Rule number one: No matter how fast a car is, there will always be someone who wants to go even faster. Rule number two: If you want to go faster, there will always be a tuner ready to oblige.
Call it indulgence, excess or a sheer ego trip, but considering most people who own highly modified cars never use them to their full potential, the sole motivation has to be individual expression, one-upsmanship-or both.
This is certainly the case with the Scuderia, as near perfect a sports car as Ferrari has ever made. Unlike its Lamborghini Superleggera rival from down the road, which only really bests its Gallardo brother when you plumb the last 15 percent of its capabilities, the Scuderia feels more finely honed all around than the F430 F1 from the word go.
With its better engine breathing and lower weight out of the box, it's the perfect base for Novitec Rosso to create an even faster and more spectacular version of the well-regarded F430 Bi-Kompressor conversion. Here on the stretch of autobahn running outside Novitec Rosso's Stetten base towards Munich, I discovered that the 717-hp, twin-supercharged demo car would not reach the advertised 348 km/h (217.5 mph) top speed. This isn't because the car runs out of puff, but because at 204 mph it hits peak revs with the factory gearing. If top speed is your thing, you definitely need the optional taller final drive.
A top speed past 200 mph is academic, anyway. Where the car really delights on a more frequent basis is slicing down challenging cross-country roads where its steering, chassis and power deliver the kind of visceral driving experience that pumps raw adrenalin straight to your senses.
At any speed, the directness of the Scuderia's controls, the feel of mechanical parts meshing with other mechanical parts, and the seemingly direct connection of the loud pedal with forward motion are a revelation, the fact that Ferrari has been able to imbue so much of a racecar sensation despite the continued presence of electronic assistance systems. This is especially so with the power steering and e-gas throttle, and ironic that countless hours have been spent trying to restore the kind of feel and feedback that used to come as standard.
While larger wheels and tires offer more mechanical grip, and indeed are de rigueur with this level of power, they can also corrupt steering feel and introduce unpleasant side effects like tram-lining and camber chasing. Novitec's development team was very rigorous in its task of ensuring that the uprated suspension and wider rubber had minimal negative impact.
While it would be irresponsible to test the high cornering limits of such a car on public roads, it's not a problem to dip into the boosted Scuderia's stupendous straight-line performance.
One of the areas of Scuderia superiority over the F430 F1 is in the speed of its gear selection. In Race mode, the paddle shift gearbox now opens and closes the clutch so fast, the irritating jerk on upshift is significantly minimized. It's not as smooth as the PDK in Porsche's new 911, but slick enough to make you look forward to rather than bracing for the next selection.
The great thing about the Ferrari V8 is its smoothness and high revving capability. In stock form, it has plenty of power at the top end, but with just 4,305cc and over-square bore and stroke dimensions, it needs revs to wind up its cavallini. With the twin blowers supporting it down low, the engine feels like it has gained displacement.
The greater torque means you don't need to use as many revs, and you can effectively drive one gear higher than the standard car in any given situation. On fast country roads I mainly used fourth and fifth gear, saving the lower ratios for trickling through villages.
The superchargers have very low pumping losses, and so impose relatively little drag on the motor so its throttle response and overall feel remains unsullied. What does change dramatically though is the resultant push in the back, which goes from strong to very strong.
"Enhancing the stock power and torque curves without changing their shape is fundamental to the overall balance and character of this car," explains Novitec boss, Wolfgang Hagidorn. "It would be easy to generate a lot of low-speed torque, but this would create traction problems and put a lot of stress on the drivetrain.
"Also, a fat low-end torque curve does not fit the nature of the mid-engine V8 Ferraris, which are more racecar and high-revving than a front-engine V12. That's why we were adamant that the shape of the power and torque curves should remain unchanged."
If you think the original 636-hp F430 Bi-Kompressor was fast, the Scuderia is on a different planet. An additional 81 hp and 55 lb-ft equate to just over 12 percent extra grunt, and the much faster gearbox shift program also helps in-gear performance. With flat-on-the-floor shifting pegged at just 0.6 milliseconds in Race mode, 62 mph now takes just 3.5 seconds.
As with the F430 Bi-Kompressor and Race versions, the factory suspension is replaced with a bespoke coil-over set-up made for Novitec Rosso by KW. This is adjustable for ride height as well as bounce and rebound. Despite firmer suspension settings and 20-inch wheels, ride quality doesn't lose the factory car's basic compliance.
Like the F430 Race, the Scuderia wears 8.5 and 12.0x20-inch versions of Novitec's classic five-spoke design, shod with 235/30 and 325/25 Pirellis. These were painted satin black with yellow color matching on the outer lips. The larger wheels also lend a better view of the massive Brembo brakes. The 380mm (14.96-inch) ceramic discs and six-pot calipers save 45 pounds over the equivalent steel brakes. They're stunningly effective in both bite and retardation, which is just as well because 717 hp really shrinks the straight bits between the bends. Increasing the throttle past the apex, you find the g-forces piling on. By the time the car comes straight, you're carrying immense speed toward the next corner, and it's time to use those awesome brakes again.
If this is enough to give you sweaty palms, Novitec's latest steering wheel has Alcantara between the carbon-fiber top and bottom sections to help you keep a firm grip. Enlarged carbon paddles aid shifting when you have the steering wheel cranked over in a tight bend.
The new front bumper spoiler, rear valence and flaps for the sill panels are also made from carbon fiber, as is the engine cover. Unlike the normal Bi-Kompressor, the Race and Scuderia versions do without a rear wing.
In the cabin, Novitec Rosso has picked out the shapes on the lightweight sport seats, doors, dashboard, center console, handbrake gaiter and rear bulkhead with yellow stitching on grey Alcantara or leather. The carbon trim on the door casings, dashboard ends and center console are standard on the Scuderia. It's all topped off by Novitec's alloy pedal set and passenger footwell toe-board.
The tuning and customization industry has thrived on the fact that true enthusiasts express themselves through their cars. And the wealthier you are, the better equipped you are to underline that individuality.
A stock F430, especially in red, risks blending in-especially at a club meeting. The Novitec Rosso Scuderia, however, makes a clear statement that you're a predator, not one of the herd.
Novitec Rosso 430 Scuderia Bi-Kompressor
Longitudinal mid-engine, rear-wheel drive
4.3-liter V8, dohc, 32-valve. Novitec Rosso twin supercharger system, software
Six-speed sequential manual, Novitec Rosso software
Novitec/KW adjustable coilovers
Brembo six-piston monoblock calipers, 14.96-inch carbon-ceramic rotors
*Wheels And Tires
Novitec Rosso five-spoke alloys, 8.5x20 (f), 12x20 (r)Pirelli P Zero Rosso, 235/30 (f), 325/25 (r)
Novitec Rosso front bumperspoiler, rear valence
Novitec Rosso sport steering wheel, aluminum pedals, custom Alcantara trim
Peak Power: 717 hp @ 8350 rpm
Peak Torque: 525 lb-ft @ 6350 rpm
0-60 mph: 3.4 sec.
Top Speed: 217 mph**
*Novitec Rosso data
**equipped with optional final drive