Ferrari Challenge Stradale: red body with 425 HP
The Ferrari 360 (Type F131) is a two-seater, mid-engine, rear wheel drive sports car manufactured by Italian automotive manufacturer Ferrari from 1999 until 2005. It succeeded the Ferrari F355 and was replaced by the Ferrari F430 in 2004.
The first model to be produced was the 360 Modena, followed later by the 360 Spider and a special edition, the Challenge Stradale.
The Challenge Stradale was the high-performance road-legal version of the 360 produced by the factory, featuring carbon ceramic brakes (from the Enzo), track-tuned suspension, aerodynamic gains, weight reduction, power improvements and revised gearbox software among its track-focused brief. There were 8,800 Modenas and 7,565 Spiders produced worldwide.
There were 4,199 built for the US market—1,810 Modenas (coupes) and 2,389 Spiders (convertibles). Of those numbers, there were only 469 Modenas and 670 Spiders that were produced with a gated 6-speed manual transmission as opposed to the “F1” single-clutch automated manual transmission.
Inspired by the 360 Modena Challenge racing car series, the Challenge Stradale is the track-focused iteration of the 360 Modena which followed on in concept from the track focused F355 “Fiorano”, which featured the “Fiorano Handling Pack” introduced in the final year of the Ferrari F355. The focus in development of the car was primarily on improving its track performance credentials by concentrating on handling, braking and weight reduction characteristics, which are essential in pure racing cars.
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 25 PS (18 kW; 25 hp) 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 according to Ferrari. Systematic improvements were achieved to the setup and feel of the whole car; throttle response from the digital throttle was ratcheted up and feedback through the steering wheel was enhanced. Ceramic brakes borrowed from the Enzo, some lower weight parts and a FHP handling pack, enabled the Challenge Stradale to claim a 3.5 second improvement per lap of its Fiorano Circuit compared to the Modena.
In total, the Challenge Stradale is up to 110 kg (240 lb) lighter than the standard Modena if all the lightweight options are specified such as deleted radio, lexan (plexiglass) door windows and Alcantara fabric (instead of the leather option). As much as 74 kg (163 lb) was saved by lightening the bumpers, stripping the interior of its sound deadening and carbon mirrors and making the optional Modena carbon seats standard. Resin Transfer Moulding was utilised for the bumpers and skirts, a carry over from the Challenge cars which resulted in lighter bumpers than those on the Modena. The engine and transmission weight was lightened by 11 kg (24 lb) through the use of a smaller, lighter weight sports exhaust back box and valved exit pipes.
The Challenge Stradale also got Brembo carbon ceramic brakes as standard (which later became standard fitment on the F430) which shaved 16 kg (35 lb) off the curb weight and improved handling by reducing unsprung weight and completely eliminating brake fade, as well as lightweight wheels specially made by BBS. Cars fitted with the centre console stereo option, sub speaker box behind the seats and glass side windows re-gained approximately 30 kg (66 lb) over the best selected options.