The new season for Ferrari 458 Challenge 2014 kicks off next week in Daytona, USA. The new season welcomes the new 458 Challenge Evoluzione upgrade, with obvious aerodynamic enhancements.
The key difference is the rear wing, which has been developed using experience gained in GT racing. The increased down-force generated by the wing, balanced at the front by work carried out to the splitter and the under-tray, is said to allow drivers to extend the limits of the car, meaning higher cornering and top speeds.
Ferrari says drivers of the 458 Challenge Evoluzione can expect improved performance, both in terms of laps times and over long distances, compared to the outgoing car. Expect a Fiorano lap time less than the 1:16.5 set by the 458 Challenge back in 2010.
On the sporting side, the most significant changes concern the format of the weekend (a qualifying session and its relative race on Saturday, a further qualifying and the second race on Sunday, an increase of more than four hours total driving time,) the introduction of a handicap system (the first three in each race will each get a grid penalty for the next race – 6 places for the winner, 4 for second and two for third – , only one driver allowed per car and a split in the Trofeo Pirelli classification between a Pro and an Am category.
The points system covers the top 10 in each category (20, 15, 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 3, 2, 1) as well as a point for each event entered, each pole position and each fastest race lap.
The Asia Pacific series gets underway in Sepang 21-23 February with the Ferrari Racing Day, which is then repeated in Sydney on -13 April for the start of the Oceania part of the season. Shanghai (6-8 June) will host a scaled down version of Racing Days which will be repeated with an identical format from 19 to 21 September in Fuji: in between there will be a round in Inje (4-6 July) and at another Japanese venue (22-24 August.)
The Finali Mondiali, which will also feature the final rounds of all three championships, will for the first time take place outside Europe, at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina circuit from 3 to 6 December.