Ferrari is working on further versions of its 458 Italia to fend off the McLaren MP4-12C — and we think we’ve snapped the Stradale road racer version.
We say “think” because our spy photographers also wondered whether this might be a mild hybrid version of the 458. But they also said it sounded amazing, so our money’s on a successor to the F430 Scuderia and 360 Challenge Stradale before it.
It will be lighter, thanks to extensive use of carbon fibre parts, more-so even than the standard Italia; and it will be more powerful. How much more powerful we can’t be sure, but the standard car pushes 562bhp. With McLaren’s baby peaking at 592bhp, Ferrari might feel they have to top 600bhp with this road racer. Maranello has said previously that it doesn’t want to get into horsepower wars, but this is the hardcore version of the 458 — and with McLaren planning a three mode range over the next few years, a Lamborghini Gallardo replacement due soon, plus Porsche planning a sportscar to fit between the 911 GT2 and 918 hybrid supercar, competition has never been stiffer.
No clues yet on when it will launch or on price, but we’ll go for the Geneva motor show in March 2012 with deliveries later that year at a price of around £230,000. We also expect this to be one of the fastest road going Ferraris ever, with lap times at the Nurburgring (and Top Gear track!) matching or even bettering those of the track-only Ferrari FXX.