ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J., April 27, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The 2011 North American Ferrari Challenge Series begins its 2011 season, April 29-May 1, at Infineon Raceway, located in the heart of the famed Sonoma Wine Country. This highly-anticipated race also marks the North American debut of the new Ferrari 458 Challenge, the fifth and latest generation of Challenge cars.
Adding to the excitement at Infineon Raceway, the Corse Clienti Department's 599XX, FXX and F1 Clienti programs will also participate on the track. Further, the Ferrari F430 Challenge will compete alongside its successor, the new Ferrari 458 Challenge.
The 458 Challenge is based on the spectacular Ferrari 458 Italia, and introduces a number of important modifications to adapt it for competition use. While the direct injection 4497 cc V8 remains strictly in production tune, modifications have been made to the gear ratios and calibration of its dual-clutch F1 gearbox to guarantee higher torque at lower revs. Significant work has also gone into cutting the car's weight, focusing on both the interior and exterior with Ferrari's engineers concentrating in particular on reducing the thickness of bodyshell panels and on using lightweight materials such as carbon-fiber and Lexan.
The 458 Challenge also has a specific suspension set-up, and rides on 19-inch racing rims on Pirelli racing slicks and a ride height lowered by 30mm all around. Together with the new generation Brembo CCM2 brakes which debuted on the 599XX, a new ABS system, and the adoption of the F1-Trac traction control system (the first in a Ferrari Challenge model), Ferrari's engineers have managed to improve the 458 Challenge's lap time at Fiorano (1'16.5") by two seconds over that of its predecessor, the F430 Challenge. Equally impressive is the lateral grip of the 458 Challenge – up to 1.6G.
Regarded as the longest-running of its type in North America, the Ferrari Challenge Series is now beginning its 18th season and offers Ferrari owners the opportunity to compete against each other at world-class venues throughout the U.S. and Canada. Following this first race at Infineon Raceway, the 2011 Ferrari Challenge will continue to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, CA, May 20-22; Montreal, Canada, (during the Canadian F1 Gran Prix), June 10-12; Toronto, Canada, July 8-10; Lime Rock Park, CT, July 29-30; concluding at Homestead Miami Speedway, FL, September 23-25.
The Ferrari Challenge Series is organized by Ferrari North America, Inc., and sanctioned by the Grand American Road Racing Association. Complete Challenge information can be found on www.ferrarichallenge.com.
Ferrari North America, Inc. is headquartered in Englewood Cliffs, N.J., and is the exclusive North, Central and South American importer of Ferrari vehicles including the 599 GTB Fiorano, 458 Italia, California Gran Tourer, and the newly unveiled four-seater, four-wheel drive V12 Ferrari FF. For more information please visit www.ferrariusa.com.
Spectators are welcome to attend the race, and enjoy paddock areas and overall Ferrari-festival atmosphere. Tickets are now available through Ticketmaster (www.ticketmaster.com) or by calling 800-870-RACE (7223).
SOURCE Ferrari North America, Inc.