Boss Scag: Nipped & Tucked

<< Back to Robb Report, May 2004
  • Robert Farago

You don’t have to be a brain surgeon to recognize the racing merits of Ferrari’s stripped-down Challenge Stradale. You just have to drive the car. When he test-drove the Stradale—a lighter, faster, race-ready version of the 360 Modena—Joel Franck, a neurosurgeon from Durham, Maine, knew he had found a durable alternative to his more civilized Maseratis. After purchasing the Stradale earlier this year, Franck graciously shared the first ride in his new 425 hp vehicle. “I like this,” he remarked as we pulled out of the Ferrari of New England lot. “I think I’m going to have trouble keeping it parked.”

Franck may not be alone. Although Ferrari presents the Stradale as a purebred track animal, spend a few minutes behind the wheel and you might argue against that assessment. The changes made to the 360 Modena have improved the driving experience without compromising the car’s practicality. In other words, the Challenge Stradale supports the adage that less is more. The Stradale’s door panels, floor, brake discs, seats, and trim are made of lightweight carbon fiber, and the suspension and wheel bolts are fashioned from titanium. As a result, the car weighs 242 pounds less than the 360 Modena.

The moment I took the helm of Franck’s Ferrari, the benefits of the Stradale’s weight-reduction program became apparent. Turn-in was much crisper, long sweepers were dispatched with even greater disdain, and with an extra 25 horses on tap, everything happened a bit faster. (The carbon ceramic brakes were greatly appreciated.) From the squashed-crown steering wheel to the black-on-yellow central tachometer, the interior reflects the Stradale’s athleticism—as does the car’s electrohydraulic transmission, which offers a race mode and a launch control button, the same component that Ferrari’s Formula One machines feature.

From Around the Web...
The 250 LM that took the checkered flag at Le Mans in 1965.
The 15-car exhibition includes some of the marque’s most memorable machines…
 2018 Jaguar F-Type
The 2018 Jaguar F-Type now offers a wider range of power trains and tech features to choose from…
Lamborghini Huracán RWD Spyder
The recently released raging bull is a wilder ride than its all-wheel-drive counterpart…
Infiniti’s QX80 Monograph concept.
Revealed at the New York Auto Show, the vehicle displays the marque’s enlightened exterior design…
Porsche Design Tower Miami
We head to the opening of the Porsche Design Tower Miami for a ride in the famed Dezervator…
The 2015 McLaren P1 GTR being offered at the RM Sotheby's Villa Erba sale.
A McLaren P1 GTR, a Ferrari LaFerrari, and Porsche 918 Spyder to be offered at Villa Erba sale…
The Fittipaldi EF7 VGT by Pininfarina
The coachbuilder teamed with renowned racer Emerson Fittipaldi to create the carbon-fiber...
Jaguar and Bentley are among the marques charging ahead on all-electric cars and concepts…
The Callaway Corvette Aerowagen Shooting Brake
The performance package gives the car 757 hp and a rear hatch…
The Rickman Revival Velocette
The three-day celebration of beautiful bikes will also feature a Wall of Death stunt show…