at home on track
handles like go-kart 360 Challenge built in
NIKA - SPECIAL TO
WEST PALM BEACH,
FLA.-Fairy tales can be instructive and, it
turns out, helpful in understanding the newest
Ferrari 360, the Challenge Stradale.
Goldilocks found one bed
too soft and the other too hard, but the last
one suited her just right.
I'd say the same about V8
Ferraris: The Ferrari 360 Modena is a refined
street car, the 360 Modena Challenge is a pure
racer and the Challenge Stradale (Italian for
street) is a bit of both.
The Stradale coupe is one
streeter that would be right at home on the
track. Ferrari has moved away from the
first-generation 360, deciding to take the
"less is more" route.
With less weight and
fewer frills, plus a set of great racing
seats, the newcomer has special appeal for
those who aspire to "upgrade" through
The Stradale's interior
is humble compared to the regular 360 Modena -
harsh and simple like that of a race car.
Carbon-fibre accents and the beckoning starter
button bestow an all-business air.
Ferraris, of course, are
meant to be driven on long straights, fast
curves and without any state troopers in
So, after a day of
lapping at Moroso Motorsports Park in Palm
Beach Gardens, near here, I set out for the
Stradale handling is
go-kart quick; you stick to the road like a
burr in fur; superb acceleration throws you
back in the seat.
Ah, the things the
prancing horse people have learned from the
Ferrari Challenge race series.
are key in this voluptuous coupe's design.
From the extended nose to the trunk lid's lip,
the changes enhance downforce and stability.
Nineteen-inch wheels, a
stiffer suspension and brakes featuring
carbon-ceramic composites à la Ferrari Enzo
are further advances on the 360 Modena.
Special compound Pirelli P Zero tires were
moulded for Stradale.
My one disappointment:
the optional radio that looks as out of place
as Donald Trump's hairpiece, Velcroed as it -
the radio - is to the bottom of the dashboard.
My advice: either make it
a part of the dash or leave it out.
The smooth, 425-horse,
3.6 L V8 is pure music, coming gloriously
alive at higher rpm.
Make no mistake: the mid-engined
Stradale is a collector's piece.
1,000 of these beauties will be built over a
two-year period (exclusivity that admittedly
trails that of the 399 Enzos planned).
A mere 250 are slated for
North America, with 25 to 30 earmarked for
Some Stradales were
delivered in the GTA this fall. One Toronto
buyer, who has owned more than 20 Ferraris so
far, is patiently waiting for his to arrive in
April. He ordered the car a year ago without
The "true experience," he
says, of savouring this limited-production
chef-d'oeuvre is the reason he forked over
some $300,000 - $193,000 (U.S.) - for the
A $5,000 optional racing
stripe doesn't add to the top speed of 299
km/h (186 mph) and the thrill of doing 0 to
100 km/h in 4.1 seconds.
Yes, Stradale is a drug -
and I'm an addict.
Bring Ferrari and helmet
Still think the
Ferrari Challenge Stradale is too little car
Then why not buy the
real race car - the 360 Modena Challenge - and
go play with the big boys and girls?
The Ferrari Challenge
racing series has morphed yet again, with new
rule changes expected to add excitement to
events where it is a support race, such as the
Montreal Grand Prix.
Though some dismiss it
as a smash 'em derby for the rich and famous,
don't discount the seriousness of the
competition in this series.
High costs and small
grids have been problems. With only 90
Challenge race cars sold in North America, as
few as nine cars raced in Texas last fall.
To coax a larger field
to take part, Ferrari North America is
allowing non-owners to race in what are now
called Ferrari Festivals, and a car can be
shared between racers.
The first race is
scheduled for March 19-21 at Infineon Raceway
at Sears Point, Calif.