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  Ferrari 360 Challenge

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Country of origin:Italy
Produced from:1999 - 2004
Designed by:Pininfarina
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:Before December 1st, 2004
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Click here to download printer friendly versionTraditionally Ferrari roadcars were raced very successfully in GT-races, but as racing became more professional, road cars were no longer competititve in the GT-class. After Ferrari's withdrawal from GT-racing in the late 1960s, only very few privateers entered their extensively modified Ferraris. Customers, however, were still very interested in taking their cars to the track and in the 1970s a one-make race series was started in Italy.

In the following years the Ferrari Challenge spread all over Europe and North America. Cars competing were mildly modified version of contemporary models like the 308, 512 BB and Testarossa. In 1993 Ferrari launched a special version of the 348, constructed to race in a one-model series. When the 348 production ceased, a Challenge version of its replacement, the F355, was launched. With the launch of the 360 Modena in 1999, the introduction of the 360 Challenge could not be far away.

Ready for the 2000 season, the 360 Challenge only differs on details from the road going Modena. Externally the 'Challenge-grill', the large 18 inch BBS alloys and the slightly lower ride height give the Challenge away. The engine was left stock and was supplied to the teams sealed, to make sure they were not tampered with. Mated to the 400 bhp engine is the 'F1-gearbox', which allows for lightning quick (150 milliseconds) gear changes. Unlike the roadcar's gearbox, the Challenge one is fitted with its own oil-cooler to reduce operating temperatures. The important connection between the gearbox and engine, the clutch, is a racing synterised one.

Not only is the suspension lowered by an inch, but it is also modified to handle the added stress of driving on the track. Modifications to the road car's suspension include replacing the electronic damping system with racing Boge shock absorbers, fitting racing springs and aluminium suspension bushes, lowering the ride height by just over an inch and fitting a stiffer, 22 mm rear anti-roll bar. Further modifications on the car were focussed on reduction of weight and increasing driver safety. Stripped from all luxury and trim the Challenge is 264 lbs lighter than the Modena.

The Ferrari Challenge is more popular than ever, with three championships, in Italy, Europe and North America. The great success of the 360 Challenge inspired Ferrari to launch a special lightweight version of the 360 for road use; the 360 Challenge Stradale. The Challenges featured are seen on the 2002 Zandvoort, Dijon, Nurburging and 2003 Spa Franchorchamps rounds of the championship.

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  Article Image gallery (21) Specifications User Comments (1)