The Ferrari 458 Challenge

The great Italian manufacturer has introduced a ‘Challenge’ version of its 570bhp supercar which will see action in next year’s Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli alongside the outgoing F430 model.

The new model is the fifth used in the one-make series for professional, as well as ‘gentlemen’, drivers. Also new for 2011 will be an Asia-Pacific series, in addition to European and North American activities.

The road car’s mighty direct-injection 570bhp V8 remains unaltered, although changes to gear ratios and the calibration of its dual-clutch F1 gearbox have been made “to guarantee higher torque at lower revs”. It is, however, lighter by the increased use of carbonfibre and Lexan, and runs lower, by 30mm.

New-generation Brembo CCM2 brakes (as seen on the 599XX) are integrated into the new car, with an ABS system that features two configurations: 'low grip', and 'high performance' for dry surfaces.

All 458 Challenges will have F1-Trac traction and Ferrari’s E-Diff. Drivers can choose – via the steering wheel manettino – ‘wet’ or ‘dry’ settings to control the level of traction. It’s also possible to turn the traction control off. The new 458 Challenge has a dedicated suspension set-up with solid aluminium bushings, stiffer springs, single-rate dampers and centre-lock 19in racing rims. The cars will run on control Pirelli racing slicks.

Early testing at Fiorano has produced a record-breaking lap-time of just 1'16.5" – around 9 seconds quicker than a well-driven road-going 458 and on a par with a full-on racing 360 N-GT of just a few years ago.

Text: Steve Wakefield
Photos: Ferrari

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