March 1, 2012

Ferrari 458 Challenge

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Ferrari has unveiled its latest racer, the 458 Challenge. This new model will be a contender in next year’s Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli one-make series.

The 458 boasts a direct-injection 4497cc V8 transplanted from the 458 Italia road car. This generates 562bhp at 9000rp. To obtain higher torque at lower revs, the gear ratios and calibration of the dual-clutch gearbox have been adjusted. Also featured is the E-Diff electronic differential. This part has previously been installed on Ferrari’s road cars but never before on a race vehicle.

By reducing the thickness of its body panels and replacing certain pars with carbon fibre, Ferrari has managed to reduce the original car’s weight drastically.

Exactly how much weight Ferrari has managed to shave off is being kept secret. However, the Challenge managed a lap time of 1 minute and 1.65 seconds around Ferrari’s Fiorano test track, 2 seconds faster than the original 458. In creating this impressive time, the Challenge generated a huge 1.6g of lateral grip.

To assist with that speedy lap time and massive grip is a custom suspension set-up featuring stiffer springs, solid aluminium bushings, single-rate dampers, centre-nut 19in alloys, Pirelli slicks and a ride height lowered by 30mm all round. It also gets the Brembo CCM2 brakes from the 599XX.

The 458 Challenge is also the first Ferrari one-make racer to get the F1-Trac traction control system. Two specific track-biased calibrations – wet and dry – have been developed for the 458 Challenge, while the system is integrated with the E-Diff to help traction out of corners.

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