Ferrari took the wraps off the 458 Challenge this month in Maranello, Italy, at the company’s annual dealer meeting. The new car replaces the F430 Challenge in the 2011 Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli, which is being extended to include a new Asia-Pacific series.
Based on the 458, the 458 Challenge shares the direct-injection 4.5-liter, 562-hp V8. The Challenge’s gear ratios and dual-clutch gearbox have been modified for higher torque at lower revs. The Challenge has the 458’s E-Diff electronic differential, a first for Ferrari’s track-only cars.
Significant work also went into weight reduction, though Ferrari didn’t say how much the car weighs. The body panels are thinner, and there’s extensive use of carbon fiber and Lexan.
The new 458 Challenge also has its own suspension setup with solid aluminum bushings, stiffer springs, single-rate dampers and center-nut 19-inch racing wheels. It is also equipped with the new-generation Brembo brakes from the 599XX.
The Challenge car has the F1-Trac traction control system, developed in-house by Ferrari. It constantly monitors grip levels for maximum road-holding. Two track calibrations, wet and dry, have been developed. The F1-Trac is integrated with the E-Diff for better acceleration out of corners. It can all be controlled via the manettino on the steering wheel.
Ferrari says the 458 Challenge is two seconds a lap faster at Fiorano, turning a record lap of 1:16.5 seconds.
No price has been released, but we expect it be far north of the 458’s $220,000 sticker.