Lancia Stratos HF: Born to win

Rally drivers have always trusted BILSTEIN

When Lancia sent the Stratos HF to the tracks at the World Rally Championship in 1974, the Italians caused a veritable cultural shock. The competition was completely astounded by the technological superiority of the wedge-shaped rally car. And the fans were collectively amazed by the new uncompromising design and the infernal sounds of the engine.

Their reactions made sense: The motorsport world had never seen such a car before. The Lancia Stratos HF was based on the futuristic Bertone “Lancia Stratos Zero” study from 1970. It was the first car ever developed exclusively for the demanding rally. The mid-engine racer was powered by a Ferrari V6 engine that raised the sounds of hell. And, of course, the Lancia engineers also relied on our shock absorbers.

Their opponents had nothing on the Lancia Stratos HF. They drove the competition into the ground at the World Rally Championship: The wedge-shaped rally car won everything there was to win. Its superiority was vindicated with a hat trick in the Brand World Championship in 1974, 1975 and 1976.

Nobody knows today how many Stratos were built. People say about 500. So the compact Italian car is very rare. Érik Comas, who most of us know as a former Formula One driver, hunted down one of the outrageously expensive Lancia Stratos.

The former F1 driver’s real passion was never circuit racing but rally racing. Comas couldn’t help himself: While most people would leave the Stratos in the garage, Comas immediately used it at several rallies.

The 54-year-old Frenchman has always loved the wedge-shaped Lancia. “Even after 40 years you still feel this car is designed for racing,” said Comas once enthusiastically. The mid-engine racing car with a short wheelbase is not a car for gentlemen and requires an experienced hand: “It’s very tricky to drive.” But for Érik Comas it’s apparently not too tricky: In 2015, Comas won the Italian Historic Rally Championship with the Lancia Stratos HF.

In 2017, Érik Comas contacted our Technical Service Center NTP in Italy, an important dealer of ours, who also specialises in custom-made suspensions for the race track and road traffic. Together, Érik Comas and our Italian suspension experts developed and tested a new set-up for the shock absorbers.

The set-up is extremely important. “In historic rally sport, the level of performance and technology is very high”, explained Comas. The modifications should also pay off: Comas won the highly contested FIA European Historic Rally Championship this year with the Lancia Stratos HF.

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