Ferrari convened a gathering of dealers and special customers recently, and presented them with some of the specs on that special, monstrous version of the Ferrari 488 that’s been percolating in public for nearly a year. Someone in the audience snapped pics of a few slides, those pics made their way to Ferrari Photo Page, and now we can assemble the loose bolts of rumor into something approaching a real vehicle. Not just “a” vehicle, but the most powerful Ferrari V8 the company has ever made. Ferrari uses the 488 GTB as the base for its Ferrari Challenge racing series; now the Italian carmaker’s returned the Challenge motorsport lessons to the production car.
First, the coupe almost certainly won’t be called 488 GTO. Ferrari owners in the Ferrari Chat forum have been wheedling their dealers for information, and several contributors to an 80-page thread attested that even the dealers don’t know the name of the coupe yet. The presentation refers to it as “New V8 Sport Special Series.”
The slides also note the “highest horsepower increase vs donor car for a V8 special series,” so watchers expect more than 700 horsepower from the 488’s 3.9-liter twin-turbo engine; production numbers come in at 660 horsepower and 561 pound-feet of torque. The engine making all that fuss is an evolution of the racing unit in the Challenge car, is ten percent lighter than the production car motor, and can produce a “unique track-like sound” – as if Ferraris haven’t been doing that since the 1960s.
The coming coupe gets more carbon fiber than ever seen in a Ferrari production car: the hood, bumpers, and large rear spoiler come in resin-soaked cloth, as do the dashboard, center tunnel, and the 20-inch wheels. Those wheels, dressed in Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 rubber, are 40-percent lighter than stock alloys. The cabin floor will be made of aluminum, with added lightness courtesy of less sound deadening and, thinner fixtures like side windows, and the omission of non-essential parts like the glove compartment.
New S-ducts in front and a GTE-inspired rear diffuser help increase aero efficiency by 20 percent over the standard 488. The “extremely direct steering ratio,” “new race gearshift strategy” programmed into the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, and new Sideslip management settings will contribute to either track-day superiority or overtime pay for the track-day tow-truck driver. The Ferrari Chat discussion says the vehicle won’t have an active air brake, but the options sheet might offer a lithium battery and titanium exhaust.
Apparently, dealers have forwarded a set of names to Ferrari for purchase consideration, and the braintrust in Maranello will decide which applicants will see this particular red. The rest of us will likely get our first look at it at the Geneva Motor Show in March.