Ferrari 458 Challenge and GT3 racers debut at Monza [w/video]

Filed under: Motorsports, Coupe, Europe, Videos, Ferrari, Racing

Ferrari 458 Italia GT3

Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 – Click above for high-res image gallery

There’s no shortage of race tracks in Italy and around the world that are commonly associated with Ferrari. The factory has its own Fiorano circuit on premises, and the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari in Imola – former host of the San Marino Grand Prix – is just fifty miles away. But the spiritual home of the Tifosi, Ferrari’s legions of fans, is at Monza. A fitting location, then, to launch the latest Ferrari sports racers.

This past weekend, Monza hosted a number of production-based races including the first rounds of both the European and Italian leagues of the Ferrari Challenge series. After launching the new 458 Challenge spec racer at the Bologna Motor Show several months ago, this was the first time the car was actually being raced. And what would you know, it actually won its first outing! (Okay, it is a spec racing series, but the new 458 Italia racers did beat out the older F430 models that are still being used by some teams.)

The Challenge, however, wasn’t the only version of the 458 that made its debut this past weekend at Monza. So did the 458 Italia GT3, which slots in between the GT2-spec 458 GTC and the aforementioned Challenge racer. The GT3 car was prepared by Michelotto Automobili – the same factory-endorsed racing garage responsible for countless racing Ferraris as well as the development of the 288 GTO and F40 – and campaigned by AF Corse in two races of the GT Sprint International Series that supports the Superstars touring car series, where it finished second and third overall on its race debuts – second only to the F430 GTC it replaces.

Want to see what it’s like to lap Monza in a 458 racer? To coincide with the launch of the new machinery, Ferrari has released on-board video footage of the 458 Challenge with Stefano Gai, the defending champion who dominated this weekend’s national series race from start to finish. Follow the jump to watch and check out the pair of press releases.

Gallery: Ferrari 458 Challenge

[Source: Ferrari]

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Ferrari 458 Challenge and GT3 racers debut at Monza [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 13 Apr 2011 14:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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