At the Bologna Motor Show, Ferrari unveiled its new 458 Challenge race car, a lighter and faster version of its mid-engined supercar that will participate in the one-make race series from 2011. The 458 Challenge and the regular car share the same direct-injection, 4.5-litre V8 powerplant, which delivers 562bhp at 9000rpm.
As it is for track use, it features revised gear ratios and recalibration of the 458's F1 gearbox. To shave off some weight, Ferrari has reduced the thickness of the 458's body panels, and has increased its use of lightweight materials such as carbonfiber and Lexan. So far, Ferrari has yet to reveal this car’s weight.
The Challenge's chassis set-up comprises stiffer springs, single-rate dampers, 19in racing wheels, larger Pirelli slick tires and a lower ride height (down by 50mm).
It also has Brembo CCM2 brakes, which are used on the 599XX. The new model also features Ferrari's E-Diff electronic differential and F1-Trac, its traction control system. This is the first time that these set-ups were offered on one of the company’s track cars.
Ferrari asserts that the 458 Challenge can produce lateral forces of up to 1.6g, and that it can finish a lap in the firm's Fiorano test circuit in 1m 16.5sec, which is two seconds faster than the F430 Challenge car.
It is also 8.5sec faster than the 458 road car. However, it must be remembered that its time was set on slick tires. The 458 Challenge would be the fifth car to compete in the Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli where it will go up against F430s, 360s, F355s and 348s.