Ferrari 348 Challenge – One of the Original 59 348 Challenge Race Cars from 1993
Thanks to Robb Williamson for the research
In 1993 the Ferrari 348 Challenge racing series launched, it was a single marque championship for the then current 348 model. There were two separate competitions an Italian series and the then titled West European Ferrari Challenge.
The very first race took place in late March 1993 at Monza closely followed by Magny Cours for the European competition. This car competed in the Italian series with Saverio Castellaneta in the driving seat and the season went very well, finishing as runner up to Roberto Ragazzi. Looking at the results it seems Saverio would have won the championship had he not been disqualified at Mugello, a race he won.
The Ferrari Challenge went from strength to strength with new championships starting around the world. UK participants seemed to be fairly thin on the ground in these early years with only two drivers in the 1994 series one of them being Alain Li in this car.
It’s thought the success of the UK Ferrari Owners Club Organised, Pirelli Maranello Ferrari Challenge was a sufficiently attractive racing opportunity that few drivers looked at the 348 Challenge series. After three seasons of Challenge racing this car went on to run for several more years in the UK based series.
Road going 348’s were modified, at an authorised Ferrari dealership using a kit of part supplies by Ferrari. Modifications were limited and primarily safety equipment such as roll cage, race seats and harnesses, engine kill switch and fire extinguisher. Other parts included lightweight bumpers, lamp protectors, suspension bushes, brake cooling ducts, fuel valves and a straight through exhaust (where noise limits allowed) Pirelli slicks were permitted using the standard 17 inch wheels, the suspension could be adjusted as long maximum camber and minimum ride heights were maintained. The adjustment of the ride height and the overall rake of the car has a significate effect on handling so it would have been possible to fine tune the feel and performance in this area.
Little could be done to the engine with the exception of varying the valve timing by means of the preset holes and dowels on the cams and pulleys. In 1993 cars had to run the G spec TB/S engine but in the 1994 the H spec engine from the GTB/S, with its extra 20 BHP, was permitted.
The final change to the specification came in 1995 when the Ferrari 355 joined the championship and for this season the 348 could run the 18 inch Speedline wheels specified for the 355.
“It was a very positive inaugural year, which saw the final Ferrari 348 Challenge race at Mugello with 25 Italian and 34 other European participants, aligned together to competitively battle on the track. They were admired by an enthusiastic public and fans, including the Ferrari factory workers with Executives and Formula 1 drivers as well as a host of previous veteran champions and illustrious personalities of the automotive world. The event will be repeated in 1994, with the series in Italy and Europe, and will also be organized in the United States.”
Text from the 1993 (end of Year) Ferrari Yearbook
Currently, Ian Tuite-Sterling owns the Ferrari 348 Challenge, which he has raced in the Ferrari Maranello Challenge at Donnington Park in 2003. The car was sponsored by vpoint.tv.
Sterling graduated to the 348 Challenge 16 years ago, the car being one of 59 cars converted in period. It was originally raced by Saverio Castellaneta. The car appears exactly as it did 25 years ago, livery, decals and all. It was resplendent in yellow with blue stripes when Sterling acquired it. “In 2002, following a couple of seasons of racing the GT4, I bought the 348. The car had been with UK-based drivers since 1994, firstly running in the West European Ferrari Challenge and then the Pirelli Maranello Challenge. Ray drove the car during the 1998-1999 seasons, having been a GT4 runner like me prior to that. The smile on Ray’s face after his first race in the 348 could have sold it to anyone! When I got the car, it was in well-thumbed condition, and had a number of battle scars that had only had minimal repairs to get back out on track. I did a bunch of work on the car before it went in for a bare metal respray in 2016.”
|Type||Rear, longitudinal 90° V8|
|Bore/stroke||85 x 75 mm|
|Unitary displacement||425.59 cc|
|Total displacement||3404.70 cc|
|Maximum power||235 kW (320 hp) at 7200 rpm|
|Power per litre||94 hp/l|
|Maximum torque||324 Nm (33 kgm) at 5000 rpm|
|Valve actuation||Twin overhead camshafts per bank, four valves per cylinder|
|Fuel feed||Bosch Motronic M2.7 electronic injection|
|Ignition||Bosch Motronic M2.7 static electronic, single spark plug per cylinder|
|Frame||Steel monocoque with tubular steel rear sub-frame|
|Front suspension||Independent, unequal-length wishbones, coil springs, gas-filled telescopic shock absorbers, anti-roll bar|
|Rear suspension||Independent, unequal-length wishbones, coil springs, gas-filled telescopic shock absorbers, anti-roll bar|
|Transmission||5-speed + reverse|
|Fuel tank||Capacity 88 litres|
|Front tyres||P Zero 245-620 ZR 17|
|Rear tyres||P Zero 265-640 ZR 17|
|Type||Two-seater berlinetta or spider|
|Front track||1502 mm|
|Rear track||1578 mm|
|Weight||1360 kg berlinetta, 1370 kg spider (with liquids)|