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The Dallara Stradale Is an Under-Appreciated Car You Need To Know About

Let Larry Chen introduce you to this lightweight sports car with motorsport cred.
Larry Chen

If you’re a fan of any kind of motorsport, you’ve probably heard the name “Dallara.” The Italian race car manufacturer has helped develop race cars in Formula 1, Indy Car, World Endurance Championship (WEC), and even Formula E since the 1970s. But Dallara only recently decided to get into the road car game, with the Dallara Stradale, and it’s as awesome as you’d imagine a road car from a racecar builder would be.

Larry Chen takes you up close and personal with the Stradale in this new video, in which he visits the Dallara facility, checks out how the car is built, and even gets to drive it.

Like most Dallara projects, the Stradale is based on a carbon fiber monocoque chassis with a carbon fiber body to match. However, its front and rear subframes are aluminum, to keep both manufacturing and repair costs down. So if you’re rear-ended, you only need to replace the subframe, and the main carbon fiber tub stays intact, which is actually rather helpful on a made-to-order sports car from a small manufacturer. 

Larry Chen

With an almost entirely carbon fiber chassis and fully carbon fiber body, the Dallara Stradale only weighs around 2,200 pounds in its heaviest coupe configuration. However, there’s a lighter-weight Roadster version that ditches the hardtop and its gullwing doors. But it gets even lighter still, as there’s a Barchetta version, which gets rid of even the windshield, and weighs just over 1,800 pounds. The Stradale Barchetta is the base model, so you actually have to add the windshield and/or roof, if you want some added creature comforts. 

Such a low curb weights means the Stradale doesn’t need much power. A mid-mounted, Ford-sourced 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine—albeit with modification by Dallara—makes 400 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque. Best of all, that engine pairs with a transaxle six-speed manual only and drives the rear wheels.

The manual is important because the Stradale isn’t exclusively a track car. It was certainly made with track driving in mind but more as a means to enjoy the car to its fullest. It’s a road car first—hence the name “Stradale,” which means “Road”—and despite its incredibly lightweight, two-seat, mid-engine configuration, it has three storage compartments: one rear trunk (which is hilariously small), and two storage areas behind each seat. Although the latter are meant to carry full-sized helmets, if you aren’t tracking the car that day, they can be used for other things. 

Chen had the chance to both ride shotgun and drive a coupe version and it’s a surprisingly well-mannered road car. Even with its ultra-lightweight body, zero sound insulation, and lack of creature comforts, Chen was impressed with its ride quality and comfort over some very bumpy roads. So even though it’s a hardcore driver’s car, it doesn’t beat you up.

The Stradale isn’t the prettiest mid-engine sports car, nor does it sound particularly good (Ford’s 2.3-liter four-pot isn’t the most sonorous of engines), but it’s such a special car. At around $200,000, it’s barely more expensive than a well-optioned Porsche Cayman GT4 RS, while being a made-to-order, hand-assembled, mostly carbon fiber sports car from one of the world’s greatest race car manufacturers. 

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