The ‘New Stratos’ project has taken
another stride forward as it counts down to a launch
date at Paul Ricard in November, with the reborn Lancia
legend this time being put through its paces on a German
handling course and the team involved again reporting
its capabilities exceeded their expectations.
Following a well-documented test at the Fiat Group’s proving ground at Balocco
in June, this latest test session took place at the Wächtersbach complex in
Germany, which incorporates a short circuit and handling course. According to
the project’s official website: "Wächtersbach’s tight handling course put
different demands on the vehicle than the Balocco track had done thus far.”
Once again at the wheel of the new sports car prototype, and leader of the
development program, was former F1 driver Tiago Monteiro. The Portuguese driver
competed in 37 grands prix with Jordan, Midland and Spyker, and collected a
podium finish in the controversial United States Grand Prix in 2005. He
currently races in the FIA World Touring Car Championship for a SEAT satellite team,
and also piloted the New Stratos prototype during its initial Balocco test.
Behind the wheel in Germany, too, was Michael Stoschek, the German automotive sector
industrialist and historic rally driver who has brought the ambitious project to
fruition, as well as his son Maximilian.
According to the official website,
“an enhanced Porsche 911 GT3 RS was used as the
reference car”, and, as at Balocco where an insider told
Italiaspeed that “all the benchmarks had been
exceeded”, this time the sports car seems to have been
equally as impressive in what was a very different
scenario. “All in all, the test confirmed that the
vehicle is both extraordinarily agile and a phenomenally
fun drive,” the report stated. Matthias Mohr, a test
engineer from Sachs ZF, was also able to try out
individual damper adjustments while the sports car was
being driven on the track. Following that test the New
Stratos will be fitted with harder suspension springs
and a more direct steering ratio before its next test
takes place, once again at Balocco, in mid-September.
Photos from the test at
Wächtersbach also show the cockpit, although the finish
is very much still in its prototype phase. Notably, the
driver’s helmet can be seen tucked into the door panel
compartment – as in the original – but this time around,
the legendary ‘helmet pocket’ is made of carbonfibre.