Talking about the Lancia Stratos will always remain a pleasure for me.
I dedicated a great deal of my life to this car. I led numerous difficult negotiations in order to bring to life this project , overcoming numerous obstacles along the way. I obtained the agreement of Enzo Ferrari to provide us with the engines that were coming out of Maranello for the first time. I felt some very strong emotions seeing everything we had envisioned finally taking shape before winning these numerous successive World Titles.
I have kept intact the unforgettable memories of this era. This extraordinary car gave me such mixed emotions of anxiety, suffering and joy! Everybody who fought by my side to make this project a reality went through the same emotional rollercoaster.
The Stratos made its place in the history books of motor-racing in the greatest way possible. It will be remembered because it is a supreme example of what is achievable with perseverance, skill and a lot of courage. Its' avant-garde and modern style allowed the Stratos to confront its competitors with the highest level of success whilst still adhering to the spirit and technical regulations of its time.
There were numerous attempts at imitating the Stratos but none have marked their time like it did. At the early stages I knew that I had everything to win, but also everything to lose with this car. I knew that if I had failed with this project, I would have been literally destroyed by the opposition. Fortunately, however, this was not the case. I am certain the Stratos would have been on top of the timing sheets for years more had I not been forced to withdraw it from factory competition.
It is with greatest of pleasures that I write these few words to talk to you about one of the most prestigious racing cars ever produced by Lancia, and of which I was the technical director between 1967 and 1984.
Many stories have been written about the creation of the Stratos and of its' many victories. There are no doubts regarding the victories, but sometimes inaccuracies regarding its genesis. In the following text I will outline the fundamental dates and people who contributed to the creation of this project.
Nearly November of 1970 at the Turin motor-show, coachbuilder Bertone presents the Stratos (then called Zero) with the engine of the Lancia Fulvia mounted in a rear-central position.
November of 1971, Turin motor-show, the Lancia Stratos HF is presented on Bertone’s stand. Born in collaboration with the sports division of Lancia, it was presented with the centrally mounted engine of the Ferrari Dino. The official press release stated that the final version would be with a different engine.
On the 2nd of February 1972 Enzo Ferrari calls Pierugo Gobbato to congratulate him on the victory of the Lancia Fulvia in the Monte Carlo rally and to say that he was willing to provide 500 246 Dino engines for the Stratos.
Early March 1972, we begin to encounter some difficulties with Ferrari regarding the production of the Dino engines.
End of May 1972, Ferrari provides 10 engines to the racing division of Lancia to evaluate its mounting on the Stratos prototypes
End of August 1972, the racing division of Lancia announces 240hp for the first Stratos engine
Beginning of November 1972, first and early participation at the Tour of Corsica as Lancia were still uncertain regarding the supply of 500 engines from Ferrari.
14th of December 1972, Fiat finally drops its' resistance and Ferrari is able to supply the 500 engines.
8th of April 1973 the Stratos gets its first victory at the Firestone Rally. The 15th of May it finishes 2nd at the Targa Florio and on the 23rd of September the Stratos wins the Tour de France Auto – Its first major victory.
In 1973 the racing division of Lancia builds the first Stratos engine with 4 valves per cylinder along with the Stratos turbocharged engine.
1st of October 1974 the Stratos is homologated by the FIA in Group 4 division.
They contributed to the Stratos
Director of the company, he was the man with the initial idea and threw himself into the project.
Outstanding creator, designed and constructed the entire body work and all the evolutions.
General director of Lancia, gained access to the highest authorities of Fiat with the help of Enzo Ferrari in order to secure the Ferrari Dino Engine.
Sporting director of the racing division of Lancia, he was the political and spiritual leader of the project. It was he who convinced Gobbato to make the Stratos project a reality.
Technical director of the racing division of Lancia, he coordinated all the work between Lancia and Bertone in the initial conception phase and then worked on the development of the prototype. He supervised all engine developments before moving on to managing the entire racing division for the technical development and preparation of all official race cars.
Technical director of Lancia who coordinated the various individuals responsible for the production phase of the Stratos. These individuals were: Francesco De Virgilio, Francesco Faleo et Nicola Materazzi.
Official test driver who undertook all initial development testing of the Stratos and all of the official race cars. He continued as the engineer for Chardonnet when the official factory team withdrew from competition.
Manufacturer of the competition cars from 1972 to 1973, he also collaborated with Tonti for the fine tuning of cars on the road.
Ex Ferrari test driver, Mike was the technical manager during competitions from 1974 until mid-1977.
Project manager of the technical department of Lancia, he moved from the racing department to lead the Technical division from 1973 to 1977.
He was one of the promoters of the Stratos project and is the driver who is the most heavily linked with the Stratos. Of all the illustrious names to sit behind the wheel of a Stratos; it was he who enjoyed the highest level of success with the car.