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Fastest Ferrari finally hits Oz

No-show: Scuderia was to have appeared at the Sydney show last month.

F430 Scuderia opens its Aussie roadshow as 50 cashed-up fans queue to pay $500K-plus

23 Nov 2007

IT MAY have missed the boat on the way to what should have been its Australian debut at the Sydney motor show last month, but Ferrari's fastest-ever production car, the 430 Scuderia, has finally landed in Australia for a whistle-stop preview tour prior to its June 2008 launch. No price has been set, but Ferrari is giving the more than 50 buyers on the waiting list a provisional price of $550,000 - about 20 percent more then the F430 Coupe on which the 430 Scuderia is based.

Leaner, more powerful and boasting F1-inspired electronic driving aids that help even the most ordinary driver extract the most out of this half-million dollar supercar, the Scuderia is aimed at “the hard-core of the hard-core” of Ferrari enthusiasts, according to Ferrari’s PR manager Edward Rowe.

One look at the performance figures and it’s easy to understand why. The 375kW 4.3-litre, naturally aspirated V8 helps the 1350kg (fuelled and oiled) Scuderia peel away from rest to its top speed of 320km/h, passing by 100km/h in 3.6 seconds and 200km/h in 11.6 seconds. It is two seconds faster around the Fiorano test track than the F430 Coupe and as quick as the Enzo.

The F430’s V8 engine has been given higher compression pistons, blueprinted induction and improved exhaust flow, a carbon-fibre inlet tract for weight reduction, improved coil packs and a dedicated computer to ensure faster and more accurate ignition. Improvements over the F430 engine yield an additional 15kW.

34 center imageThe F1-SuperFast2 automated manual gearbox, which shifts gears in 60 milliseconds, has the fastest claimed gearchanges of this style of transmission outside Formula One, and it channels power via an electronically supervised locking E-diff differential. The F1-Trac traction control system teamed with the E-Diff, seen first in the 599 Fiorano, gives a 40 per cent improvement in traction out of corners compared with a conventional electronic traction control system.

Many cars have features such as an electronic throttle, automated manual gearbox, locking differential, traction control and stability control and adjustable dampers, however, the Scuderia is one of the very few performance cars that ties in all these systems together under the one umbrella of specific settings to suit particular conditions.

First seen on the 599 and F430 production cars, the 430 Scuderia has the latest iteration of the five driver-selectable settings via the steering wheel-mounted manettino rotary dial. A first for this set-up is a setting that Michael Schumacher (who helped engineers in test development of the Scuderia) asked for, which was to make it possible to make the suspension damper control independent of the manettino. The story goes that during the Scuderia’s development the firm suspension settings made the less than smooth road to the Schumacher household too firm to get the most out of the car. Washing off speed is catered for with front brakes that are used on the 599, that is carbon ceramic cross-drilled vented discs 18mm larger diameter than the F430 and clamped by six-piston calipers, while the rear are also carbon-ceramic vented discs, as used in the F430 Challenge race car.

Ferrari has worked on the F430’s aerodynamics resulting in not creating any worse a coefficient of drag than the F430. A new front bumper, a new rear diffuser and a 5mm higher profile on the engine lid help to create the 30kg higher downforce When driving at more than 200km/h) with no increase in drag. Large venturis running from the front wheel housings to the rear bumper also help to reduce drag.

Losing weight has meant removing interior lining and carpets, ashtray, cigarette lighter, glovebox, adding a lexan rear engine cover, carbon-fibre seats and carbon-fibre door inners. Even the wheel bolts are made of weight-saving titanium.

Even though Ferrari put the F430 on a diet to produce the Scuderia, it hasn’t stripped out every possible convenience item. Items such as power windows, central locking and air-conditioning are still fitted, but unlike the F430 Coupe there is no audio system, as removing it saved 8kg. Ferrari can install a system if desired. All the weight saving and efficiency gains have resulted in a fuel consumption reduction from the F430 coupe’s 18.3L/100km to 15.7L/100km for the Scuderia and carbon dioxide emissions are down from 420 to 360g/km. You might think this is a pointer to Ferrari’s future rather than a cynical marketing exercise, but this isn’t the first bud of a leafy green Ferrari. When asked whether Ferrari would ever build a hybrid or electric car, Kevin Wall, the general manager of the Ferrari importer European Automotive Imports, was emphatic: “I believe there is no possibility of that whatsoever.” “It just so happens that the way that the vehicles are being produced by the factory also makes them technically green, because they are so highly efficient. I don’t that’s a prime motivator for people to purchase a Ferrari, though.” Perhaps the Ferrari’s green credentials are better expressed in the average distance a Ferrari travels, which is just 3000km per year.

In a tour of Australian capitals in coming weeks, the left-hand drive blue 430 Scuderia fresh from last month’s Tokyo motor show will be shown to the more than 50 customers who have put their money down for the car and other potential Scuderia customers.

The 430 Scuderia press launch this week in Sydney was a look, touch and listen affair but not a drive. From the first reveal of the Scuderia in July to this week, firm orders have jumped from a dozen to more than 50.

While the F430’s silhouette is familiar, up close you forget how small it seems. Except across the bonnet, where it seems all of its 1923mm wide. The display car’s pale blue paintwork was set off by the optional charcoal metallic with silver border stripes over the bonnet and roof. I felt like I was examining a piece of art. There’s no doubting the Scuderia looks damn sexy, and with the clear engine cover the bonus is you get to see the inner workings without asking the owner to pop the bonnet. Like the rest of the car, the engine bay is a work or art.

Getting into the Ferrari does not require the preparatory six-month yoga course the Lotus Elise does, and the alcantara bucket seats wedge you in (I didn’t dare ask what size they were, but to my own dismay, I’m guessing ‘large’). The four-point harness of the display car won’t be seen on local models, as the three-point lap-sash belts are necessary to meet ADRs. The angry red tacho sits large and proud in the centre of the cluster with a speedo that reads in sweeping 30km/h increments to 360km/h. This would have to be the only half-a-million dollar car with a hose-out floor. Floors are stripped bare in the name of weight loss and replaced with matt painted exposed aluminium sill beams and a chequerplate floor covering. The same goes for the front boot - the Louis Vuitton had better be flown ahead because the metal finish boot interior might scuff the leather.

There is a long queue forming for the Scuderia and given the popularity of existing Ferrari models it may grow longer still. “The waiting list of anything up to three years, for the 430 Spider” says Edward Rowe.

As for the 430 Scuderia, “We don’t know what our allocation is yet, so we can’t say accurately what the waiting list will be. By virtue of the orders we have taken, we hope to get extra allocation.” There will be 2000 Scuderias built for the global market in 2008. The best bit of the presentation was saved for last. The Scuderia was started up, and as the engine kicked and fired, it settled into a moody, lumpy V8 thrum. That was until the throttle was kicked, when the exhaust let out an almighty F1-like wail. No wonder Ferrari is not particularly interested in an electric car future. Cars like the 430 Scuderia are the last fossil-fuelled stand against an inevitable transition to a battery-powered future.

Read more:

First look: Ferrari gets Scuderious

The Road to Recovery podcast series

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