If you like sports cars, fancy yourself as a bit of driver and happen to have large amounts of cash burning a hole in your pocket, you might just call up on Scuderia Vittoria for a chance to get behind the wheel of something like this: the Ferrari 458 Italia GT3.
This is the fully stripped-out, GT3 spec’d version of Ferrari’s infallible 458 Italia road car as entered by SV for the opening round of the Blancpain Endurance Series. As a private team, without factory support, any and all performance displayed during a race weekend is thanks to the hard work of the crew members and skill of the drivers.
I really don’t know much in terms of the specs of this car. Again, that’s not really my thing but from the looks of it, it’s fast. Up front, they’ve added a lower front splitter and side-splitters (or winglets) for added downforce, and also removed the 458′s malleable front wing assembly allowing more air to flow to the brakes.
Flared out fenders with added slots for venting, both over the wheel arch and where the panel meets the driver’s door. This allows the build up of hot air pressure, generated between the top of tyre and underside of the fender, to escape. Gone, too, are the 458′s side mirrors in favor of a much simpler, lighter solution.
The interior, with seating for one, has your typical race car setup: everything you need and nothing you don’t. I spoke with one of the drivers though, who told me he doesn’t like the paddle shifters and prefers the sequential rally style knob shifter that has been so popular over the years. To that I say, to each, his own. The closest I came to something like this was driving that Ferrari 430 Scuderia at Exotics Racing last year. That gearbox was much the same if not just as quick and an absolute pleasure to use.
This is a hard circuit to memorize, this one; ok straight, right, straight, right, right, sweeping left followed by another two rights.
Opening the door to this 458 GT car requires about as much effort as the flip of a page. It’s just that light. As you can see, any interior lining has been removed and replaced with carbon fiber. The door pulls too, are now simply nylon straps. The roll cage, with cross members running the length of the door, provides extra rigidity to the car and protects the driver from lateral collisions.
Prior to the race start, two members of the crew fill’er up the old fashioned way and look happy about it too. They run 102 octane.
In the back we see more purpose built solutions. Having done away with the Italia’s trademark 3 exhaust tips, this car runs just the two, probably to save weight. The massive, fixed rear wing appears to run properly through the body work and affix to the rear subframe.
Each team is allowed up to 5 sets of slicks for a race weekend, two of which, must be carried over to the next race. However, due to northern Italy’s unrelenting spring rain, they won’t be using any of them.