For the second article in the Dallara series, we will take you onboard the Dallara Stradale for a review. The Dallara Stradale has been a very special test drive for us. Driving a car like this is in fact a unique experience. The Dallara Stradale is not only a sports car, but it also represents a great achievement for the company. Giampaolo Dallara’s dream was to produce a car that would represent the entire know-how developed in 50 years of experience. The mission has been successful. Once driving, it takes very little time to notice.
Just think that the first example of the Stradale was delivered to Giampaolo Dallara on his eightieth birthday. Mr Dallara drove the car out of the same building where he had founded his company half a century earlier. For the design of Dallara Stradale, all the company’s resources have been used, usually dedicated to external customers. An example is the use of the Dallara professional driving simulator that we saw in our previous article. Engineers, technicians and test drivers have been able to define the settings of the suspensions, engine and handling, testing the car in a virtual environment even before a prototipe was produced.
The development of the tires, the kinematics of the suspension and the calibration of springs, bars and shock absorbers have been fine-tuned to achieve the excellent combination of grip and comfort, all thanks to the simulator. The design of the front tire has been optimized to make the driver feel in direct connection with the asphalt, creating an immediate feeling with the car, while the rear tire guarantees a very high lateral performance while maintaining a good level of comfort in terms of impact on roughness and related damping. The car is also equipped with a limited slip differential and a BOSCH Electronic Stability Control system, to ensure the best control of the car in all conditions of use.
The study of aerodynamics carried out in parallel with the design and style, the numerous sessions in the wind tunnel and the virtual analysis of flows with the support of CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics), helped to create a car with elegant and aerodynamically efficient shapes. The Dallara Stradale has two aerodynamic configurations: Track and Standard. Both guarantee exceptional downforce levels, well balanced for car handling. The Track configuration involves the use of a variable section carbon rear wing, which in combination with the front diffuser allows to generate up to 820 kg of downforce at maximum speed, with lateral accelerations bigger than 2G with road tires.
The many hours spent designing Dallara Stradale have paid off. In fact, we are talking about a unique car. It is so unique that it is difficult to compare it with other vehicles, in fact when we talk about it we must always keep in mind the assumption with which it has been designed and finally built. It was born to go to the race track, having fun and returning home with a single vehicle. The fact that the race track is its natural habitat can also be understood from the standard configuration which is that of a “Barchetta”. Through options, it can become a Roadster or even a Targa. The carbon monocoque has no doors, and adopts a typical Formula layout. This, in addition to making it more rigid and reducing its weight, made it possible to position the radiator and the intake in the rear; in this way the air is collected by the two large nostrils placed at the front and then flows along the sides and thus reaches the maximum efficiency of these two flows.
The lightness of the Dallara Stradale was a design imperative. The car body is compact and the use of carbon fiber is so extensive that even components that appear to have lower priority have been made of this material. The results are quite evident, in fact, in the “Barchetta” configuration the weight is only 855kg. All this results, of course, are achieved thanks to decades of experience in the processing of composites. The Stradale is equipped with a well-known engine, the 4-cylinder EcoBoost 2.3L of the Ford Focus RS which, developed together with Bosch, manages to reach 400 horsepower and 500nm of torque between 3000 and 5000 rpm. Dallara replaced the turbo, introduced a single-mass flywheel that saved 7kg and redesigned the lubrication system to adapt it to higher lateral accelerations. Regarding the engine, it is possible to choose two modes of use: Normal, which delivers less power and favors comfort and ease, and Sport where the engine is pushed to the maximum performances. You can choose between a six-speed manual gearbox or a robotic gearbox equipped with paddles on the steering wheel. If the customer chooses the robotic gearbox, the driving modes also change their behavior, making it faster and more incisive in Sport mode.
The Dallara Stradale makes the owner feel like a real driver already when gets on board. In fact, climbing, or rather descending, inside is already part of the experience. You literally have to step over the car body and place your first foot in the dedicated recess, then sit down and fasten the four-point seat belt. The seat is fixed and positioned as low as possible, the pedal and steering wheel can be adjusted. The latter is not equipped with power steering and is also the central hub of the car’s main controls. The Dallara Stradale welcomes the driver making him feel immediately wrapped inside the car. The front of the frame is raised above the ground to provide space for the front diffuser. This ensures that the driver’s feet are positioned higher than the seat, exactly as happens in a Formula car, allowing maximum connection between the driver and the car and a feeling typical of racing cars.
The Dallara Stradale, thanks to the incredible precision in the design, gives almost immediate safety, it seems to have been driving it for a lifetime. This means immediate fun, while being aware that performances can always be improved. A bit like a professional driver, you have the feeling of going very fast but also that you can do even more. The ability to absorb the roughness of the road surface is also stunning. This guarantees immediate traction, also thanks to the semi-slick tires the car is equipped with. The steering is very close to perfection. Thanks to the absence of power steering, the connection with the road is direct and gives a feeling of absolute precision and reactivity.
The Dallara Stradale is a masterpiece. The low weight, the careful study of the vehicle dynamics, the high aerodynamic load are ingredients that make it a unique car. The Dallara Stradale has unimaginable performances for a vehicle dedicated for the road, yet comfortable, capable of enhancing the pure pleasure of driving in all its forms. A car that embodies a long-cherished dream, matured on tracks around the world and built with the best racing-derived technology. Only 600 cars will be produced, destined for very exclusive clients. For all the others it will remain a dream car, born from a dream, the one of Giampaolo Dallara who created, together with his team, a true work of art.