This is the Pista Résistance of Ferrari’s 488 lineup

Peak output of 720hp makes the 488 Pista the most powerful V8-engined Ferrari yet

Maranello, Italy

“Race on Sunday, sell on Monday” – the bolstering of a brand’s image is one of the main reasons why manufacturers take part in motorsports, and no other car maker has racing as deeply ingrained in its DNA as Ferrari does.

But even though the alien, inaccessible world of Formula One is what Ferrari is most often associated with, the brand also has a long history racing its V8-engined models in the World Endurance Championship and its own Challenge one-make series – technology from which has made its way into its newest creation, the 488 Pista.

The 488 Pista (which means ‘circuit’ in Italian), is the latest addition to the ‘special series’: extra-hardcore versions of their mid-engined V8s which incorporate lessons learned from racing and deliver a more visceral driving experience, unadulterated by concessions to comfort. The Pista’s predecessors include cars such as the 360 Challenge Stradale, 430 Scuderia, and the pants-wetting (not the good kind) 458 Speciale.

So what is it that makes the Pista so exciting? Well for starters, with 720hp and 770Nm of torque, its 3.9-litre twin-turbo V8 has 50 more horses than the already-potent 488 GTB, and makes it the most powerful eight-cylinder Ferrari ever. That’s good for a 0-100km/h time of 2.85 seconds, 0-200km/h in 7.6, and a top speed in excess of 340km/h. For reference, that’s 0.15s, 0.4s and at least 10km/h faster than the regular 488.

The race-derived innovations which make that performance possible include the Challenge car’s turbos, a lightened crankshaft and flywheel, titanium con rods and carbon-fibre intake plenums, as well as exhaust manifolds made from Inconel, an aerospace-grade superalloy that’s more heat-resistant than titanium.

Then there’s the other equally exciting matter of how the Pista takes corners. Once again, more racing know-how has been used to develop the aerodynamics: At the front there’s a diffuser inspired by the one on the 488 GTE LeMans race car (that’s the black piece between the grilles), as well as an ‘S-duct’ similar to that found on the F1 car (air enters from the front and passes out through the big hole in the bonnet). Meanwhile the rear features a ‘double kink’ rear diffuser and a larger, “floating” rear spoiler. All in, Ferrari claims a huge 20 percent increase in downforce over the 488 GTB.

Thing is though, extreme aero can sometimes be quite a handful for the inexperienced, so Ferrari’s also worked on the chassis electronics, to, in Ferrari’s words, “make the car’s full potential available to all drivers, professional or otherwise”.

To that end, the Side-Slip Angle Control system has been tweaked, incorporating an e-differential, F1-Trac (traction control), magnetorheological suspension (dampers that can quickly alter their stiffness magnetically), and a new feature called Ferrari Dynamic Enhancer, which adjusts brake caliper pressure to make the car more controllable at or over the limit.

Pricing information for the Pista is not known yet, but will likely be announced when the car makes its formal debut at the Geneva Motorshow in March. As with most hot new Prancing Horses, select owners will be able to plonk down cash for one right now, but deliveries only begin in the first quarter of 2019. Prices start at $1,216,000 without COE and options.

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Jon Lim