Now that a GT version of the Ferrari 458 Italia is expected to take the reigns from the Ferrari 430 GT in the upcoming ALMS season, a lot of people in the automotive and racing industry have been waiting for quite some time to see a glimpse of the GT-spec 458 Italia in action. Jon Sibal even gave us a very detailed rendering of what he thought the 458 GT would look like when Ferrari finally lifts the covers off of the race car.
But after months of waiting, we can finally let out a little exhale as a prototype version of the 458 GT was spotted recently doing some test runs inside Ferrari’s Fiorano race track in Maranello, Italy.
Not that we care about the timeline of development for the 458 GT. As far as we’re concerned, we’re just happy to see visual proof of the car – prototype or not – playing in its natural habitat: the race track.
Updated 12/14/2010: Someone who goes by the name ILikeFastCars1 - yeah, us too - has just added a new video showing the 458 Italia GT2 testing around the Fiorano test track. Hit the jump to check it out!
Updated 01/26/2011: TeamSpeed has posted some new images of the GT racer version of the 458 Italia, which has yet to make its public debut. Oops! Check out the gallery to see them all!
Details after the jump.
Exterior and Interior
As far as initial reactions go, we couldn’t help but notice just how bad-ass the 458 GT prototype looks, especially those angry yellow endurance-racing headlights that seem to look meaner and more and more menacing every time we look at them. Other pertinent features of the prototype that caught our attention are the flared fenders, as well as the vented hood that looks to be – at least from this angle – a little more rounded than the standard version. We also noticed that the car’s front splitter is still noticeably absent, proving that this prototype could very well still be in its early ages. Lastly, there’s also three-piece racing wheels on the prototype 458 GT2. Can’t forget about that.
As per ACO regulations, the 458 Italia GT2 will only be limited to 470 horsepower, which is about 100 less than the road-going 458 Italia and about 30 horsepower down on its predecessor, the F430 GT2. The 458 Italia GT2 also has a six-speed paddle-shift transmission.
Last we checked, the racing prototype still doesn’t have a price tag.
With regulations putting a cap on how a car’s performance does, the FIA GT Championship usually puts a premium on the driver’s skill more than anything else. Having said that, the new 458 Italia GT2 still has its fair share of adversaries in the racing series, including the Aston Martin DBR9, the Corvette C6, and the Maserati MC12.
The Ferrari 458 Italia, despite its propensity to burst into flame, is one of our favorite cars of all time for a multitude of reasons. The new GT2 racing variant spotted just builds on what makes the production car great.