Round one of the Ferrari Challenge Asia-Pacific took place at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi, UAE. But we were too busy arguing about our favourite 458 liveries during the weekend.
For everything tifosi, there’s Formula One. For everything non-F1, there’s the Corse Clienti, Ferrari’s GT programme that takes in contemporary and classic/Classiche racing across the globe.
And so far the prancing horse has been doing pretty well. Last year alone – as Corse Clienti co-ordinator Andrea Mladosic – explains to me, Ferrari and its many customer operations took more than 20 Class championships worldwide, including the FIA World Endurance Championship Manufacturer’s World Cup, the Blancpain Endurance Pro-Am Cup (with AF Corse), and LMGTE Pro Class victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Hardly scoffable statistics.
Another series to fall by the scarlet sword was the Ferrari Challenge (okay, hardly surprising), which since its 1993 inauguration now runs three separate championships worldwide in Europe, North America and Asia-Pacific. The weapon of choice for competitors since 2011 is the 459 Challenge, the latest of a significant legacy that includes Challenge versions of the 348 (Genesis, ‘93-95), the F355 (‘95-‘01), the 360 (‘00-‘06) and the F430 (’06-’11).
Ramp up the ferocity of the 570hp 4.5-litre V8, change the gear ratios, tweak the suspension, add a front splitter and rear diffuser, and throw in a roll cage, and you’ve successfully transformed a street legal 458 Italia into a track heavy-hitter. Okay, Ferrari Classiche and Corse Clienti technical consultant Michele Cecchini will tell you it’s a little trickier than that, but you get the idea.
Of course, aerodynamic perfection and brutal acceleration is one thing, but no Challenge machine is complete without a strong – sometimes ridiculous – livery. And round one of the Ferrari Challenge Asia-Pacific was no different. So, in the spirit of our recent trip to this year’s Geneva Motor Show, we present the top five 458 Challenge liveries from the Ferrari Challenge Asia-Pacific.