Meet The Ferrari 488 Challenge, The Most Powerful Challenge Car Ever


Get the lowdown on Ferrari's latest fast and furious Challenge car.

You may be familiar with the Ferrari Challenge, a race series where extremely wealthy drivers compete in equal cars on world famous tracks. Porsche and Lamborghini drivers have their equivalent events, too. The event has spawned a number of track-only Challenge cars from Ferrari, the last being the Ferrari 458 Challenge EVO. This year’s Finali Mondiali, held at Daytona to celebrate Ferrari’s end-of-calendar-year of motorsport, saw the unveiling of the latest Challenge race car: the 488 Challenge.

Just as the fabulous 488 GTB road car replaced the 458 Italia, the 488 Challenge is Ferrari’s new replacement for the 458 Challenge. Not much has changed under the hood. The 488 Challenge uses a 3.9-liter turbocharged V8, just as you would get in the standard 488 GTB road car, which makes it the first turbocharged Challenge car from Ferrari. Those specs aren’t to be snarled at, though: Ferrari say it’s the most powerful Challenge car ever, despite not disclosing how much power the 488 Challenge actually produces. For comparison, the 488 GTB road car churns out 660 hp and 570 lb-ft of torque. The 488 Challenge has other advantages, however.

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Its powertrain features different engine mapping optimized for racing performance, and Ferrari say the shorter gear ratios provide “up to an 11.6 percent increase in acceleration out of turns compared to the naturally-aspirated 458 Challenge EVO.” From a standing start, the 488 Challenge will reach maximum revs in fourth gear in just 6.0 seconds. The most noticeable changes to the 488 Challenge can be found in its aerodynamics, however, which are inspired by the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship-winning 488 GTE. The 488 Challenge features a new hood and front bumper, reworked front and side vents and a new rear spoiler for added stability to keep the car planted.

Anything non-essential has been stripped out to save weight. Even the steering wheel is simplistic for Ferrari’s standards with only three Manettinos to control braking, traction control and the electronic differential. All these changes mean that the 488 Challenge will perform a lap around the Fiorano test circuit in a new record-setting time of 1:15.5. That's nearly eight seconds faster than the road car.

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