What Is It?
2006 Ferrari F430 Challenge

What’s Special About It?
Ah, how sweet to be at the Frankfurt auto show where a Ferrari press conference can outdraw a General Motors press conference by a factor of three. Every member of the European press corps and a massive contingent of Ferraristi overflowed into the corridors of Frankfurt’s Hall #5 to witness Ferrari’s introduction of the F430 Challenge.

The Challenge is essentially a standard Ferrari F430 coupe that’s been retooled a bit in order to take part in the Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli race series, beginning with the 2006 season.

Oddly, the production F430’s 490-horsepower V8 remains untouched in the creation of the Challenge version. Further downstream, however, the car’s six-speed F1-style electronic gearbox gets shorter 5th and 6th gears - as well as a revised final drive - in order to make the F430 Challenge a more track-oriented performer. And the production car’s antiroll bars, springs and shocks have been retoughened for racing.

Two other changes of major significance are also part of the transformation: Carbon-ceramic brake pads to maximize cooling and efficiency, and a gutted, rollcaged interior with competition requisites, including a removable steering wheel and controls for the radio and pit-lane speed, plus a kill switch.

Other changes versus the production F430: The Challenge’s 19-inch wheels wear special Pirelli-designed slicks. A Lexan windshield makes a significant contribution in weight reduction. And the car’s traction and stability enhancements have been disabled to ensure that the driver’s talent is the only thing keeping the Challenge in the competition.

No price for the Ferrari F430 Challenge has yet been announced.

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