Ferrari launches hardcore 458 Challenge

Ferrari has officially launched the racing version of its already-awesome 458 Italia at the Bologna motor show today.

The 458 Challenge will feature in a one-make race series from next year and features upgrades for a life on the track.

Despite using the same 562bhp 4.5-litre V8 engine as the road car, the Challenge is said to lap Ferrari's Fiorano test circuit two seconds quicker than standard model.

That difference can largely be attributed to the crash diet on which the manufacturer has placed the 458. It's still not known exactly how much Ferrari has stripped from the car's 1,485kg kerbweight, but with carbon fibre parts and thinner body panels used throughout it's likely to be a significant figure.

Added to that the race machine has been fitted with all the normal track confectionary, including stiffer springs, wider tyres, upgraded brakes, a recalibrated gearbox and retuned version of Ferrari's F1-Trac traction control system.

Following its debut in Bologna the new 458 will begin competing in the Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli in 2011.
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