► First road car by fabled engineering co.
► Track-focused mid-engined sports car
► Carbon tub, 400bhp turbo engine, 855kg
Long-rumoured and finally here, this is the first road car to bear the name of famous racing car company Dallara.
The Italian engineering firm founded by Gian Paolo Dallara has designed countless racing cars and worked on a variety of production cars for other manufacturers, but this is the first time it’s released a road car of its own.
It’s called the Dallara Stradale – it has a ring to it, doesn’t it? Stradale meaning ‘road’ or ‘street’ in Italian, it’s at the harder-core end of the road car market, as you’d expect from a company which makes its bread constructing IndyCars and Formula E racers.
Aimed at the trackday market, the Stradale is screenless, roofless and doorless as standard – but all can be added, converting it into a targa or a coupe.
It’s an appropriate day to reveal the new car officially, as it’s Gian Paolo Dallara’s birthday – he turns 81 today (16 November 2017).
Dallara Stradale: the details
As far back as the September 2014 issue of CAR magazine Gian Paolo Dallara confirmed a back-to-basics eponymous sports car due to arrive by 2017, but it’s been in the company’s plans for long before that. Work began in earnest in 2015, with 20 engineers and five mechanics working under Mr Dallara’s direction.
The Stradale is built around a carbonfibre monocoque, with a mid-mounted 2.3-litre turbocharged Ford EcoBoost four-cylinder engine as seen in the Focus RS, tuned to around 400bhp.
Despite the turbocharged powertrain, dry weight is only 855kg. A rear wing is optional for extra downforce, and in roofed form with the spoiler fitted, the Stradale is said to be capable of creating as much as 820kg of downforce, with cornering forces in excess of 2g possible.
Steering is unassisted - this a lightweight virtuous circle here – and initially the car is offered with a manual gearbox, although a paddleshift option is understood to be in development.
Bosch stability control, traction control and ABS is standard.
It’s built at Dallara’s factory near Parma, Italy.
How much is the Dallara Stradale?
If you were hoping for an affordable sports car, you’re out of luck – it starts at around €155,000.
That’s before taxes, and if you fancy the windscreen, roof or doors options, you’d need several thousand euros more.
First customers take delivery in the next few days. Around 600 cars are expected to be built in total, over the next five years or so.
‘I like to think that Colin Chapman, who I began to admire since the days of his Lotus Seven, would appreciate the essentiality and simplicity of this car,’ Gian Paolo Dallara says. ‘This project sums up everything we learned from racing and from collaborations with our clients, and I am convinced that those who will use this car will be able to try the pleasure of driving for the sake of driving.’
Styling was by Lowie Vermeersch’ studio, former chief designer at Pininfarina, and one of the development drivers was Loris Bicocchi, who has helped develop everything from the Pagani Zonda to the Bugatti Veyron. His initial reports sound promising:
‘From the first laps on the track I realized that [the Stradale] represents what Dallara cars are well-known for: a stiff chassis, top-quality kinematics and suspensions and an aerodynamics that you begin to feel at 60/80kph (37-50mph). On the road, it passes through deformations, humps and holes without affecting the steering wheel and it maintains a high comfort level. Fast but safe: stability, traction and braking controls seldom intervene. It lets you drive and does not give you anxiety.’
Pricey, then, but there’s no doubting this car’s pedigree – expect it to be pretty special to drive.
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 the Bugatti Veyron.
'I'm often been asked why I never did a sports badged Dallara,' the engineer told us. 'A lack of money and not enough time. But now I'm ready to go ahead with a lightweight two-seater bearing my name.'