Ferrari North America
The Ferrari 458 Speciale made its United States debut last month at an event organized by Ferrari North America to officially introduce the Ferrari 458 Speciale to the North American audience. The event was held at the Austin Studios in the capital of Texas with Marco Mattiacci, President of Ferrari North America and Stefano Domenicali, the Scuderia Ferrari Team Principal on hand to display the latest special series release Maranello to the public. The audience was presented with an official video of the car that was followed by two Speciale supercars being driven into Austin Studios by Scuderia’s official test drivers Marc Gene and Pedro de la Rosa.
The Ferrari 458 Speciale made its world debut earlier this September at the Frankfurt Motor Show. This naturally aspirated 4.5 liter V-8 has 597 horsepower and 398 lb-ft of torque, making the Ferrari 458 Speciale the highest-output naturally aspirated Ferrari V-8 of all time. The Ferrari 458 Speciale has a 133 horsepower per liter making the 458 Speciale the highest horsepower per liter ratio ever achieved by a naturally aspirated engine manufactured by Ferrari. As a direct result of the Speciale’s weight reduction to 2,844 pounds-down from 3,042 pounds in the standard Italia, the Speciale now has a power-to-weight-ratio of 4.77 pounds per horsepower! The Ferrari 458 Speciale shoots from 0-60 in 3 seconds flat.
For the 458 Speciale, Ferrari has updated the algorithm used for the Side Slip Angle Control System (SSC); this allows the 458 Speciale to achieve better car control when being pushed to its limits. By performing real-time analysis of the car’s lateral slip, the Ferrari’s computer system is able to adjust the amount of power being released to assist the driver with completing turns through improved integration within the car’s traction control system and the electronic differential. To maximize results from this setup, the manufacturer worked directly with Michelin to create a special set of tires designed to improve lap times. When the Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires were brought out to the Fiorano circuit, the Ferrari 458 Speciale produced lap times of 1.23.5; to help understand what an improvement this is, keep in mind that the LaFerrari tops the speed charts at Fiorano with a 1.20.0 lap time. These improvements to the SSC will allow average drivers to corner and produce lap times previously only achieved by experienced drivers.
The aerodynamics has been improved with assistance from Pinifarina, most notably in the larger heat extractor on the hood and by implementing a more chiseled lower fascia and grill. The Ferrari 458 Speciale has a dual exhaust system instead of the triple exhaust system found on the Italia and Spider variants; the dual exhaust is accompanied by a more aggressive diffuser located just below the exhaust. These improvements to aerodynamics allow the Ferrari 458 Speciale to increase downforce while reducing drag.
Matiacci did not get into discussing price when addressing the audience in Austin; he did say “We are very happy to be able to present this amazing car right here in Austin while the city is hosting the United States Formula 1 Grand Prix”. “The 458 Speciale expresses the synthesis of Ferrari’s sporting spirit and technology and there could no better way to launch it than alongside a race which is part of the highest level of motor sport and technology”.