With respect to the 458 Italia, the 458 Challenge’s 4,400 cc GDI V8, which punches out 570 CV at 9,000 rpm, remains strictly in production tune. However, modifications have been made to the gear ratios and calibration of the F1 dual clutch gearbox to guarantee better torque delivery at lower revs. This is also the first time that the E-Diff, used aboard the road-going car, has been employed on a track-dedicated model.
Significant progress was also made with regard to weight reduction, both inside and out: the Prancing Horse technicians lavished particular attention on the thickness of the body panels and high tech materials, making widespread use of both lightweight carbon-fibre and Lexan. The tuning work also saw the 458 Challenge get a specific suspension set-up with steel uniball joints, single-rate alloy dampers and 19” centre-nut forged rims. It also sports larger dimension Pirelli slicks and has a 50 mm lower ride height.
The new generation CCM2 brakes are supplied by Brembo and integrated with the evolved ABS system which debuted on the 599XX laboratory car. Another premiere on a Ferrari track-only car is the F1-Trac, the world’s most sophisticated traction control system. Developed in-house by the Prancing Horse, it continually monitors grip levels for maximum high-performance road-holding. Two specific track-biased calibrations have been developed with control strategies and logics derived from Ferrari’s extensive F1 and GT racing experience. Both are fully integrated with the E-Diff to boost performance to the maximum both into and out of corners.
The ABS/EBD, E-Diff and F1-Trac settings are all now controlled from the steering wheel-mounted manettino, the first time this solution has been used on a Ferrari Challenge model. The driver has a choice of three configurations: OFF position (traction control deactivated) or Position 1 and Position 2 which offer progressively greater levels of intervention and can be selected to suit track grip conditions. The 458 Challenge also generates an extraordinary 1.6 G of lateral grip, a fundamental factor in high performance driving.