Giampaulo Dallara was recruited out of college by Enzo Ferrari himself and, after a stint at Maserati, was poached by Ferruccio Lamborghini to become the technical father of the Miura.
Yet the first road-legal car to bear his name owes far more to the tradition of the man the sprightly 81-year old admits has always been his personal engineering hero, Colin Chapman. So it is entirely appropriate to see a resemblance to Lotus in this doorless lightweight.
Dallara had long wanted to build his own car, but the project was delayed on multiple occasions by client work: his company is the biggest builder of racing chassis in the world, but has also worked on road cars as diverse as the KTM X-Bow and Bugatti Chiron.
Although designed to perform on track, the Stradale is named for its road legality and will be sold as a basic modular barchetta to which windscreen, roof and rear wing can be added and removed as desired.
The powerplant is very blue collar for a blue-blooded Italian: a retuned version of the 2.3-litre turbo ‘four’ from the Ford Focus RS, producing 395bhp. A six-speed, Ford-sourced manual is standard, with a clutch-less automated version of the same gearbox an option.
With both tub and bodywork made from carbonfibre, the other side of the power-to-weight ratio is kept low; Dallara claims just 855kg sans screen and roof. The power delivery is boosty, with an exciting swelling sensation as turbo pressure builds.
The Stradale is certainly quick, and the throttle response is sharp for a turbocharged engine, but it lacks aural character beyond an enhanced take on the rorty RS soundtrack.
Its ride is impressive on broken Italian roads and the steering is brilliant: unassisted and with copious feedback, growing stiffer as speed and downforce build.
Experiencing the latter properly means taking to the track, and Dallara has laid on the Nardo circuit. Switching to a car wearing both trackspec Trofeo R tyres and rear wing gives a chance to experience the most hardcore Stradale: the 810kg peak downforce is more than many racers enjoy.
It takes time to recalibrate to what the Dallara can do, generating up to 2G of lateral load and allowing corners to be taken at impossible-feeling speeds without drama. Unless you regularly race or fly aerobatic planes, your neck muscles will grow tired long before the car does.
The Stradale isn’t perfect: the engine doesn’t feel special enough considering the price-tag, the brake pedal is overservoed and poorly positioned for heel-and-toeing, and luggage is pretty much limited to what you can fit into your pockets.
But with no more than 600 to be built exclusivity is guaranteed, and the Stradale will likely be the only road car to ever carry one of the most famous names in motorsport.
- Engine 2261cc turbo ‘four’; 395bhp @ 6200rpm; 368Ib ft @ 3-5000rpm
- Transmission six-speed manual, RWD
- 0-60mph 3.2 secs
- Top speed 173mph
- Mpg n/a
- Price from £130,037 (plus taxes)