From Rory Lumsdon in Frankfurt
Amid a scrum of photographers and journalists, Ferrari today (11 September) revealed the fastest, most hardcore version of its mid-engined F430 at Frankfurt.It wasn't just the new 430 Scuderia that caused all the excitement – racing legend Michael Schumacher was on hand personally to reveal the car that he's had a hand in developing.
Since retiring from F1, Schumacher's been helping Ferrari to tweak its sports cars, a job he apparently relishes.
Among other things in the 430 Scuderia, Schumacher has helped to tweak the Manettino, which is a special racing version. Unlike that in the standard F430, this has no 'Ice' setting, and features a special 'CT' mode that switches off the traction control, but not the stability control. Sounds like a recipe for fun to us.
What's more, the Manettino no longer controls the suspension at the same time – that's operated by a separate button on the centre console, meaning you don't have to have rock-hard suspension when you have lightning-quick gearchanges.
Those gearchanges are now quicker than ever in race mode, too, thanks to a new version of the six-speed F1-superfast gearbox that can swap cogs in 60 milliseconds. In a 599 GTB, it takes 100 milliseconds
The biggest difference between the standard F430 and the 430 Scuderia, however, is weight. It's been on a diet that has shaved 100kg, taking the dry kerbweight to 1250kg.
There's carbonfibre everywhere, from the door linings to the door mirrors to the seats. There's also no radio – who needs it when there's a 503bhp 4.3-litre V8 to listen to; 30bhp up on the standard engine.
The increased power comes from a new management system that can control each spark plug and combustion chamber independently, and a new piston design that increases the compression ration to 11.88:1.
All that extra power and reduced weight propels the Scuderia to 62mph in 3.6 seconds and on to 124mph in 11.6 seconds. It'll lap Ferrari's Fiorano circuit in 1m 25 sec – the same time as an Enzo.
Uprated brakes (carbon ceramic, naturally) are 18mm bigger, and the front tyres are wider for greater grip
The styling is discreet; as you'd expect painted stripes are standard, but they're subtle grey with black edging.
You also get flared sills, a slightly bigger rear lip spoiler and a revised rear diffuser, the latter helping to accommodate the new, higher exhausts. Downforce is increased by 30kg, but the drag is unaffected.
And the price of all this race-bred technology? Ferrari reckons the 430 Scuderia will come in at around £170,000 when it arrives in the UK at the end of 2007, but it hasn't mentioned how much the special Scuderia carbonfibre helmet will be.
We get behind the wheel next month; come back to Autocar.co.uk to find out what the 430 Scuderia's like to drive.