Ferrari has unveiled its new 458 Italia Grand Am race car, which is set to compete next year in the North American race series, more specifically, in Grand-Am’s Rolex Sports Car Series GT class under the current GT rules.
On its first public shakedown today at Ferrari’s Fiorano test track in Italy, it completed a good number of trouble-free laps, 45 to be precise, in the hands of test drivers Maurizio Mediani and Jaime Melo.
Development work was handled by motorsports and engineering firm Michelotto, the same one that helps develop and manufacture many of Ferrari’s race cars and even some of its road-going cars like the famed F40 supercar.
The 458 Italia Grand Am race car is built to match the North American regulations and is therefore different to the 458 Italia GT car, though it shares much in common with its European counterpart.
For example, it develops 500 horsepower, slightly more than the GT versions, but it has less efficient aerodynamics. It is also fitted with a 48 mm restrictor and maximum revs are limited to 8,000. Significant modifications have been made to the braking system, as the car has neither ABS nor traction control.
Other differences to the GT3 include the roll-over bar, which gives greater lateral protection to increase safety in a series in which collisions are rather more frequent. The car is fitted with tires from Continental, the sole supplier to the series, featuring a very hard compound, again to conform with the series regulations.