Ferrari crafts new Challenger for race series

488 Challenge is 6th model for 1-marque series, powered by 1st turbo

Published: December 5, 2016, 9:30 PM
Updated: December 8, 2016, 4:45 AM

Ferrari 488 Challenge

Ferrari has unveiled its latest Challenge racing series car, which will be available to clients for the 25th anniversary of the series in 2017.

The 488 Challenge is the sixth model to take part in the 1-marque series, and features the first turbocharged engine in the series — a 3.9-litre biturbo V-8 derived from the 2016 International Engine of the Year winner in the 3- to 4-litre category.

Ferrari 488 Challenge cockpit

Besides being lighter, the powertrain has been modified from the production 488 GTB include engine mapping (optimized for racing), and variable torque management (to prompt the driver to shift up for optimal use of the engine during longitudinal acceleration). The F1 dual clutch transmission (DCT) features shorter gear ratios and racing shift map (which allows the car to pull from a standstill in 4th to the redline in just six seconds).

Vehicle dynamics have also been improved, with the company’s Slip Slip Control (SSC) available for the first time on a Challenge series car. Integrated in the vehicle electronic dynamic controls, SSC works with the traction control and the E-Diff3 electronic differential to improve turn-in, cornering and power out to ensure maximum traction through corners. It’s controlled by two manettinos (steering wheel dials) — the right one governs the point at which the system intervenes; the left one controls the level of torque reduction. A third manettino is dedicated to braking.

But perhaps the most noticeable changes are on the surface, with significant changes to aerodynamics. Front drag is reduced through the repositioning of the radiators (now inclined rearward to improve air flow over their surface). The change required new vents at the bottom of the bumper (which itself has been completely redesigned with new splitter and flicks). The resultant improvement over the current 458 Challenge EVO is 7%.

Ferrari 488 Challenge

The hood is also new, with triple vents and integrated flaps to direct the hot air flowing from the rads rearward. At the rear, a larger rear wing with an air foil profile similar to that used on the 488 GTE that won the 2016 World Endurance Championship. That also improves on the 458 Challenge EVO by another 9%.

More downforce is added through rear brake intakes (which naturally help cool the rear brakes), with the engine air intakes repositioned under the rear spoiler to take advantage of the high-pressure generated.