Ferrari 488 Challenge revealed ahead of 2017 season

New race car will be Ferrari's quickest Challenge car yet; retains road car's Side Slip Control system

In 2017 the Ferrari Challenge will celebrate its 25th anniversary - and it does so with a brand new race car in the form of the new Ferrari 488 Challenge.

Revealed at the Ferrari World Finals event in Daytona, the 488 Challenge replaces the outgoing 458 Challenge EVO and asserts its suitability by lapping Ferrari's Fiorano circuit a second quicker.

At 1m15.5s, it's more than four seconds faster than the firm's quickest-ever road car, the LaFerrari, and only half a second behind the mighty Ferrari 599XX Evoluzione.

For an indication of how far the Challenge series has come in quarter of a century, that time is also a full 17.5 seconds quicker than the Ferrari 348 Challenge that racers campaigned in that very first season.

The source of that speed is the same 3.9-litre turbocharged V8 you'll find in the 488 GTB road car, albeit tuned beyond the standard model's 661bhp. There's new engine mapping and the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission gets shorter ratios - Ferrari says it can now hit maximum revs in fourth gear just six seconds after setting off.

Engineers have also managed to shed weight from the powertrain, while the remarkable Side Slip Control system that so effectively manages all that power in the road car makes its first appearance on a Challenge racer. Along with the E-diff, it's been recalibrated for racing purposes, while a pair of manettino switches on the steering wheel let drivers tailor both when and to what degree the traction control system cuts in. Yet another manettino adjusts the system's behaviour under braking.

The road car's body has also been altered significantly for its new racing role. You'll struggle not to notice the enormous rear wing, whose profile is similar to that of the WEC class-winning Ferrari 488 GTE, with a quoted aerodynamic efficiency improvement of 9 per cent over the 458.

A new front bumper also contributes a 7 per cent aerodynamic improvement next to the 458 Challenge EVO, while behind it the radiators have been inclined towards the rear of the car to both reduce drag and improve airflow during racing conditions. A series of air intake changes benefit engine and brake cooling, while the engine air intakes have been positioned in a high-pressure zone under the rear spoiler.

> Read our full review of the road-going Ferrari 488 GTB

Recommended

Porsche 911 GT3 review (991, 2013-2016): review, specs and buying guide
991 Porsche 911 GT3
Features

Porsche 911 GT3 review (991, 2013-2016): review, specs and buying guide

The 991-generation Porsche 911 GT3 remains one of the finest driver's cars money can buy. We look back at our first impressions and how to buy one tod…
21 Feb 2024
Audi R8 GT RWD v Lamborghini Huracán Tecnica – the last of the V10s
Audi R8 V10 GT RWD v Lamborghini Huracan Tecnica
Group tests

Audi R8 GT RWD v Lamborghini Huracán Tecnica – the last of the V10s

As Audi’s V10 R8 and Lamborghini’s Huracán near the end of their journey, it's time for a final blast
10 Feb 2024
McLaren 650S (2014 - 2017): review, specs and buying guide
McLaren 650S
Features

McLaren 650S (2014 - 2017): review, specs and buying guide

While it lacks the character of some rivals, stunning composure and pace make the McLaren 650S an excellent supercar offering. Here's how to buy one t…
6 Feb 2024
Ariel Atom 4R 2024 review – skeletal track special is more intense than ever
Ariel Atom 4R review
Reviews

Ariel Atom 4R 2024 review – skeletal track special is more intense than ever

The new R-spec Atom 4 adds muscle to the skeletal sports car. Does the sub-700kg Ariel really need another 80bhp? There’s only one way to find out
5 Feb 2024

Most Popular

Toyota GR Yaris v Audi S1 – four-wheel-drive hatches go head-to-head
Toyota GR Yaris v Audi S1
Group tests

Toyota GR Yaris v Audi S1 – four-wheel-drive hatches go head-to-head

They’re two dinky performance cars with startlingly similar recipes, but how does the decade-old Audi S1 compare to today’s much-hyped Toyota GR Yaris…
17 Feb 2024
Driving MST’s stunning Mk1 Ford Escort recreation – car pictures of the week
MST Mk1 Ford Escort – front
Features

Driving MST’s stunning Mk1 Ford Escort recreation – car pictures of the week

In the latest issue of evo, we get behind the wheel of the glorious MST Mk1 – here are some of our favourite shots…
18 Feb 2024
The new Alpine A290 hot hatch is just around the corner
Alpine A290 – front
Spy shots

The new Alpine A290 hot hatch is just around the corner

Alpine’s Renault 5-based hatch will arrive this year – here’s our first look at the new EV in prototype form
16 Feb 2024