With a pushrod suspension and 500 pounds of downforce that press the tires to the tarmac and give more grip than anyone could reasonably break on a public road, it takes 1.22g of lateral force on standard tires to send it sideways-more on slicks. At high speeds it's sensitive to changing winds and pulls from the straight and narrow, requiring constant small corrections. Yet the car is so alive in your hands that it's all part of the experience and not a flaw.
The brakes, too, react like a stabbed cat, with the 380mm ceramic discs at both front and rear, together with six-piston calipers, hauling the car down from triple-digit speeds slightly less effectively than a brick wall. Its 60-to-0-mph time of 2.5 seconds is one of the more memorable statistics, but nothing prepares for the sheer violence of the actual procedure.
At speed, the car gets on its toes; it's alive and sensitive, direct and instant, but at normal pace none of this shines through. Tramontana may have honed its car on the race track and will even lay on a full test team for customers who want to drive their cars flat-out on closed roads. But it is, first and foremost, a road car.
That's why it comes with the canopy that so hurt the pure vision of an open-topped F1 car, and why it comes with full climate control, comfortable leather trim, plush carpet, and a real sound system. It can even hydraulically lift both the nose and the tail 135mm from the ground to prevent expensive scrapes and sheer hassle.
None of this helps its end mass, and it tips the scales at 2,795 pounds without fluids. But there is a stripped-out track version somewhere out there, and that's the one we really want to drive, as weight is truly the enemy in a car that is otherwise this pure.
Until then, we can just revel in this automotive oddball so exclusive it makes the Pagani Zondas and Bugatti Veyrons of this world seem almost common. This is unit number 10, and Rubau has set an absolute limit of 12 cars per year.
He says he wanted a unique car, one not everyone would understand, and his exclusive clientele are not just buying a car. They're buying a piece of art that they often admire and appreciate in the privacy of their climate-controlled garages with the aid of studio lighting, a plinth, a fine Cognac and a cigar.
I just hope they drove the wheels off it first, because to truly understand and appreciate the inner beauty of this F1 and fighter jet mash-up, you have to do just that.
2009 Tramontana R Edition
Longitudinal mid engine, rear-wheel drive
5.5-liter V12, sohc, 36-valve, turbocharged and intercooled
Six-speed sequential manual
Four wheel independent, double wishbone with pushrods, Ohlins dampers
Six-piston calipers with 380mm carbon-ceramic rotors
Length/Width/Height (in.): 192.9/81.9/51.2
Dry Weight: 2,795
Peak Power: 720 hp @ 5250 rpm
Peak Torque: 811 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm
0-62 mph: 3.6 sec.
Top Speed: 201 mph
*Full power mode