(from Lancia Press
Release) The New Stratos
The Lancia Stratos
The legendary Lancia
Stratos HF was without a doubt the most spectacular and successful
rallye car of the 70s. With its thrilling lines and uncompromising
design for rallye use, the Stratos not only single-handedly rewrote
the history of rallyeing, it won a permanent place in the hearts of
its countless fans with its dramatic performance on the world’s
asphalt and gravel tracks. The Stratos still draws the crowds
whenever it competes at historic motor sport events, thanks to its
reputation as the most fascinating rallye car in the world.
It all began in 1970, at the Turin exhibition stand of the
automobile designer, Bertone. The extreme Stratos study on display
there – a stylistic masterpiece by the designer Marcello Gandini –
didn’t just excite visitors, but caught the attention of Cesare
Fiorio, Lancia’s team manager at the time… and refused to let go.
Just one year later, the Stratos assumed its final form when the
mid-mounted V4 engine from the Lancia Fulvia was replaced by the
significantly more powerful Ferrari Dino V6 engine. The road version
of this “flounder” was just 1.08 meters high, mounted on a short
steel chassis, and its aerodynamically sophisticated body was molded
from reinforced fiberglass. The Stratos’ low weight, ideal weight
distribution and excellent dynamics provided the optimum conditions
for spectacular performance on the international rallye tracks,
which at the time were still dominated by Alpine and Porsche.
However, the results were not so immediately gratifying.
It was only when Lancia works driver Sandro Munari and British
Formula 1 driver Mike Parkes got behind the wheel of the ruthless
driving machine that success finally materialized. And it did so at
lightning speed: in 1973 Sandro Munari took home the first victory
for the Stratos HF, and the victories just kept coming in throughout
1974. By the end of 1976, the Stratos had pulled off a hat trick,
winning three World Cup titles in a row.
The Italian “flying wedge” also enjoyed success beyond its works
deployment: top driver Bernard Darniche brought home an incredible
33 victories for the private team Chardonnet of France, in his blue
Lancia Stratos Chardonnet.
The Fiat group’s dramatic reduction of the Lancia racing budget in
1979, in favor of the Fiat 131 Abarth, was the death knell for the
Stratos works team. From then on, only dedicated private teams took
to the track competing against works cars – as in the 1981 Monte
Carlo Rallye. Even today, there’s hardly any other vehicle that
excites audiences at motor sport events like the Lancia Stratos.
A rare opportunity to tackle the Arosa hillclimb with Michael
Stoschek in his Lancia Stratos Group 4.
But the story isn’t over yet.
In November 2010, 40 years after its first appearance at the Turin
Motor Show, a successor to the ruthless flying wedge will be
presented to a small circle of international motor sport journalists
on the Paul Ricard Circuit.
The legend returns.
Michael Stoschek is a
collector and driver of historic racing cars as well as a successful
entrepreneur in the automotive supply industry. For Stoschek, the
development and construction of a modern version of the Stratos
represents the fulfillment of a long-held dream.
Construction of the car has been underway since autumn 2008, at
Pininfarina in Turin, Italy. The contemporary New Stratos is a
non-commercial project by Michael Stoschek and his son Maximilian
Stoschek. Together they played a fundamental role in determining the
technical concept and design of the one-off vehicle.
Michael Stoschek is chairman of the Brose Group shareholder's
meeting. Brose is the fifth-largest family-owned company among
global automotive suppliers.
A keen sportsman, Stoschek won the Carrera Panamericana in 1999,
2001 and 2004, and the 2006 FIA European Rallye Championship,
driving a 1971 Porsche 911 in both races. The Lancia Stratos Group 4
has a special place amongst the historic rallye cars that Stoschek
employs for rallies and hillclimbing. Sporting a Marlboro design,
the vehicle has been restored over more than a decade, according to
the specifications of the “1974 Tour de Corse Andruet/Biche” works
The decision to develop and build a new, ready-to-run Stratos was
inspired by a meeting with Chris Hrabalek, with whom Michael
Stoschek became acquainted at the 1986 World Stratos meeting
organized in Alta Badia by Stoschek. This was also the impetus
behind Stoschek’s involvement in the Fenomenon Stratos project,
presented at the 2005 Geneva Motor Show, as well as his acquisition
of the Stratos trademark rights.
