the hardcore F430 is its name. Will it be called Challenge Stradale like its 360 predecessor? At this stage, nobody is committing and Ferrari has a history of introducing new names with new models. But the CS monicker is known to be one option on the table. Expect the top F430 to go on sale in early 2008 for around £150,000.