The 458 Italia has been one of the most successful Ferraris of recent years. Presented at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2009, it combines style and innovation like few other cars and has also picked up an impressive number of wins in its track versions. It was clear that this was an unusual car from the faces of journalists when it was unveiled in the presence of Ferrari management. The 8-cylinder beauty from Maranello is a synthesis of technological innovation, creativity, style and passion, in its own way a perfect example of the best of Italy. Indeed the car carries the country’s name alongside the number that refers to the unit cylinder capacity.
The car represented a new page in the history of Maranello in every respect, from the power unit, to the handling, from the instrumentation to the human-machine interface. The 458 Italia also benefits from Ferrari’s experience in Formula 1 from which it adopts precision and immediacy in response to the driver’s commands. Also, the instrument panel was developed on the basis of input from the single-seater, for the first time giving the driver a series of parameters to help optimise performance. Seven-time Formula 1 world champion, Michael Schumacher, also contributed to the design of this car. Designed by Pininfarina, it has an aerodynamic efficiency that optimises downforce and cuts drag by reducing the air intake front section of the radiator. The 4.5 litre engine is Maranello’s first centrally mounted V8 fuel injection engine. It is capable of 570 horsepower and is assisted by an F1 dual-clutch gearbox with seven gears. The 458 Italia accelerates from 0-100 km/h in under 3.4 seconds and has a top speed of 325 km/h, delivering outstanding performance combined with perfect safety thanks to the E-Diff and F1-Trac electronic systems alongside the newly developed ABS.
The 458 Italia was the star of the Frankfurt Motor Show from its very first day and over the following years won a record number of awards among which the Car of the Year by Robb Report, the BBC Top Gear Car of the Year and Supercar of the Year and a similar recognition from the German magazine Auto Motor und Sport. The engine also won awards as “Best Performance Engine” and “Best Engine Above 4-litre” in 2011, 2012 and 2014 as part of the International Engine of the Year. The 458 of course has also triumphed on track: four versions have been produced. The GT2, then GTE, for the main Endurance competitions, the GT3 for all other GT championships and the Grand-Am version for races on American soil. These are supplemented by the 458 Challenge, built for the Prancing Horse one-make series but that has also won many competitions against other constructors.
The 458 GTE has triumphed twice in the GTE-Pro class of the 24 Hours of Le Mans with AF Corse and “Gimmi” Bruni, Toni Vilander and Giancarlo Fisichella, but has also notched up many victories in the GTE-Am class, the latest in 2016. It has brought Ferrari four world constructors’ titles. The 458 GT3 has won nearly 500 races on four continents, including the 12 Hours of Bathurst, Australia and the 24 Hours on the legendary track of Spa-Francorchamps, helping to write new pages in the legend of the Prancing Horse in the history of motorsport.