Maranello has released images of the 458 Challenge, its racing version of the 458 Italia outfitted for the Italian automaker's one-marque championship. In addition to unveiling the car, announced that it is expanding the Challenge, which is contested in Europe and North America to include a new Asia-Pacific series. It is the 5th car in the company's series of purpose-built machines for the challenge, which began with the F348.
While the engine remains in production tune, producing 570 bhp from its 4.5-liter V-8, the car has been lightened by using thinner body panels and extensive use of Lexan in place of glass and carbon fiber instead of aluminum. The factory has also equipped the 458 Challenge with new gear ratios and calibration for its dual-clutch F1 gear box and modified the suspension to include solid aluminum bushings, stiffer springs, single-rate shocks, 19-inch wheels with a single center lug nut and a lower ride height. Larger Brembo carbon-ceramic brakes similar to those used on the 599XX are also part of the package. The 458 Challenge also marks the first time that Ferrari has fitted one of these competition cars with an electronic rear differential and the company's F1-Trac stability control system. Using the steering wheel-mounted manettino switches, the driver can select between wet or dry settings or turn the system completely off. As a result of the modifications, Ferrari says the car is capable of pulling 1.6 lateral g's and knocked two seconds off the Challenge time at the test track, lapping in 1min.16.5 sec.