Ferrari has taken the wraps off its new 458 Challenge race car at today’s Bologna motor show, a lighter and faster version of its mid-engined supercar that will join the grids in one-make race series from 2011.
The 458 Challenge has the same direct-injection, 4.5-litre V8 powerplant as the regular car, producing 562bhp at 9000rpm.
The gains for track use come through revised gear ratios and recalibration of the 458's F1 gearbox, plus a major push to save weight.
Ferrari has reduced the thickness of the 458's body panels, and made greater use of lightweight materials such as carbonfibre and Lexan. The firm has declined to quote a weight figure for the new car, however.
The Challenge's chassis set-up features stiffer springs, single-rate dampers, 19in racing wheels, larger Pirelli slick tyres and a lower ride height (down by 50mm). It also has Brembo CCM2 brakes, as seen on the 599XX.
The new model also gets Ferrari's E-Diff electronic differential and F1-Trac, its traction control system, the first time these set-ups have been offered on one of the firm's track cars.
Ferrari claims that the 458 Challenge can generate lateral forces of up to 1.6g, and that it laps the firm's Fiorano test circuit in 1m 16.5sec; that's two seconds faster than the F430 Challenge car. That’s also 8.5sec quicker than the 458 road car, although its time was set on slick tyres.
The 458 Challenge will be the fifth car to compete in the Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli; it will take on F430s, 360s, F355s and 348s.