Finally, after few leaked photos, the new Ferrari 458 Challenge made its debut at the Annual Dealer Meeting in Maranello. Based on the 458 Italia, the new berlinetta from the Italian manufacturer will flank the F430 Challenge in the Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli in the 2011 season and will be the fifth model used by Ferrari in its one-make championship which, from next year, will extend in order to include a new Asia-Pacific series.
According to Ferrari, the 458 Challenge carries the same 4497 cc V8 engine capable to deliver 570 hp at 9,000 rpm.
Modifications were brought to the gear ratios and calibrations of its dual-clutch F1 gearbox. Further improvements include the E-Diff electronic differential, a first for Ferrari's track-only cars, but also a suspension set-up with solid aluminium bushings, stiffer springs, single-rate dampers, centre-nut 19-inch racing rims, larger dimension Pirelli slicks and a ride height lowered by 30mm all round.
In order to stop this car, Ferrari used the new generation Brembo CCM2 brakes which debuted on the 599XX, and which are integrated with an ABS system that features two configurations - low grip and high performance for dry surfaces.
Due to the fact that is a track-only car, Ferrari also made significant work into cutting the car's weight, using lightweight materials, such as carbon-fibre and Lexan.
Another premiere for a track-only Ferrari is the adoption of the F1-Trac traction control system, the most sophisticated of its kind. Which constantly monitors levels of grip for maximum high-performance road-holding.
The adoption of the highly advanced F1-Trac traction control system on the 458 is also a first for any Ferrari Challenge model. F1-Trac continuously checks levels of grip for optimal high-performance road-holding. This system comes with two track-biased calibrations - wet and dry – and features control logic and strategies drawn from Ferrari's extensive expertise and experience in the F1 and GT championships.
To ensure optimal acceleration when the Ferrari 458 Challenge exits a corner, the F1-Trac is completely integrated with the E-Diff. Moreover, the calibration settings for the ABS, F1-Trac and E-Diff were chosen through the manettino on the steering wheel, which makes the 458 the first Ferrari Challenge series model to sport such a solution.
On high grip conditions, drivers could also have the CT-OFF de-activate the F1-Trac traction control. During the development of the mid-rear V8-engined Ferrari 458 Challenge, tests at Fiorano indicated that Ferrari engineers were successful in having the model surpass the lap record held by its predecessor at the track.
Ferrari 458 Challenge posted a new record lap time of 1'16.5", which is around two seconds faster than its predecessor. Moreover, the Ferrari 458 Challenge generates up to 1.6 G of lateral grip. Indeed, the new Ferrari 458 Challenge allows the super sports car maker to offer its sporty customers a vehicle that is laden with remarkable performance, superb responsiveness and intense handling.
True to its purpose, the Ferrari 458 Challenge will enable participants in Ferrari Challenge participants to fully enjoy their race weekends at some of the world's famous auto racing circuits. Moreover, the Ferrari 458 Challenge is a testament to the passion that has become a part of Ferrari's one-make championship.