Other Ferrari and race cars at The Madison Zamperini Collection:
The Challenge Stradale lines up alongside
the 360 Modena and 360 Spider with the precise aim of providing drivers the
performances that only a true racing car can provide.
The experiences coming from the Ferrari Challenge International Championships and the FIA GT races, have allowed Ferrari technicians to develop solutions that make the Challenge Stradale really unique.
This strong link to racing is underlined not only by a significant weight reduction, but also by its engine set up, aerodynamics, braking system and F1 style gearbox.
The 458 Challenge was presented at the Ferrari Annual Dealer Meeting on 14 July 2010. Ferrari says their newest Ferrari Challenge racer can lap the Fiorano test track in 1:16.5, which is two seconds faster than its F430 Challenge predecessor and only 0.2 seconds slower than the Ferrari FXX. Weight was reduced from the standard model through the use of thinner body panels, carbon fiber replacement panels, and polycarbonate windows and windshield. The differences over the regular road legal 458 include a racing cockpit, windows which only open through small slots. Air-jack mounting on the rear to lift the car up, racing fuel filler cap and racing rims, as well as hooks on the front and rear to drag the car out of the sand traps.
In Ferrari's first official announcement of the car, the 458 Italia was described as the successor to the F430 but arising from an entirely new design, incorporating technologies developed from the company's experience in Formula 1.
The body computer system was developed by Magneti Marelli Automotive Lighting.
The 458 Italia is powered by a 4.5 L (270 cu in) V8 engine derived from a shared Ferrari/Maserati design, producing 570 PS (419 kW; 562 hp) at 9,000 rpm (redline) and 540 N·m (398 lb·ft) at 6,000 rpm with 80% torque available at 3,250 rpm. The engine features direct fuel injection, which is a first for Ferrari mid-engine setups in its road cars.
At 127PS/L the 458 held the title of highest specific output naturally-aspirated petrol engine ever in a production road car. The 458 Speciale raised this record to 134PS/L.
The only transmission available on the 458 is a dual-clutch 7-speed GETRAG gearbox, in a different state of tune shared with the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG. There is no traditional manual option, making this the fourth road-car after the Enzo, Challenge Stradale and 430 Scuderia not to be offered with Ferrari's classic gated manual. It is the first mainstream model to not be offered with a manual transmission.
The car's suspension features double wishbones at the front and a multi-link set-up at the rear, coupled with E-Diff and F1-Trac traction control systems, designed to improve the car's cornering and longitudinal acceleration by 32% when compared with its predecessors.
The brakes include a prefill function whereby the pistons in the calipers move the pads into contact with the discs on lift off to minimize delay in the brakes being applied. This combined with the ABS and standard Carbon Ceramic brakes have caused a reduction in stopping distance from 100–0 km/h (62-0 mph) to 32.5 metres (107 ft). Tests have shown the car will stop from 100 kmph(62.1 mph) in 90 feet (85 with run flat tires), 85 feet from 60 mph(97 kmph) and 80 feet from 60 mph(97 kmph) with fun flat tires.
The adaptive magnetorheological dampers are co-developed with BWI Group.
Ferrari's official 0-100 km/h (62 mph) acceleration is 3.3 seconds, while top speed is 325 km/h (202 mph). It has fuel consumption in combined cycle (ECE+EUDC) of 13.3 L/100 km (21.2 mpg-imp; 17.7 mpg-US) while producing 307g/km of CO2.
The body was designed by Pininfarina, as with all recent Ferrari models. The car’s exterior styling and features were designed for aerodynamic efficiency, producing a downforce of 140 kg (309 lb) at 124 miles per hour (200 km/h). In particular, the front grille features deformable winglets that lower at high speeds, in order to offer reduced drag and increased downforce. The car's interior was designed using input from former Ferrari Formula 1 driver Michael Schumacher, including a new steering wheel design which incorporates many features and controls as opposed to their being on the dashboard, similar to racing car designs.
According to British car magazine Autocar, the 458 Italia's design has drawn inspiration from the Enzo Ferrari and its Millechili concept car. It has been designed to be Ferrari's sportiest V8-engined car, to distinguish itself from the recently launched Ferrari California.
The 458 was also reviewed on 15th season of Top Gear, where it received acclaim for its styling and performance. In a drag race against a Ferrari F430, it won by a considerable margin. The car also lapped the Top Gear test track in 1:19.1, just 0.1 seconds slower than the Ferrari Enzo.
Challenge Stradale was developed to flank the 360 Modena and 360 Spider with the
clear aim of providing drivers with the kind of performance that only a
race-ready car designed for road use could deliver. The marque engineers’
experience in the international Ferrari Trofeo Pirelli Challenge and GT
competitions meant that they were able to develop a plethora of solutions that
made the Challenge Stradale truly unique. This close link to the track was clear
not only in the drastic reduction in the car’s weight but also in major
modifications to its engine, aerodynamics, set-up, brakes and F1 gearbox. Weight
reduction work ensured that the Challenge Stradale was 110 kg lighter than the
360 Modena. This fact, combined with its V8’s higher maximum power output,
boosted its performance still further.
The Challenge Stradale was, in fact, directly derived from the 360 Modena. That said, the technicians had removed anything that wasn’t strictly functional to performance or safety, resulting in a brilliantly light and fast berlinetta with a very definite racing set-up. To achieve that drastic weight reduction, the technicians worked on three overlapping areas: materials, construction technologies and overall optimisation of the design. The main material used in the Challenge Stradale’s construction was aluminium, which has a specific weight a third of that of steel. It was used for details of both chassis and bodywork. Other new materials were also introduced: titanium, already employed for the con rods, went into the suspension, while carbon-fibre, a direct transfer from F1, was used for structural elements and the exterior and interior trim.
The Challenge Stradale pushed the aerodynamic concepts employed on the 360 Modena a step further and it featured a stiffer, lower racing set-up as well as availing of specific solutions that increased downforce by 50% compared to the 360 Modena. Every last detail of the car’s aerodynamics was honed, right down to the carbon-fibre rear view mirrors which derived from the 360 GT and the 19” Challenge wheels.
The Challenge Stradale’s cabin was spare and simple with every single detail given the racing treatment. The instrument cluster, including the central rev counter, was enclosed in a carbon-fibre surround which also encompassed secondary instrumentation and other dials. The new steering wheel sported specific F1 gearshifting paddles – the right hand paddle was actually longer to make upward shifting easier coming out of bends.
The Challenge Stradale had an electro-hydraulic F1-type gearbox. Both clutch and shifting were controlled via paddles on the steering column. A new control logic cut shifting times in every phase of use too. There was a special button on the tunnel for reverse too. There were two different configurations (Sport and Race) with corresponding damper and traction control (ASR) settings. In Race mode and with ASR disabled, drivers also had the Formula 1-derived Launch Control function too. The braking system featured CCM (Carbon Composite Material) discs, the fruit of Ferrari’s ongoing partnership with Brembo. The system, which included aluminium brake, delivered excellent braking and astonishing stopping distances. The Challenge Stradale’s set-up and suspension were greatly modified too: its front and rear titanium springs stiffened and a wider-diameter roll-bar was introduced. The damper calibration was also specific too it and the centre of gravity was lowered by 15 mm.
The Challenge Stradale had a 90° V8 mid engine mounted longitudinally behind the cabin and in unit with the gearbox and differential. Its maximum power was boosted to 425 hp at 8.500 rpm, delivering an excellent specific power of 118,5 CV/litro thanks in part to a slight supercharging at maximum speed (+2% increase in power). The Challenge Stradale retained had the same already high peak torque of 38 kgm at 4750 rpm as the 360 Modena.