It’s not often that supercar-building compatriots Lamborghini and Ferrari battle for the spotlight, but at the Geneva motor show, Sant'Agata’s Gallardo has squared up to Maranello’s Challenge Stradale.

It’s not often that supercar-building compatriots Lamborghini and Ferrari battle for the spotlight, but at the Geneva motor show, Sant'Agata’s Gallardo has squared up to Maranello’s Challenge Stradale. Which one would you buy if you had R1,5 million?

CARtoday.com has been following the development of both the Lamborghini Gallardo, which used to be known by its codename L140, and the Ferrari Challenge Stradale ever since the news broke that the two legendary Italian companies would be competing for the same territory as the Porsche GT2.

The Gallardo is seen as the first product from the Sant'Agata company to have been built from scratch with the guidance of Lamborghini’s parent company, Audi. It shares much of the exterior style with its bigger stablemate, the Murciélago, but where the flagship is made of steel and carbon fibre, the Gallardo is mostly aluminium. Even with a five-litre V10 engine and all-wheel-drive system, the car weighs 1 430kg. In addition, the Gallardo is a conventional coupé instead of gullwinged two-door supercar.

Its new, naturally-aspirated powerplant was developed with the help of Cosworth. Instead of a traditional 72-degree V-angle, the 10-cylinder block adopts a flatter 90-degree layout. This allows the engine to sit deeper in the engine bay behind the driver, resulting in a lowered centre of gravity and better handling. The rear spoiler is speed-sensitive, and extends at high speed to create additional downforce.

Lamborghini claims the engine will develop 373 kW at 7 800 r/min and 510 N.m of torque at 4 500 r/min. This could result in a theoretical top speed of 309 km/h and a zero to 100 km/h time in the region of four seconds.

It is expected that the Gallardo will be significantly cheaper than the R4,5-million Murcielago, partly due to Audi employing cost-saving production methods. CARtoday.com reported last year that the car will be targeted directly at the Ferrari 360 and Porsche’s 911 GT2. At the time of the report it was believed that the Gallardo would cost the equivalent of between R1,5 and R1,6 million on the European market.

A six-speed manual gearbox will be fitted as standard, although an F1-style sequential system, called e-gear, will be optional, reported this week.

So what can Ferrari offer to those who might be in the market for the Gallardo, but would have bought the Scuderia’s Enzo supercar if they had a big enough wallet?

Enter the Ferrari Stradale. CARtoday.com reported in January that Ferrari would build a car based on the European Ferrari 360 Challenge racing series and here it is.

For the Challenge Stradale, the 360’s powerplant remains unchanged, but weight has been cut dramatically. According to reports, the GT is said to virtually match the racer's 1 167 kg kerb weight, a saving of more than 220 kg over the standard road car.

According to reports, the GT’s power-to-weight ratio is in the region of 257 kW per ton. A spokesman for Ferrari said the race-bred Prancing Horse will rocket from zero to 100 km/h in around four seconds - it may even dip into the high threes!

With the Stradale, Ferrari has ditched the standard car's electronic damping system in favour of the 360 Challenge's track-biased set-up, comprising Boge shock absorbers, harder springs with aluminium suspension bushes and a thicker, 22 mm rear anti-roll bar.

The Stradale package is rounded off with an F1-style semi-automatic paddle-shift gearbox and is painted in Rosso Scuderia, the same racing red adorning Ferrari’s F1 cars.

According to , the race-bred Prancing Horse will retail for the equivalent of R1,46 million in the US.

Original article from Car