Ferrari wrapped-up its 2016 customer racing program in Daytona, Florida and used the occasion to wheel-out its 2017 track car - the 488 Challenge.
The newcomer is the first turbocharged model for the international racing series - the 3.9-litre V8 is good for 500kW which makes it the most powerful version so far.
Ferrari has managhed to cut from the engine and over eight kilos from the exhaust system.
At Ferrari’s private Fiorano test track in Maranello, Italy, the 488 Challenge has carved a best time of 1’15.5” - that’s one second faster than the outgoing 458 Challenge EVO.
Ferrari credits the new record lap time to the 488 Challenge’s superior engine, aerodynamics and chassis tweaks.
On the aerodynamics front, while the massive rear wing - based on the wing from the 2016 WEC-winning 488 GTE - is the most obvious change, numerous detail developments have been crafted in consultation with the Ferrari Styling Centre. For example the front radiators are the reverse of the road car - tilted rearwards to reduce drag and improve airflow.
Maximizing the high-pressure area generated by the rear wing, the engine air intakes move to under the rear spoiler so the intakes on the rear quarter panels are purely for brake cooling.
Up front, the bonnet features triple vents with integrated flaps to channel hot air exiting the radiators towards the rear.
The front bumper is an all-new design with a large splitter and flicks to increase downforce.
Ferrari 488 Challenge customers will enjoy race standard engine mapping, shorter gear ratios and the revised variable torque management system which prompts the driver to shift gears at the appropriate split-second to maximize engine performance.
And changes in the shift strategy of the F1 dual-clutch transmission can deliver zero to maximum revs in fourth gear in just six seconds.
Debuting on a Challenge car is a unique version of Ferrari’s acclaimed Side Slip Control (SSC) software which works with the traction control system and E-Diff3 to optimize turn-in, mid-corner and corner exit speeds.
The 488 Challenge provides individual driver settings for traction and braking. In fact there are two adjustments for the traction control - one for when it intervenes and the other for the amount of intervention.
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