Ferrari 458 GT3 - One of the Most Popular GT Racers
The Ferrari 458 Italia was introduced in 2009 as an entry-level sports car with an impressive performance and driving dynamics. It replaced Ferrari 430, which was well represented on the race tracks around the world, so it was just a matter of time before Ferrari would present the racing version of 458. Knowing the origin of the car and the enormous Ferrari’s racing experience and heritage, the race scene didn’t wait long and in 2011, the Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 was unveiled.
Long line of Ferrari factory race cars
Given the vast experience and know-how in racing which Ferrari definitely has, the 458 Italia GT3 was greeted with big expectations by the racing audience. Its predecessor, the F430 GT3, was a successful race car and everybody expected that 458 Italia GT3 would achieve more. And it did. The list of victories is endless and even in 2015, in the last year of competition and before its successor was introduced, Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 was still one of the best GT3 cars. The GT3 spec is just a part of Ferrari’s big racing program which includes a 458 Italia Challenge (cup car), 458 Italia GT2 spec car, 458 Italia GT3 spec car, and 458 Italia Grand Am.
GT3 is the most powerful racing version of the 458 Italia
All the variants are very similar but the main difference is in the details which vary from one series to another. The heart of the 458 Italia GT3 is its engine, the 4,5 liters V8 with 550 bhp and 550 Nm. Weighing just 1250 kg, 458 Italia GT3 is very fast and nimble. The front suspension is independent, overlapped triangular wishbones and in the rear, there is multilink geometry, aluminium suspension arm and rods. With the price of 350.000 euros + taxes, the 458 Italia GT3 was not the cheapest racing car in class but it was worth it since it was eligible in many series and it was competitive enough to score some championship titles.
Victories in endurance races all over the world
The most notable titles in 458 Italia GT3’s career are: six-time 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps winner (two in the GT3 Pro-Am category and two in the Gentlemen Trophy), the 2013 and 2014 12 Hours of Sepang winner, the 2014 and 2015 24 Hours of Dubai winner (in the A6-Am class), and the 2014 Liqui Moly Bathurst 12 Hours winner.
The most successes in the Blancpain Endurance Series
In the Blancpain Endurance Series, it took the Pro-Am Team and Drivers’ crowns in 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2015, and the 2013 and 2014 Gentlemen Trophy Team and Drivers’ honors. During 2015, eight teams in Blancpain Endurance championship were using the 458 Italia GT3. The Italian team AF Corse again was the most successful in the Pro-Am cup, while the French team Akka-ASP took the Am Cup title. AF Corse’s drivers Duncan Cameron and Matt Griffin also won the driver’s Pro-Am Cup, ahead of rivals from other Ferrari customer teams Kessel Racing.
International GT Open teams’ title
Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 was widely represented in the International GT Open, with seven teams in 2015. AF Corse took the team’s title while its drivers Michele Rugolo and Pasin Lathouras were second in the drivers’ standings, ahead team-mates Raffaele Giammaria and Ezequiel Perez Companc. Since its first competitive season, the 458 GT3 earned many national championship titles. The last one was the French GT Championship title for Team Akka-ASP.
The successor 488 GTB arrived, but 458 GT3 is still active
Although Ferrari introduced a racing version of 488 GTB, we can be sure that 458 Italia GT3 will continue to participate in world’s best endurance series and that it will still be competitive and fast in years to come. It is not going to be an easy job to be at the top, either for the old 458 or the new 488, because the rivals are constantly improving .
There are so many cars which want to be the fastest: Porsche 911 GT3, Audi R8 LMS, BMW Z4 GT3 and BMW M6 GT3, Mercedes SLS AMG GT3 and the new Mercedes-AMG GT3, British manufacturers Bentley, Aston Martin and McLaren, Japanese representative Nissan, etc. However, one thing is certain: it will be a pleasure to watch their future duels.
Video : 2013 Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 on track