2011 Ferrari 458 Challenge - Official Photos and Info
BY JUSTIN BERKOWITZ
At Ferrari’s annual dealer meeting in Maranello, the company provided a little surprise when it took the wraps off of its newest track star, the 458 Challenge.
The 458 Challenge, like the 430 Challenge before it, is the prancing stallion’s factory offering for its one-make Challenge race series. And also like the car before it, the 458 Challenge is closely related to its roadgoing sibling, in this case, the 458 Italia. Ferrari says that the Italia's 4.5-liter V-8 engine will remain in production tune, producing 562 hp when wound to a shrieking 9000 rpm. The torque curve, however, will look a bit different; Ferrari has tweaked the gear ratios and calibration of the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission to favor torque at lower engine speeds.
As is usually the case with any new Ferrari, whether it's a brand new model or a special edition, the 458 Challenge heaps on the technology. The electronic "E-Diff" differential, already in place on regular 458s, makes its debut in a Ferrari track car. A special race-oriented suspension is installed, wherein ride height is reduced by 1.2 inches, and Ferrari has cut weight by deploying carbon fiber and Lexan throughout the car. The 458 Challenge also adds new-generation Brembo brakes, which debuted on the 599XX, and Ferrari's trick F1-Trac traction-control system that allows drivers to select two specific track-biased settings for dry to wet conditions. According to Ferrari, these enhancements translate into a two-second improvement over the 430 Challenge when lapping its Fiorano test track.