The Ferrari 458 Challenge debuts at the 2010 Bologna Motor Show

The Ferrari 458 Italia has become a popular installation in the lineup of the Italian automaker and helping to secure its place in high performance Ferrari history, the company has unveiled the 458 Challenge at the 2010 Bologna Motor Show.

Bologna is about 32 miles from Ferrari’s home in Maranello, Italy so it is fitting that Ferrari has chosen the 2010 Bologna show to debut their newest race-only incarnation of a popular production model. The 570 horsepower 4.5L V8 from the standard production 458 Italia has been retained for the race version but helping to make more torque at a lower point in the massive RPM range, the dual-clutch transmission and transmission gearing have been fine tuned for track use.

The Ferrari 458 Challenge features a unique suspension setup with stiffer springs and single-rate shocks that effectively lower the car a full 2 inches, along with improving the road-handling ability enough to yield an impressive 1.6g and beat the production 458 Italia around Ferrari’s test track by a full two seconds. Along with the suspension improvements, Ferrari has added Brembo CCM2 brakes coupled to the ABS system featured on the 599XX, 19” forged lightweight wheels with a race-style center nut and the best racing slicks Pirelli has to offer.

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The real secret to the Ferrari 458 Challenge was in the reduction of weight. Ferrari removed all of the unnecessary items expected of a production car, then turning their attention to the body panels and windows. Lexan polycarbonate has been used for the windows and thinner body panels have been used to cut the weight of this purpose built track terror.

The Ferrari 458 Challenge will make its debut next year in the single model racing series with stops planned in Europe, North American and Asia.