In Ferrari’s bloodline of V-8-powered, road-going track missiles, the names 360 Challenge Stradale, 430 Scuderia, and 458 Speciale are etched in Maranello stone. At next month’s Geneva International Motor Show, Ferrari will officially unveil a car set to eclipse every performance and handling element of this hallowed trio—the 2019 Ferrari 488 Pista.
Named after the Italian word for ‘track’, the 488 Pista takes the road-going 488 GTB and cranks the performance dial way up. That includes tuning the GTB’s turbocharged 3.9-liter V-8 engine to deliver a remarkable 710 hp at 8,000 rpm (50 hp more than in the GTB), making it the most-powerful Ferrari V-8 ever. Ferrari claims that the car can sprint from zero to 62 mph in just 2.85 seconds while on its way to 211 mph. In comparison, the GTB tackles zero to 62 mph in 3 seconds and tops out at 205 mph.
In addition to being more powerful, the 488 Pista is considerably lighter. The use of carbon fiber for the bumpers, rear wing, and engine cover, together with titanium connecting rods, a lighter crankshaft and flywheel, and nickel-chromium Inconel exhaust manifolds help the 488 Pista tip the scales at just 2,821 pounds, down from the GTB’s 3,020-pound dry weight.
Lessons learned from Ferrari’s 488 Challenge and 488GTE race cars improve the Pista’s aerodynamics to deliver even sharper, more stable high-speed handling. GTE-inspired front and rear diffusers, a new rear wing, and subtle underbody sculpting result in a 20 percent increase in downforce compared to the GTB.
Ferrari says that one of its main objectives with this new Pista was to make the car easier for non-pro drivers to control at the limit. So in addition to the usual F1-Trac traction control system, electronic differential, and adaptive suspension, there is a new technology called FDE, short for Ferrari Dynamic Enhancer. This uses advanced computer software to fine-tune brake pressure at the calipers.
A measure of all these performance, handling, and aerodynamic gains is that this new 488 Pista is reputedly faster around Ferrari’s Fiorano test track than the revered LaFerrari hypercar.
More will be learned about the 488 Pista at its Geneva debut on March 6, including the price tag—expected to be north of $300,000—and its North American on-sale date.