Nothing the sane side of BAC’s single-seater Mono channels such a heady motorsport ambience as the Stradale.
In the interests of chassis rigidity there are no doors, so you’re expected to vault over the low sills and aim one foot at a landing zone cut into the seat base and marked ‘STEP HERE’. The driving position demands you then thread your legs down deep in the tub, engendering a sense of security that is augmented by four-point harnesses, the high transmission tunnel and a 320mm steering wheel complete with centre marker and a column generously adjustable for reach.
But before all this, you have a choice, and not simply for the colour of the stitching. The Stradale is offered in three styles. In its purest configuration it functions as a barchetta, with no roof, windows or windscreen. At the other end of the spectrum it can be fully enclosed, with a T-frame roof that attaches to the windscreen and rear bulkhead, plus doors. Our test car offers the midway option, with the windscreen and leather-trimmed dashboard-top but nothing else in the way of protection from the elements.
We’d argue it is this roadster configuration that feels the most evocative: the glass is dramatically domed with a central wiper for full Group C effect. With only the sky above your head, the windscreen’s carbonfibre frame sits generously inboard, its edges resting atop a polished carbonfibre tub that curves back beyond your field of vision.
There are controls for the ESP and ventilation on the transmission tunnel, but that space is otherwise reserved for the Ford-sourced manual handbrake and gearlever. In general there are few distractions, but while the cockpit is spartan, it’s also beautifully finished, with supple leather and pleasing uniformity in the carbonfibre and stitching.
Some testers, however, felt the gearlever was fractionally too close for comfort and the driving position a touch too high. Over-the-shoulder visibility is close to non-existent and, with no adjustability in the angle of the exterior mirrors, parking anywhere other than in the open expanse of a racetrack paddock isn’t for the faint of heart.
The Stradale’s digital array is sparing – certainly more so than you’ll find in the Lotus Exige Sport 410, which uses analogue dials but pairs them with a decently sized, centrally mounted touchscreen display supplied by a third party. Dallara’s approach has much more of a motorsport feel, with a modest, carbonfibre-rimmed digital display mounted behind the steering wheel and, well, nothing else – not even so much as a USB socket.