That figure seems at odds with the modesty of the car’s powerplant, a reworked version of Ford’s 2.3-litre Ecoboost four-cylinder engine that produces 395bhp. This sits transversely under the rear clam and drives the back wheels through a six-speed Ford-sourced gearbox (manual standard, roboticised as an option) and a limited-slip differential.
But before you allow cynicism to take over, consider two other statistics. First, the Stradale’s 855kg dry weight; and second, its ability when wearing its huge rear wing to generate up to 810kg of downforce. Even without the plank, Dallara reckons it is capable of 400kg.
The Stradale’s slippery shape is the result of super-aggressive aero targets, but that has created a car that seems short on visual mass from some angles. The high ride height when stationary is down to the need to accommodate the compression delivered by the aero package.
Is the Dallara Stradale built for the road?
Our first taste of the Stradale is on the road in a car without the rear wing. Getting in means swinging a leg onto the helpful ‘STEP HERE’ marked in the centre of the seat and then half-sliding, half-falling behind the wheel. The steering column and pedal box move, but all but the smallest drivers will have these in their generous positions. Instrumentation is a motorsport-style display screen, with the modest tally of switchgear integrated into the carbon steering wheel.
The test car wears an Italian ‘Prova’ registration, meaning there has to be a Dallara employee in the other seat. My co-pilot is company CEO Andrea Pontremoli, who soon proves an almost unflappable passenger on the tight and twisty SP358 from Porto Badisco to Castro Marina at the very tip of the heel of Italy and a road – we soon discover – that serves as a magnet for utterly fearless motorbikers who are prepared to take huge risks to get a closer look at this interloper.
The engine’s origins are obvious, with the same boosty power delivery as the powerplant in the Ford Focus RS. Although responses are keen across the rev range, it takes a while for full boost to build. It revs keenly, but not to the operatic peak you might expect in an Italian sports car. Our test car has an optional and brutally loud sports exhaust that emits a ragged fusillade of pops and bangs every time the throttle is lifted.
It’s certainly quick, especially after Pontremoli has shown me how to shift to the HP mode that brings the full 395bhp rather than a 295bhp map the car defaults to on start-up. Unleashed, it devours the ratios of the six-speed gearbox at a ferocious rate. The shift action is accurate, but the lever is a bit too close so shifting into even-numbered gears means bringing the arm too far back.
The Stradale’s steering is unambiguously brilliant. There’s no power assistance and the rack is lower-geared than the sports car norm, meaning plenty of twirling in tighter turns. But it also delivers superb feedback, lightening and tightening to relay messages about the road surface, grip levels and – very occasionally – slip angles. We say very occasionally, because the huge mechanical grip of the chassis means you have to be pressing very hard at road speeds to get beyond pure adhesion on the standard Pirelli P Zeros, although the engine has more than enough grunt to alter the rear axle’s attitude at lower speeds.
Ride is impressive as well, with the Stradale tracking true and refusing to be thrown by the sort of rough surfaces that would produce the noise of grinding carbon in most supercars.