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First look: Ferrari challenges its rivals

Ready to race: The limited-build F430 Challenge is designed for the track. Helmet and gloves are not included.

Prancing Horse brand builds an even hotter F430 for Frankfurt

21 Sep 2005

FRANKFURT 2005 wasn’t just the domain of fuel-sipping hybrids: a number of important new super-cars also made their world debut at the world’s largest motor show this year, led by Ferrari’s F430 Challenge.

Built for those whose buttons aren’t sufficiently pushed by the standard road-going F430, the racing version features the same 365kW V8 but is lighter and features significant chassis updates.

Developed at tracks like Fiorano, the F430 Challenge will join the Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli in 2006 and completely replaces its 360 Challenge forebear in 2007.

It employs, for the first time, F1-derived carbon-ceramic brake rotors and a modified version of the F430 road car’s electronic sequential transmission with a shorter final drive ratio.

A mechanical differential replaces the road car’s E-Diff system, there are new centre-locking wheels with new 19-inch Pirelli slicks, pneumatic jacks are added and the reduced (1225kg) kerb weight comes courtesy of lighter bodywork, Lexan windscreen, carbon-fibre intake plenum and specific exhaust system.

The Challenge’s springs, shocks and anti-roll bars have been tuned for track use, its traction and stability control systems are permanently disengaged and a quick-release steering wheel is fitted (and gains radio buttons). Cosmetic changes are restricted to a larger grille and higher central exhaust outlets.

34 center imageWell-heeled Australians have already ordered two examples of the limited-build F430 Challenge, despite the fact pricing has not been released.

Also on the Ferrari stand at Frankfurt was a 2006 model year F612 Scaglietti. First unveiled at Detroit last year, Ferrari’s updated 2+2 GT flagship now features colour-coded leather headlining and side panels, rear parking sensors and a new radio/CD system with satellite-navigation, voice recognition, MP3 player, Bluetooth and a Compact Flash memory card reader. Australia’s first 612 Scagliettis (all 2006 versions) will arrive here in December.

Also on display at Frankfurt was the Ferrari Superamerica, six of which will come Down Under – and all of them accounted for.

Finally, over at Maserati, which became a separate entity from Ferrari for the first time this year, was the surprise debut of the Grand Sport Spider, a limited number of which will be available here from mid-2006.

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