• 1 of approximately 50 built for 2004
  • Aluminum 3.6L V8 / 410hp
  • F1 six-speed paddle-shifted gearbox
  • Factory-installed roll cage
  • Magneti Marelli LCD display with telemetry
  • BBS wheels / Pirelli P Zero slicks

Racing is arguably the highest expression of a passion for cars. Whether it be drag racing, circle track or just avoiding cones at a local autocross event, its something almost every car guy feels a connection to. While many of us toil away our weekends in the garage, fine-tuning our own creations, a privileged few can call upon the best of the best to deliver a competitive car out of the box. If you're shopping builders based on racing heritage, few offer more provenance than Ferrari. From day one, on-track performance has been at the forefront of everything they build, and that commitment carries through to this 2004 Ferrari 360 Modena Challenge. Built primarily for competition in the Ferrari Challenge Series, this non street-legal 360 was assembled and prepped by those who understand the car best. One of approximately 50 made for the model year, this track-bred beauty is a welcome addition to the Private Collection at RK Motors Charlotte.

The 360 Modena followed a long line of classic Ferrari designs including its direct predecessor, the beloved F355. It had been a car full of hard angles and time-honored Ferrari cues – few of which were revisited on the 360. Instead, design efforts were focused, almost solely, around aerodynamics. While the shift resulted in a better handling more controllable car, the sweeping aluminum body panels gave the 360 a flamboyant look uncharacteristic of the Ferrari camp. The car's debut drew a great deal of criticism from Ferrari purists but, ultimately, its performance capabilities won most of them back. This 2004 Modena Challenge wraps its controversial body in a conservative coat of white. Despite its track time, the paint remains glossy, presenting well from all angles. It's on-track authenticity is backed up by small details like the bright red tow hooks and brightly colored stickers pointing to the mandatory external kill switch. Beneath the body panels, an aluminum space frame allows for a 28% reduction in weight over the F355 while offering a 40% increase in structural rigidity.

If you're still convinced the 360 Modena Challenge is little more than a dressed down street car with some racing-inspired bits, take a look inside. There are no leather seats or brushed aluminum consoles to be found. Just two red OMP racing seats, surrounded by a sturdy, factory-installed roll cage. Climb into the driver seat and the mission truly comes into focus. The center dash, usually filled with controls for the stereo and HVAC system, now plays host to five black toggle switches and a push button ignition. Depress that button and a Magneti Marelli LCD instrument panel comes to life before you, wired with onboard telemetry. In front, a three-spoke steering wheel mounted to an adjustable column offers a connection to the front wheels. The center console features the familiar T-shaped lever used to engage reverse but, save for a kill switch and a button for the integrated fire suppression system, little else is there. Further weight saving measures include the deletion of the hand brake, climate control system, door and window mechanisms and airbags. No carpet below. No headliner above.

For all the belt-tightening and weight reduction measures, Ferrari left the powerplant largely untouched for the track-friendly 360. Looking over the specs, it's easy to see why. Below the Lexan panel, the 3.6L V8 picks up where the F355's 3.5L left off. The aluminum mill retains its five-valve double overhead cam configuration, but breathes a little deeper thanks to revised combustion chambers, larger valves and variable geometry system that independently monitors both cylinder banks. Fuel delivery is handled by Monotronic ME 7.3 injection, informed by a drive-by-wire throttle. Oiling comes courtesy of a dry-sump system, well suited to the demands of a racetrack. The most notable change over the street-legal 360's is in the exhaust system. The complex variable back-pressure system is gone in favor of an open muffler while the catalytic converter count is down to just one. Ferrari claims this update alone is good for a four percent gain in horsepower, bringing the relatively small displacement V8 to a tidy 410hp and 286lb. ft. of torque.

Behind the 3.6L, a six-speed paddle-shifted F1 gearbox clicks through gears with speed and precision, simply unobtainable by human hands. If you're looking for an exact number, Ferrari claims an incredible 150 milliseconds. On the street-friendly 360's, shifts under 7000 rpm are somewhat cushioned by the engine management system. For the track-bred Modena Challenge, that help comes in the form of hardware. A transmission-oil radiator ducted through the Lexan engine cover replaces the standard water-to-oil intercooler while stiffer mounts and a racing clutch further aid the gearbox's longevity. Shifts are crisp and authoritative, aiding the 3,000lb car in missile-like 3.6 second 0-62mph runs. When the track gets twisty, the 360 relies on the strength of its space frame coupled with a double wishbone suspension for rigidity through corners. Braking is handled by four-piston Brembo calipers that clamp down on giant ventilated discs, while BBS wheels wrapped in Pirelli P Zero slicks desperately cling to the asphalt. Factor in the Bosch ASR system and this 360 Modena Challenge becomes a car that can be driven fast without fear.

The Ferrari name is strong enough to lend credibility to anything it graces. Even a car with half this 360's capabilities would find a following within the collector car market. Fortunately, this track-ready Modena Challenge is a car both stylish and capable enough earn its place in Ferrari history, alongside some of the greatest race cars ever built. Almost any car bearing Enzo's last name has a place on our showroom floor but this limited-production factory build racer is an especially welcome addition to the collection.

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2004 Ferrari 360 Challenge F1

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