I have to admit that for once I’ve never been a fan of supercars… except for the Koeniggsegg and a few rare breed that most often than not being regarded as ugly. As for Ferrari, I’d say I love the last manual breed, the F355 while Porsche has always been a sports car rather than being in the super lots. But then, coming from a middle class family doesn’t permit me the opportunity to play around with any supercars for that matter.
Nevertheless, opportunity comes in the least expected manner and so I get to know the Blue Jackets Society. Ever since then, Traffic crews has been tagging along with ’em BJS in their roadtrips. I first knew David G during the first drive to Krabi and Phuket a year ago. He was the one who approached us and started the conversation. “I can still remember back when I played the Playstation salivating over ’em supercars… I never thought I’d own one… or two for that matter,” and from there on David haven’t stop talking ever since we met him.
At that time, he was a full-fledged raging bull… driving the Gallardo. He lives by the horns of the raging bull and not once consider owning a prancing horse, not even once. But then… a Stradale was selling at a bargain, and since the raging bull was down with sickness of not getting the parts before the next Thailand trip, he did the impossible at his standard and bought the Stradale.
As one the pioneering members of the Blue Jackets Society, David Gurupatham has had his fair share of super cars to run around on drives and trips but it seems that no car is a perfect car, especially when you match it the super reliable Porsche GT3RS driven by the Blue Jackets founder himself Erwin Aziz to withstand the long gruelling miles of twisties and straights. Having to own most of the super car marques, he managed to obtain that Porsche equivalent from Ferrari that is the 360 Challenge Stradale.
The Challenge Stradale (if you must ask, stradale means ‘road-going’ in Italian) so from the name you know it is a limited production track day focused car based on the 360 Modena which was primarily created on improving its track lapping performance by concentrating on handling, braking and weight reduction characteristics. In short it is a road legal racing car. Ferrari engineers designed the car from the outset with a goal of 20% track day use in mind and 80% road use.
With only a small 20 bhp (15 kW) improvement in engine power from the Modena (and boasting an improved power-to-weight ratio) the Challenge Stradale accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 4.1 seconds (just a couple of tenths faster than a Modena) but bald figures do not paint the full picture. For the enthusiastic driver the differences are truly staggering, genuine and systematic improvements were achieved to the setup and feel of the whole car.
Passengers are easily reminded off the Stradale’s weight through a reduced interior which features no carpeting, rubber floor mars and carbon fiber seats finished in leather or fire-resistant fabric. The rest of interior is purpose-built, with a bright yellow tach highlighting the Alcantrara trimmed dash. For the more hardcore enthusiast, appointments can include four-point racing harnesses, a roll bar or lexan sliding widows to replace the electric counterparts. Air conditioning is a standard feature and is one of the only compromises to help the sale-ability of the car. And indeed a happy option for the missus as it was bought for her as a gift. Oh you are the ladies’ man, David.
Right from the off, the Stradale inspires confidence with meaty, direct steering and a positive demeanour – it feels solid, low, connected, like it means business. It’s a great place to be, slotted into the high-sided seat, clutching the fat rim of the almost quartic steering wheel, using fingertips on the titanium-coloured paddles to cycle up and down the gearbox. Sure, the F1 in the Stradale isn’t as fast-acting as that of the current 430 Scuderia, but it’s smooth and quick and you can manipulate the throttle to seamlessly blend one ratio into another.
Design cues come straight from the trackbound GT and Challenge cars. And the signature center stripe, recalling the ’62 GTO prototype, runs front to rear over bodywork evidencing subtle aerodynamic modifications that increase downforce by a staggering 50 percent. Other aero updates include extensions added under the front air intakes, revised side sills, and a redesigned rear underbody replete with wind-tunnel-tested longitudinal turning vanes similar to those on F1 machines.The Ferrari Challenge Stradale defines race technology for the street, and it comes wrapped in an emotional, exciting package. It’s just too bad there’ll be so few to go around and David being a collector of sort had to have one in his garage.
words: Jeo & Hage’ pix: Hazwan Najims