In September 2008, Michael and his son Maximilian Stoschek
commissioned Pininfarina to build a one-off vehicle the technical
concept and design of which were largely determined by the two car
The New Stratos
The Lancia Stratos’s
fascination lay not only in its uncompromising construction –
optimized for dedicated application in motor sport – but in its
unparalleled design, the exceptional sound of the Ferrari V6 engine
and naturally its remarkable success in competition. Up to that
point, no sports car had been so systematically developed for racing
use – indeed, the street version was merely a necessary evil for
The Lancia Stratos HF’s unique technical characteristics – the
lightweight plastic body with integrated roll cage, the mid-engine,
the racing transmission, the adjustable chassis for all
applications, the two side tanks at the center of the vehicle, the
integrated car door compartments for driver and front passenger
helmets, the removable front and rear hoods for servicing and the
separate engine access through a hatch – are all included in its
In this respect, the New Stratos is not a mere conversion of a
Ferrari, but a newly developed, independent sports car that, as in
the 1970s, integrates several components from the Fiat Group’s
The roll cage – made from 2.5 mm thick tubing, with a 40 mm
diameter, and welded into the shortened aluminum chassis – has been
manufactured to current FIA standards. This not only improves safety
for the vehicle occupants, but also significantly enhances the
Despite the cage structure and the built-in air conditioning, by
keeping the body, interior and almost all the components
lightweight, the weight of the base vehicle could be kept at an
Overall, engine performance was only slightly increased; however,
thanks to the New Stratos’ minimal weight, excellent balance and new
set-up, the vehicle delivered a truly extraordinary performance and
unbelievable driving pleasure.
Currently, the New Stratos is one of a kind. Whether or not an
exclusive, limited run will be manufactured, depends upon demand.
Creating a modern
interpretation of a classic product is an exceptional challenge for
a designer. It can be difficult to find the right balance between
the issue of, on one hand, drawing too much from the original and,
on the other, departing too much from the initial concept. It’s
Michael Stoschek’s belief that the more perfect a classic form is,
the less it should be changed – the Ford GT 40 offering a good
example of this.
Particular caution is necessary when attempting a re-interpretation
of a design icon like the Lancia Stratos. The radical Bertone study,
with its futuristic design, was itself already well ahead of its
time on its presentation in 1970. By holding to the premise "form
follows function", Marcello Gandini smoothly paved the way for
further development of the Stratos into a rally legend.
Michael Stoschek found it extremely fascinating to discover that, in
addition to Chris Hrabalek, many renowned designers were inspired by
the idea of a modern Stratos, and put their time and energies into
helping him make his vision a reality.
Stoschek himself specified that, "because the design of the Lancia
Stratos was characterized by the contrast between round and
rectilinear elements, I wanted to see that tension to be carried
over into the New Stratos as well."
The assignment was to find a contemporary interpretation for all the
quintessential design characteristics of the Lancia Stratos,
• the semi-circular windshield,
• the front end with its central radiator,
• the rear end with its round tail lights,
• roof and rear spoiler
• and the five-star rims.
Since the project began
in late 2008, all of Michael and Maximilian Stoschek’s, as well as
Chris Hrabalek’s, conceptual and formal specifications for the body
and interior have been implemented by Pininfarina.
The Test DrivesNaturally, the theoretically pre-determined chassis
components of the New Stratos will be reviewed via numerous test
drives on both public and restricted roads, and high demands on
handling singled-out accordingly.
To use the potential of the light, torsionally rigid and
well-balanced vehicle to full advantage, the vehicle height, camber,
toe and caster were redeveloped and, above all, the whole setup.
Uniball joints and stiffer springs were employed, as well as a new
damper calibration, allowing greater differentiation of the damping
force, adjustable via the steering wheel. Optimum wheel / tire
combinations were explored via testing of various tire brands,
dimensions and rubber compounds. The Brose-sponsored, Portuguese
WTCC pilot and former Formula 1 driver, Tiago Monteiro, contributed
significantly to the chassis development together with the engineers
from ZF Sachs.
WTTC and former Formula-1-Pilot Tiago Monteiro fine-tuning the
chassis of the New Stratos at Balooco test track, Italy.
On September 13th, the
final wind tunnel test was held at Pininfarina in Turin. The
aerodynamic data already gleaned from the 1:1 model of the New
Stratos, together with all the subjective driving impressions from
the various test tracks, was compiled and applied to the
optimization of the lift and downforce values.
