2017 Ferrari 488 Challenge race car revealed
Ferrari [NYSE:RACE] on Sunday unveiled its new race car based on the 488 GTB, which will compete in the 2017 season of the Ferrari Challenge one-make racing series.
The covers came off during Finali Mondiali, which marks the end of Ferrari’s racing efforts for the year and includes the final race of the Ferrari Challenge series.
The 488 Challenge is the sixth car to participate in the series which in 2017 celebrates its 25th anniversary. It’s also the series’ first turbocharged car.
It replaces the 458 Challenge Evoluzione, which started competing in 2014, and is the most powerful of the series’ race cars to date. The car’s twin-turbocharged 3.9-liter V-8 is virtually identical to the unit in the 488 GTB road car, with peak output remaining capped at 660 horsepower. Differences include specific engine mapping for improved top-end performance.
The 7-speed dual-clutch transmission has also been tweaked for motorsport use. For example, shorter gear ratios and a new shift strategy means the car now accelerates from a standstill to maximum revs in 4th gear in just six seconds. Further improvements include a reduction in overall powertrain weight, with 43 pounds being shaved off the engine and a further 18 lb off the exhaust system.
The most noticeable changes to the 488 Challenge compared to the road car regard the aerodynamics. The front bumper was designed to improve air flow over the radiators while at the same time reduce drag. A pronounced front splitter and flicks were installed to aid downforce and the new hood features a trio of vents to help direct hot air coming off the radiators.
To increase stability at high speeds, a new wing with an air foil similar to that used on Ferrari’s 488 GTE World Endurance Championship racer was adopted. Finally, the intakes on the rear flanks now take cooling air to the rear brakes and aid downforce, while the engine air intakes are now positioned laterally under the rear spoiler, taking advantage of the high pressure generated in this area to further boost downforce.
For 2016, Finali Mondiali was held at Daytona International Speedway, the first time the event has been held in the United States. The three classes that make up the 2016 Ferrari Challenge went to Carlos Kauffmann (Trofeo Pirelli), Sam Smeeth (Pirelli Am) and Thomas Loefflad (Coppa Shell).