Published September 27, 2008

Scud missile

After this weekend, you will have had the full Paddock Club experience with all the sounds and smells of some very fast cars behind you. But a cap and a lanyard aren't exactly the kind of souvenirs you were looking for. There must be a more special way to remember Singapore's first Formula One race. In fact, there are two and they happen to have the same nameplates as the two frontrunners in the championship. By Samuel Ee

THE Ferrari 430 Scuderia is arguably the closest thing to a race car you can buy for the road. Like the Ferrari team's single-seater open-wheeled F2008 Formula One car, it also has a V8 engine behind the driver. But unlike the F2008, the 430 Suderia is street-legal and has a few more amenities, such as a passenger seat and airconditioning.

Unlike the F2008, the 430 Scuderia is street-legal and has a few more amenities, such as a passenger seat and airconditioning

As with the more extreme Enzo, the 430 Scuderia benefits from the best of Formula One technology developed by the prancing horse. And like the limited edition Enzo, the 430 Scuderia laps Ferrari's Fiorano test track with a comparable time.

The 430 Scuderia is derived from the F430 but it seems like a totally different car, in terms of the drive, look and aerodynamics. It was designed for uncompromising sports performance. For an idea of how focused this car is, consider the only two factory options available - a rollbar and audio system.

The all-aluminium body has been further lightened and adapted for track use. Most of the interior trim is made of lightweight carbon fibre. The carpeting and sound insulation were ripped out, leaving all sorts of noises to permeate the cabin. Drive over a toad and you will hear it croak.

As a result of this, kerb weight has been brought down to 1,350 kg. At the same time, the normally aspirated 4.3-litre V8 has been boosted to 510 hp. Gun the engine and the revs rise so rapidly that you have to rely on the LED counters on the steering wheel to tell you when to upshift - there is no time to look at the tachometer. Do it fast enough and you can zip from zero to 100 kmh in a breathtaking 3.6 seconds, or 0.4 seconds less than the F430.

But the main attraction of this car is the way it handles. It drives like a dream. Steering is very positive and it corners like something in a video game. With a front/rear weight distribution of 43:57, the 430 Scuderia exhibits excellent balance. It also feels faster, partly because of the higher output and partly because the enhanced control allows you to take a sweeping bend at higher speeds.

Yet the suspension doesn't feel overly harsh. It manages to soak up the bumps while not allowing the irregular road surface to make it difficult to handle. It has to be the perfect compromise for both road and track. Stopping power is provided by carbon ceramic brakes, with six-piston aluminium callipers in front and a four-piston pair behind. Then there's the engine sound. It is magical and combines with an exhaust that is loud and mean. Compared with the car it replaces - the 360 Challenge Stradale - it is less high-pitched and this more moderated scream means the 430 Scuderia can even be driven as a daily car.

Even if the almost $1 million price tag doesn't faze you, there is another small problem. Production volume is very low and only about five units are available for the local market each year.

For this ultimate expression of Ferrari DNA, it has to be the ultimate choice.


Ferrari 430 Scuderia

Engine 4,308cc V8
Transmission 6-speed F1-SuperFast2 transmission
Max power 510 hp @ 8,500 rpm
Max torque 470 Nm @ 5,250 rpm
0-100 kmh 3.6 secs
Top speed 320 kmh
Price on application
Distributor Hong Seh Motor
tel 6266-1555