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Are you up to the Challenge of Ferrari's latest car?

Relaxnews (AFP) logoRelaxnews (AFP) 7/12/2016
An initial design sketch for the Mercedes-AMG GT4 © Provided by AFPRelaxNews An initial design sketch for the Mercedes-AMG GT4

Since launching in 1992 as a way of letting Ferrari's biggest clients take their driving skills to the next level with dedicated track cars and pit crews, Challenge has grown into a serious, global race series. And, with the unveiling of the latest client competition car, the Ferrari 488 Challenge, the company is taking everything to another level.

In fact, in the 25 years since the Challenge program launched, the only thing that has remained constant is that the cars being raced are all Ferraris and that the latest track-only model is derived directly from the latest street legal V8 supercar.

The 488 Challenge looks like the standard 488 GTB even with the huge rear spoiler. Ferrari says that keeping the car aesthetically similar while endowing it with sufficient strength and downforce for serious competition was tough. Its race engineers needed to work with the Ferrari Styling Centre (the division that usually handles one-off bespoke commissions) to preserve the car's good looks without compromising performance.

And in terms of this performance, this is the fastest Challenge car in history. It has set a new lap record on Ferrari's Fiorano circuit of one minute, 15.5 seconds - a full second faster than the Ferrari 458 Challenge EVO.

This should also be the most customizable Challenge car in history so that owners really can set everything up to match their own driving style rather than simply the track conditions - settings and calibration for traction control, braking and the e-diff differential are all separate and can be adjusted while racing via steering wheel-mounted controllers.

The new customer racing car, unveiled at the Daytona circuit in Florida, arrives as Mercedes signals its intention to start offering its customers even more choice when it comes to competition cars. Due to the overwhelming success of its latest car built to GT3 racing specifications, Mercedes AMG is going one better with a GT4 model derived from the Mercedes-AMG GT R.

"The development of the Mercedes-AMG GT4 is another important step in the continuing expansion of our Mercedes-AMG motorsport program. The excellent feedback of our Customer Sports teams concerning the AMG GT3 and the increasing interest for GT4 race cars strengthened us in our decision. We are delighted to address an even larger target group of amateur and professional drivers and teams in the future with it," said Mercedes-AMG chairman Tobias Moers.

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