Ferrari Debuts 458 Challenge Track Racer

The new 458 Challenge that is destined to race in the onemake 2011 Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli series was revealed today during an annual dealer meeting in Maranello, Italy. Based off the road-going 458 Italia, the Challenge has received a number of competition-spec modifications to adapt it for use on the track.

While the direct injection 4.5-liter V8 with an output of 570-horsepower at 9,000 rpm remains stock, Ferrari's engineers went ahead and made changes to the gear ratios and calibration of the dual-clutch F1 gearbox to improve torque at lower revs.

The new 458 Challenge also benefits from a modified suspension set-up with solid aluminium bushings, stiffer springs, single-rate dampers and a ride height lowered by 30mm all round. It rides on new centre-nut 19-inch racing wheels shod in beefier Pirelli slicks.

It is also equipped with the new Brembo CCM2 brakes seen on the 599XX experimental laboratory car, and which are integrated with an ABS system featuring two configurations - low grip and high performance for dry surfaces.

The 458 Challenge keeps the E-Diff electronic differential and F1-Trac traction control system employed on the road-going version.

Ferrari said that significant work has gone into reducing the supercar's weight. No figures were released, but the 458's body panels have been reduced in thickness and are made lightweight materials, such as carbon-fibre and Lexan.

The Italian company claims that these changes combined helped improve the car's lap time at the Fiorano track by two seconds over that of its predecessor, resulting in a new lap record of just 1'16.5", while generating lateral forces of up to 1.6G.