The 458 Italia Challenge is a mid-rear V8 berlinetta derived from the 458 Italia and represents the fifth model used by Ferrari in its single-series racing program. The model will be the protagonist in the 2011 Ferrari Challenge, where the new 458 Challenge will share the track with its predecessor, the F430 Challenge. In 2011, each race will see two class winners, one 458 and one F430. Once engines start, Ferrari 458 Challenge drivers will test the very limits of their mettle thanks to advanced technologies Ferrari's racing arm has refined at circuits throughout the world.
With the new 458 Challenge, Ferrari combines extreme performance, superb fun behind the wheel with unique driving emotions for its sporting, professional and gentleman-driver clients.
To reduce weight from the already light 458 Italia, engineers used thinner body panels and carbon fiber as well as Lexan wherever possible in this track-only model. Equipped with lightweight body panels and specially tuned suspension, the 458 Italia Challenge is the first Challenge racer to use the F1-Trac traction control system and it is Ferrari's first racing application of the dual-clutch seven-speed transmission. The F1-Trac system allows to constantly monitoring levels of grip for maximum high-performance road-holding and it is fully integrated with the E-Diff to guarantee maximum acceleration and stability into and out of corners. The ABS/EBD, F1-Trac and E-Diff calibration settings are selected thru the manettino placed in the steering wheel. It is the first time this solution has been adopted on a Ferrari Challenge series model. The driver can choose from three configurations: OFF (traction control deactivated), position 1 and position 2, which have progressively higher levels of control system intervention.
For the first time in a Ferrari's track-only model, the 458 Challenge is also equipped with the E-Diff electronic differential, which is already employed on the road-car version.
Direct-injected 4,497 cc V8 remains the same (558 hp at 9,000 rpm), but the seven-speed gearbox dual-clutch uses different ratios and a new calibration in order to optimize track performance. The interior is reduced to the essentials in the 458 Italia Challenge. Ferrari engineered the 458 Challenge to expose drivers to even higher performance limits and the proof is in the car performance. The 458 Challenge lapped the Fiorano race track in 1:16.5 during testing, which just two-tenths of a second behind the FXX and two seconds faster than its predecessor and track-mate, the F430 Challenge.
The new 458 Challenge is equipped with the last generation of Brembo CCM2 brakes integrated with the newest ABS system, which first debuted in the Ferrari 599 XX. The specific suspension set-up includes steel uniball joints, stiffer springs, single-rate alloy dampers, center-nut 19" forged rims, larger dimension Pirelli slicks and a ride height lowered by 50mm all round.