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Ferrari 458 Challenge, Up Close and Personal


It was just set to be a regular trip to the nearest Ferrari dealership to talk with some of the staff and browse some of the more interesting models that had made there way into the mitts of the prancing horse. A friend and myself got talking whilst at the pub and the Ferrari FF became the topic of conversation. After debating its merits for a while, we discovered that neither of us had actually had a good look around one. It was a Thursday and I had no work to do and so that is how we found ourselves surrounded by predominantly red supercars.

Oh the FF was very interesting, but that entertained our company for less than 5 minutes. What had caught our eye was a Ferrari 458 Challenge. Now the Ferrari 458 Italia is one of the most capable cars we have ever tested, but this Challenge, well it’s what Ferrari do best. The road car division of Ferrari, back when old man Enzo was still alive, had a the soul purpose of funding the racing program. Enzo Ferrari was notorious for not giving a damn about what customers thought as long as they kept paying for cars. The 458 Challenge is a pure race car with the same Ferrari ideals as its predecessors. Win and do no less…

Sitting no more than two inches from the ground, this purebred racer impresses the moment it catches your eyes. Firstly it is an astonishing looking machine an aggressive yet purely functional stance. It is possible to begin at the front of the car and literally trace the airflow from the moment it hits the car to the second it is ejected from the vents at the rear. Though the 4.5 litre V8 hasn’t been altered and still produces 563BHP, the car works vast amounts of carbon fibre into its construction. Weight saving in racing goes to the extreme, every gram that can go is gone. The cockpit is dominated by a rather raw steering wheel and a set of racing seats. The only luxury you will find in here is a fire extinguisher. The glass is now plastic and even the hinges for the bonnet have been replaced with simple pins. Pirelli racing tyres straddle the ultra light BBS rims that encompasses huge carbon breaks. All of this adds up to a car capable of lapping the Ferrari test track over 2 seconds quicker than the model it replaces.

All of a sudden with the Challenge in the showroom its road going stable mates seem somewhat inadequate. They also seek the pinnacle of performance but are bound by laws.  The only laws the 458 Challenge is bound by are those that are laid out by physics.