First Drive
Ferrari F430 Scuderia
Faster, Lighter, Louder
As fitting a name as Scuderia is, being Italian for stable and the nomenclature for Ferrari's racing division (Scuderia Ferrari), F430 Schumacher could have been equally appropriate, given that the record seven-time F1 champ offered his go-fast mojo throughout the project. The result is the quickest, most technically sophisticated V8-powered berlinetta ever. More than just a leaner version of the F430, the Scuderia showcases the latest performance wizardry and F1 technology Ferrari has to offer. Think of the car more as a V8-powered Enzo than a stripped-down 430. During factory testing at Fiorano, Ferrari's own 1.8-mile test facility, the Scuderia lapped in 1 minute and 25 seconds, two full seconds ahead of the F430 and, impressively, tying with the million-dollar V12 Enzo, which had previously held the track record for a road car.

Squeezing these performance gains from the standard F430 and its already venerable 4.3-liter DOHC powerplant consisted of a complete re-tuning. Thanks to a revised, better-flowing carbon fiber intake, new pistons increasing compression to 11.75:1 (up from 11.3:1) and a new lightweight twin-pipe exhaust, the engine now breathes easier and stronger with 503 hp at 8500 rpm, showing an increase of 20 hp. Torque also goes up with a total output of 347 lb-ft at 5250 rpm. Areas such as ignition spark and engine management were also tweaked for better overall response.

Thanks to the increase in compression and the improved breathing, throttle response is immediate and the power feels healthier. The re-tuned twin pipes emit a charismatic sound, both deep and rich, with less restrictive air flow. Its bark is also somewhat louder.

The upper end is seemingly limitless, even around the lofty 8500 peak, but the torque really kicks in when mashing the pedal between 4000 and 6000 rpm. Ferrari claims the Scuderia will sprint from standstill to 60mph in a mere 3.5 seconds and it's one hell of a rush getting there. Eleven seconds is all that's required to hit 125mph and top speed is just below 200.

Braking performance is about as good as it gets, aided by giant 15.7-inch ceramic-composite front rotors with six-piston calipers. Ample traction to the pavement is provided by Pirelli P Zero Corsa tires, measuring 235/35ZR19 in front and 285/35ZR19 at the rear.

Perhaps the most welcome and marked improvement is with F1 sequential manual SuperFast2 gearbox. Whereas the former SuperFast set-up in the F430 changes gears at 150 milliseconds, the new system swaps away in as little as 60 milliseconds-or up to 2.5 times quicker. Just a wink off a genuine F1unit, which takes only 30 to 40ms.

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