Mike Stevens | Dec 3, 2010

The track-only version of Ferrari's new 458 Italia, dubbed the 458 Italia Challenge, has made its world debut at the Bologna Motor Show this week.

The 458 Challenge continues Ferrari's long history of developing special race-ready variants of its road-eating supercars. In 2011, the 458 Challenge will hit the track in the Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli, running up against teams fielding the car's F430 predecessor.

Power for the 458 Challenge is drawn from the same unmodified 425kW/540Nm 5.5 litre V8 featured in its roadgoing cousin, but thinner Lexan and carbon-fibre panels make the Challenge a little lighter on its feet than the regular model - although specific numbers have not been revealed.

Helping it endure the rigours of racing, the 458 Challenge benefits from modified gear ratios and calibration, delivering higher torque at lower revs.

While the regular 458 makes its way to 100km/h in just 3.4 seconds, Ferrari has not revealed any acceleration times for its track-only beast.

Offering a hint at its potential however, Ferrari's engineers established a 1'16.5" Fiorano laptime - some two seconds faster than the 458 Challenge's predecessor.

Suspension is managed by solid aluminium bushings, stiffer springs and single-rate dampers. There are also centre-nut 19-inch racing wheels, wider Pirelli slicks and a 30mm lower ride height.

The 458 Challenge will be made available to professional racing teams and track-loving private buyers, although prices - and more images - have yet to be revealed.

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