Ferrari Challenge set with multi-million dollar supercar show
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Motorsport is at the heart of Ferrari’s DNA and has been since day naught. Founder Enzo Ferrari, a successful racer and team manager, was building race cars bearing the prancing horse logo for seven years before any road car left the company’s Maranello factory.
In 2018 motorsport is still at the core of Ferrari’s business, epitomised most by the Ferrari Challenge Asia Pacific Series set to debut in New Zealand next month.
Split into three championships — Europe, America and Asia — the Ferrari Challenge is formed around the “arrive and drive” concept offering “gentlemen drivers” the chance to travel to some of the world’s best circuits and compete in Ferrari’s dedicated one-make race series.
A field of over 30 cars with drivers from 15 different nations, including two Kiwis, is expected to see the green flag when racing gets under way at Hampton Downs over the four-day race weekend from April 12 to 15.
A team of more than 100 people from Ferrari will also come here to prepare the cars and entertain guests throughout the weekend.
Though the Ferrari Challenge Asia series is restricted to amateur drivers, there’s nothing amateur about the cars they’ll pilot around the full 3.8km international circuit at Hampton Downs.
The result of over 25 years of evolution, the 488 Challenge is the seventh race car Ferrari has developed specifically for the one-make race series since its inception in Europe 26 years ago.
Based on Ferrari’s 488 GTE world endurance car — which has won five of the last six WEC championships — the 488 Challenge features specific engine mapping and F1-derived aerodynamics calibrated to make the cars easier and cheaper to drive than the company’s factory GTE racer.
Ferrari says the key change between GTE and Challenge 488 racers is the “Manettino” — a pair of steering-wheel mounted dials that control electronics for the suspension, power and torque delivery.
But with the challenge car, Ferrari hasn’t skimped on power. The 488s competing at Hampton Downs have more power, torque and less weight than the older, naturally aspirated 458 Challenge race car.
The 488 now uses a 3.9-litre, twin-turbocharged V8 producing 500kW and 760Nm, a 17 and 41 per cent increase over the 458. Ferrari says the net result is a car that’s 1 sec faster around its Fiorana test track, and 2.5 sec quicker around the longer Sepang F1 circuit in Malaysia.
While the cars promise to deliver close racing on track, the weekend will celebrate all things Ferrari. More than 100 Ferrari road cars are expected on Sunday to take part in an on track parade, while fans will be in with a shot of winning one of 10 Ferrari Challenge hot laps, picked from the crowd at random.
Ferrari will also reveal its long-awaited Portofino GT for the first time in NZ, along with pop up merchandise stores and a multi-million dollar Ferrari supercar exhibition.
Find Ferrari Challenge tickets at: auckland.ferraridealers.com