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  Ferrari F355 Challenge

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Country of origin:Italy
Produced from:1995 - 1998
Numbers built:109
Designed by:Pininfarina
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:November 08, 2004
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Click here to download printer friendly versionBy refining every aspect of the design Ferrari turned the excellent 348 into the superb F355. Both in performance and quality, the F355 was the first Ferrari of a new generation. Initially launched as a fixed head Berlinetta in 1994, the F355 line-up eventually consisted of the Berlinetta, a Targa model and a full Spyder. With well over 11000 examples produced when it was replaced in 1999/2000, the F355 is one of the most popular Ferraris ever and set new performance benchmarks in its class, which were a hard act to follow by its competition.

Although it was stroked by just 2 mm, the V8 engine in the F355 was quite a departure from the 348's. Incorporated in the two cylinder heads was some state of the art technology that boosted the power by 80 bhp to 380 bhp. Like Ferrari's contemporary F1 racers, the head was equipped with five valves per cylinder; three intake and two exhaust. These valves are operated by two overhead camshafts, which allow for variable valve timing, greatly improving the engine's performance. In 1998 further F1 technology was introduced in the shape of a paddle operated sequential gearbox in the aptly named 'F1' models.

Pininfarina smoothed out the 348's design and removed the horizontal louvres on the side intakes. Under the steel/aluminium body, the chassis and suspension were updated, greatly improving the handling, an area where the 348 was not known to excel. The suspension was driver adjustable, with two damper settings available for normal and sporty driving. Five spoke alloy wheels hid the large ventilated Brembo discs, which made sure the F355 stopped as fast as it went.

In 1995 a special 'Challenge' model was offered, especially designed to race in a one make series. Underlining the F355's performance straight out of the box was the fact that Ferrari just fitted safety equipment like a roll cage and a wing to turn the road car into a racer. Over a hundred examples were produced and raced by Ferrari's customers in Europe and North America.

Pictured are various Challenge models on the Belgian Spa Francorchamps track on the occasion of the 2004 Spa Ferrari/Maserati Days. The featured cars took part in the UK Ferrari Challenge race.

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  Article Image gallery (13) Specifications User Comments (1)