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Brilliance redefined - Ferrari 458 Challenge Berlinetta

  • Ferrari 458 Challenge Berlinetta - 0
  • Ferrari 458 Challenge Berlinetta - 1
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Bologna sees the arrival of a tweaked Ferrari 458...

A world debut for a car whose arrival was announced at Ferrari’s Annual Dealer Meeting in Maranello six months ago: the 458 Challenge Berlinetta, based on the Italia and sharing the latter’s mid-rear V8 engine, is launched at Bologna Motor Show. Predictably, weight reduction has played a major role in the Challenge’s development: body-shell panels are thinner, with carbon-fibre and Lexan being used extensively.

There are no changes to the power output of the 5-litre V8 standard engine, which stays at 570hp @ 9000rpm. However, gear ratios and the dual-clutch F1 gearbox have been modified to give higher torque at lower revs. The Challenge is the first Ferrari race car to use its road-going sibling’s electronic differential system, which is integrated with the new F1-Trac traction control. The latter has been developed in-house by Ferrari, harnessing the experience gained by many years’ racing in F1 and GT championships.

The combination of F1-Trac and E-Diff systems guarantees maximum grip, performance and acceleration levels. Together with ABS/EBD, all settings are selected via the ‘manettino’ positioned on the steering wheel, allowing a progressive software input and control intervention. Suspension is also specific to the new 458 Challenge: the car boasts stiffer springs, single-rate alloy dampers, 19” forged rims, larger Pirelli slicks and a 50mm-lower ride height.

Braking power is enhanced by Brembo CCM2s which are integrated with the latest ABS system, first used on the experimental 599XX. Ferrari’s stand at the Bologna Motor Show is a tribute to the marque’s racing and technology efforts: the 458 Challenge is flanked by the F430 GTC owned by the AF Corse team, one of the cars which gave Ferrari the Constructors’ title in the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup 2010, GT2 class; and the FXX and 599XX experimental cars, the latest products of the sportscar manufacturer’s research and development programmes.

Proudly displayed in the middle of the stand, is the single-seater F60, which Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro fielded in the 2009 Formula 1 World Championship season. 

Ferrari’s one-make racing series has been using lightened versions of the Cavallino Rampante’s road-going cars since its inception in 1993. The current series is going to be extended to include a new Asia-Pacific series next year.

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