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Ferrari Unveils The 458 Challenge

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On: Tue, Dec 7, 2010 at 10:17AM | By: Chris Weiss

Ferrari Unveils The 458 Challenge

At the Bologna Motor Show, Ferrari has grown its track car family with the new 2011 458 Challenge. Maranello teased the car two months ago, and now we have a look from every angle. The track-spec 458 keeps the output of the 458 Italia, but adds a variety of interior, exterior, and mechanical upgrades.

The 458 Challenge follows suit of track-only Challenge models of generations past in its designation for Ferrari's one-make Ferrari Challenge series.

The car remains unchanged in the engine bay, offering the same 570-hp output from 4.5-liter V8 engine as the 458 Italia. That doesn't mean the car won't be quicker, though: in primping the 458 for the track, Ferrari has pulled out all non-essentials from the interior, increased the number of carbon fiber body panels, and crafted the windows from Lexan composite to cut weight down to a minimum. The Prancing Horse also reconfigured the gear ratios, delivering torque at a lower RPM when compared with the road-spec 458 Italia.

Ferrari didn't release hard numbers like the final weight or performance just yet, but did indicate that the 458 Challenge will get upgraded handling, thanks to a new suspension system with adjustable dampers and stiffer springs all around. Other mods include Brembo carbon ceramic brakes; 19-inch, center-lug wheels; Pirelli R-compound tires; and a lowered ride height.

Unlike past Challenge editions, the 458 Challenge keeps the traction control system, albeit a modified, F1-based version with three steering-controlled settings, including a full-off option. The car also gets the E-Diff electronic gear differential.

With all those modifications, the 458 Challenge was able to knock 8.5 seconds off of the 458 Italia's lap around the company's Fiorano test track.

There's no word on production numbers, availability, or pricing just yet, outside of the obvious 'north of the $230,000 sticker of the 458 Italia.' If I had Ferrari track car cash, I think I'd be going for the 599 XX anyway.

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