Celebrating 25 years of the Challenge racing series.
When the Ferrari international Challenge racing series started in 1992, it was rather small. In the 25 years since, it has hosted over 1,000 races and 1,000 drivers in three continents. At the Ferrari World Finals in Daytona, they unveiled their sixth generation of racer that will participate in the 2017 one-make series: the Ferrari 488 Challenge.
The new Ferrari 488 Challenge is the first-ever turbocharged and most powerful Challenge model ever from the Italian automaker. It’s 3.9-liter, twin-turbocharged V-8 produces 670 metric horsepower and is based on the award-winning series production engine. New engine mapping and shorter gear ratios help drivers take advantage of its force-fed nature while re-tuned variable torque management pushes drivers to upshift in the right moment during longitudinal acceleration.
The F1 DCT gearbox that is mated to the 3.9-liter V-8 engine in the Ferrari 488 Challenge features a revised shifting strategy. This allows drivers to accelerate from standstill to maximum engine speed in 4th gear in just six seconds. As an added bonus, the entire powertrain benefits from a drop in weight for better overall performance. Compared to the previous-gen 458 Challenge EVO, the 488 Challenge laps the Fiorano circuit in just 1’15.5” – a full second faster.
Contributing to that increase in performance is the new high-tech driver aids such as Ferrari’s Slip Slip Control software, which makes its debut in the racing series with the 488 Challenge. The system works with the electronic dynamic controls and E-Diffs to increase traction into and out of corners.
Even the traction and braking electronic controls have been modified in the new Ferrari 488 Challenge. Both are governed independently and their threshold has been pushed back. Drivers can also control these driving aids independently through three dials on the steering wheel in terms of braking, “when” traction control activates (TC1) and “how” it activates (TC2). These allow drivers to optimize their vehicles to a specific track or conditions, improving acceleration out of a bend by 11.6-percent.
Even the exterior design of the Ferrari 488 Challenge was upgraded with a focus on aerodynamic efficiency without taking away from the factory body lines. The racing engineers worked closely with the Ferrari Styling Centre designers to develop a solution that optimized cooling, downforce, and efficiency.
Up front, the Ferrari 488 Challenge boasts a new radiator layout with inverted rake for better airflow and reduced drag. New vents in front of the wheels help to supply the radiators with more cool air. Triple vents on the front hood extract hot air from the radiators and move it rearwards. The bumper also features a redesign and a new splitter and side flics for improved balance, efficiency, and a 7.0-percent increase in efficiency.
As air moves towards the rear, it’s met by intakes on the fenders the send it into the brakes while air is fed into the engine by new intakes beneath the large rear spoiler. Here, the larger rear wing spoiler sports a similar profile to that of the FIA WEC-winning 488 GTE that increases efficiency by 9.0-percent.
The new Ferrari 488 Challenge will make its racing debut in the 2017 Ferrari international Challenge one-make racing series around the globe for clients.
Ferrari 488 Challenge Gallery