Ahead of the 2011 season of the Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli, Ferrari has shown off the even more intense, track-ready version of its 458 Italia: the 458 Challenge.
Like the F430 Challenge that preceded it, the 458 Challenge retains the 458 Italia's screaming 4.5-liter mid-mounted V-8 (tuned to 570 horsepower), paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, but chassis modifications and a lighter body allow it more raw performance. Changes to the gear ratios facilitate greater low-rpm torque.
Ferrari is also including its E-Diff and F1-Trac systems for the first time on a Challenge racing edition. We've seen these technologies before during our drive of the roadgoing 458 Italia, and with a flick of the manettino switch on the steering wheel, drivers have the option to engage stability assistance.
Lightweight carbon-fiber and Lexan body panels help account for weight savings. Combined with a lower ride height, 19-inch racing wheels and Pirelli racing slicks, the 458 Challenge generates 1.6 g of lateral grip, according to Ferrari. Brembo brakes, previewed on the 599XX prototype, work with ABS calibrated for either wet or dry surfaces.
The 458 Challenge was announced at the Ferrari annual dealer meeting, and will race with the F430 this year in the F430 Challenge series. Suffice it to say we can't wait to hear its sonorous engine note.