September 13, 2007 When Ferrari pulls the covers off a new model, the world stops to look – especially when it’s an up-spec version of an already phenomenal car that’s been lightened, pumped up with a dose of steroids and packed to the gills with barely-filtered technology fresh from the garage of the oldest and most successful Formula One team in the paddock. Here it is: the brand new and much-anticipated Ferrari 430 Scuderia supercar.
Scuderia is Italian for ‘stable,’ yet to devotees of Ferrari’s prancing horse the word is inextricably entwined with the world’s most iconic racing team. But while the Scuderia Ferrari division concentrates all its efforts exclusively on the technical challenges of Formula One racing, the parent company’s new 430 Scuderia supercar is a more than competent road beast, as comfortable on a long tour as it is setting Enzo-like racetrack times.
Freshly unveiled at the Frankfurt IAA auto show, the 4.3-litre, 90-degree V8 430 Scuderia is an evolution of the F430 developed with significant input from Michael Schumacher. Extensive use of featherweight carbon fibre has made it a full 100kg lighter than the base model F430 – which Top Gear’s Jeremy Clarkson has already announced as “just about the best car I’ve ever driven” – and the breathed-on engine packs an extra 20 horsepower, giving it a total of 510hp at a stratospheric 8500rpm. Expect to run out of juice at around 320kmh, or tantalizingly close to 200mph.
The F1-Superfast2 6-speed gearbox is the fastest-shifting unit of any road-based sequential manual gearbox, changing gears in as little as 60 milliseconds for blistering acceleration through the gears. Rather than disengaging the clutch, disengaging the gear, engaging a new gear and engaging the clutch in sequence, the Formula One-derived unit overlaps the stages, disengaging clutch and gears partially in parallel for maximum speed.
The F430’s famous E-Diff system, the first electronically controlled differential on a road car, is maintained on the 430 Scuderia, continuously distributing torque between the four wheels in response to driving conditions and cornering forces. On the 430 Scuderia, it is combined with the F1-Trac traction control system, which constantly monitors and estimates the maximum available grip and modulates power to the wheels. Ferrari claim these combined systems provide a whopping 40% more available acceleration out of corners than traditional traction and stability control systems, adding to the Scuderia’s vaunted credentials as a racetrack car.
Wealthy hooligans needn’t worry – the traction control can be switched off where extravagant burnouts are required. It’s one of the settings available on the “Mannetino” – a steering wheel-mounted selection knob that activates various pre-set suspension and performance modes. One of Schumacher’s key inputs into the 430 Scuderia was to add the option to control the suspension setup beyond the preset modes, making it fully electronically adjustable from the cockpit to give a huge range of tuning options.
The Scuderia’s front disc brakes are 18mm larger than the phenomenal units on the F430, which Ferrari claimed demonstrate no fade even after over 300 racetrack laps. And the Scuderia’s discs are made from carbon-ceramic materials for harder wear, better heat dissipation and an overall jump in performance to match the hugely improved power-to-weight ratio.
Release dates and pricing are yet to be forthcoming but a straight answer may be hard to come by on the latter, as virtually every Ferrari sold is personalized to its owner’s tastes in a broad range of options.