The inflow conditions of a moving New Stratos at wind speeds of
140-200 km/h were realistically simulated on the wind tunnel’s
"rolling road". Among other things, the body was configured to
different height values and pitches, and the effect of these on the
perfect balance of the contact pressure between the front and rear
axles was measured. Various spoiler lips were also employed on the
underbody, in order to increase the downforce on the front axle.
The goal for the
development of the Lancia Stratos HF’s successor was to once again
create a mid-engine sports car with a short wheelbase, low weight
and superior agility.
Just as the Lancia Stratos, with its Ferrari Dino V6 engine, was
nevertheless a distinct sports car in its own right, the New Stratos
is also a distinct development, using components of the Ferrari 430
Scuderia. Almost all of these components have been modified and, as
necessary, customized to their new purpose. However, it should also
be pointed out that the Ferrari Scuderia really sets the standard
amongst the current super sports cars and, as such, provides an
excellent base for the New Stratos.
The chassis, composed from aluminum extrusions, was shortened by
20cm and welded to a roll cage made of FIA-certified, 40mm-thick
steel. This method significantly increases rigidity, and this,
combined with the shifting of the center of gravity towards the
front, provides the basis for the vehicle’s extraordinary handling
characteristics. Both the body – which is 33cm shorter than the
Scuderia’s – and the interior are constructed entirely of carbon
fiber and aluminum.
The 4.3L V8 engine, which draws its intake air from the roof
spoiler’s side openings, has been equipped with a new control unit
and a high-performance exhaust system, including manifold and sports
The 6-speed transmission received a new mechanical differential
lock, and the modified control electronics allow for extremely fast
gear changes at less than 60 milliseconds.
The chassis was completely reengineered, including integration of
new electronic damper calibration, adjustable via the steering
wheel, modified springs and optimized camber and toe values. The 9-
and 11-inch wide by 19-inch center lock wheels are fitted with
Dunlop Sport Maxx tires, sizes 265/30/19 and 315/30/19.
The Brembo brake systems, comprised of 398mm-diameter ceramic discs
and 6-piston calipers at the front axle, and 350mm-diameter and
4-piston calipers at the rear axle, are equipped with Brembo racing
brake pads and steel flex lines.
Finally, the steering has been converted to electro-hydraulic, the
new smaller steering wheel displays the shift points via
multi-colored LEDs and the paddle shifters are from the Ferrari 430
The battery is a lithium unit in a carbon casing, with a weight of
4.2kg and a capacity of 84 Ah.
Despite the approximately 55kg steel roll cage and the 28kg air
conditioning unit – which it was necessary to take on due to the
large glass surfaces – the New Stratos weighs about 80kg less than
the base vehicle.
The New Stratos’ exceptional performance – the sum total of all
these measures – will be gauged in the coming weeks and demonstrated
through a standardized testing program which provides objective,
The New Stratos at the final wind tunnel test on September 13th at
Pininfarina in Turin.
The success of these coordination efforts was evident upon
evaluation of the measurement report at the end of the test day. The
quality of both the surface and the body’s aerodynamic performance –
including the airflow from the roof and rear spoiler – could also be
The values optimized via the wind tunnel test will be applied to the
calibration of the dampers and springs prior to the next test runs.
In the coming days, the team of test drivers will review to what
extent these modifications can further perfect the already excellent
handling characteristics of the New Stratos on Balocco’s test and
The New Stratos, like
the racing version of its predecessor, has been extensively geared –
down to every last detail – towards lightweight design and
performance. Not surprisingly, the specification sheet was therefore
extremely ambitious in this regard as well.
The low vehicle weight, the excellent balance and the precision
chassis components made possible by the rigid body, were intended
not only to provide an exhilarating driving experience, but to
provide measurable results in the form of objective data.
As work on the New Stratos continued virtually without pause up
until the presentation in Le Castellet, and weather conditions
offered no opportunity for performance test runs, these will have be
carried out at the next available opportunity.
We expect a power-to-weight ratio below 2.3 kg/hp with an
acceleration time from 0-100 km/h of 3.3 seconds and from 0-200 km/h
of 9.7 seconds. We expect top marks for braking performance and a
benchmark position in the 18- and 36-meter slalom and similar
After introducing the new rear axle ratio (crown wheel and pinion
9/45), the top speed will be reduced to 274 km/h, in order to
achieve even better acceleration values.