Ferrari 458 GTC undergoes winter testing at Fiorano – Click above for high-res image gallery

There's no point, to paraphrase the old adage, in closing the door after the horses have already left the stable. The same could be said of Prancing Horses – the red variety that hail from Maranello, specifically. So after the first image of Ferrari's latest sports racer leaked out a few days ago, the Italian automaker and racing team have now released a quartet of additional shots.

The successor to the F430 GT2, the new 458 GTC will take on all comers in sports and endurance racing series around the world – most of them with the name "Le Mans" in the title. The new challenger is currently undergoing track testing at the hands of former FIA GT class champion and two-time Le Mans class winner Jaime Melo over the course of the winter in advance of its scheduled debut at the Sebring 12 Hours race in the American Le Mans Series. So stay tuned, and in the meantime, check out the images in the gallery below and the press release after the jump.

[Source: Ferrari]
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458 GTC takes its first steps at Fiorano

Maranello, 10 December 2010 –A few days after the official launch of the 458 Challenge at the Bologna Motor Show on 2 December, today saw the end of a two day shakedown carried out by Ferrari at Fiorano of the 458 GTC, the latest jewel to emerge from Maranello, which will be taking on the opposition in the most important GT races at international level.

The car's development on track has been entrusted to Jaime Melo, the Brazilian who competed in this year's American Le Mans Series with the Risi Competizione team. He also teamed up with Gianmaria Bruni and Toni Vilander in the AF Corse squad's F430 GT2 to bring the Prancing Horse the Constructors' title in the 2010 Intercontinental Le Mans Cup.

Antonello Coletta, head of the Ferrari Corse Clienti Department had this to say about the initial testing of the 458 GTC: "We are pleased with the feedback we have had from the engineers and drivers about the car." Development is in its initial statges and this is just the third test the car has undergone at Fiorano. "Thanks to the good weather these past two day, it has been possible to gather more data than in previous sessions, which were run in snowy and rainy conditions."

The next step? "We will continue development over the winter months, which will culminate in the car's debut in the Sebring 12 Hours, the famous endurance race and the first race in next season's American Le Mans Series."

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