The Ferrari 458 Challenge has made its debut at the 2010 Bologna Motor Show in Italy overnight.
Based on the stunning 458 Italia, the Challenge is designed for the track and is the fifth model from Ferrari to be placed into its single-series racing program.
The Challenge is powered by the same 4.5-litre direct-injection V8 as the standard 458, and output is unchanged at 425kW (at 9000rpm) and 540Nm.
The changes start with the dual-clutch gearbox, which has been recalibrated and features new ratios for higher torque at lower revs.
Ferrari engineers have put significant work into reducing the vehicle’s weight, both inside and out. The Challenge’s body panels are thinner, and lightweight materials – like carbon fibre and Lexan – are used throughout the vehicle’s structure.
At the corners, the Challenge has a specific suspension set-up with steel uniball joints, even stiffer springs, single-rate alloy dampers and the latest generation Brembo CCM2 brakes integrated with the ABS system from the Ferrari 599XX racer.
The whole car has been lowered by 50mm and sits on Pirelli slicks, which wrap around 19in centre-nut forged rims.
Two firsts for a Ferrari Challenge model featured on the 458 are the ‘E-Diff’ electronic differential (already found on the Italia road car) and the ‘F1-Trac’ traction control system.
F1-Trac is fully integrated with the E-Diff to maximise stability and acceleration into and out of corners. It features two specific track-biased calibrations (selectable via the steering wheel), which provide progressively higher levels of intervention according to the grip available.
It’s all rather technical, but the good news is, it works. The 458 Challenge is more than two seconds faster than the 458 Italia around Ferrari’s Fiorano race track. The final lap time: 1min16.5secs, with 1.6g’s of lateral grip.