Ferrari 488 Pista arrives – hardcore V8 packs 710bhp

Ferrari’s 488 moves into uncharted territory with the new Ferrari 488 Pista, a race-bred flagship with more power and less weight.

There’s now a new name to be added to the golden lineage of Challenge Stradale, Scuderia and Speciale: that of ‘Pista’. This is the new Ferrari 488 Pista, following in the illustrious tyre tracks of its hardcore V8-powered predecessors, and due to make its debut at this year’s Geneva motor show.

Like those lightweight Ferrari specials before it, the 488 Pista takes inspiration from Ferrari’s current motorsport cars, namely the 488 GTE and the 488 Challenge. Keen to emphasise the credentials of the Pista, Ferrari points out that the GTE has taken 29 class victories in the past 50 WEC races and five championships, and that it has also now been running its one-make Challenge series for 25 years. 

The Pista follows the time served pattern by offering more power to move less weight, and with further developments in electronics and aerodynamics. It is set to be the most powerful V8-engined Ferrari in the company’s history, with 710bhp at 8,000rpm from the turbocharged 3.9-litre engine and 568lb ft of torque at 3,000rpm – the latter figure quoted as being released in seventh gear due to the engine’s sophisticated torque mapping, which gives any 488 the sensation of being powered by a naturally aspirated powerplant. With an extra 49bhp over the 488 GTB, the 488 Pista boasts a larger increase in power over the standard car than any of the 360-, 430- and 458-based ‘specials’. 

Performance figures are suitably sensational, with 0-100kph quoted as 2.9-seconds and 0-200kph as 7.6 – numbers that put it firmly into McLaren 720S territory. The top speed is said to be 340kph. 

As well as being more powerful, the 488 Pista’s engine is lighter, too, thanks to the use of inconel exhaust manifolds and a lighter crankshaft and flywheel from the Challenge car, plus the use of titanium conrods and a carbonfibre intake plenum. The Pista’s torque output is higher at any engine speed than the GTB’s, and the response from the turbochargers is said to be even quicker. 

Naturally, the Pista’s weight loss program extends to its body, where the engine cover, front and rear bumpers and the rear wing are made from carbonfibre. It’s also possible to order 20” wheels with a carbonfibre rim, and with all lightweight options specified the 488 Pista weighs a commendable 90kg less than a GTB coupe, tipping the scales at 1,280kg dry. 

The first pictures of the car show a 488 strongly influenced by aerodynamic thinking. There’s an F1-inspired S-Duct at the front along with a diffuser similar to the GTE car, while the car’s underbody has been redesigned with new ‘vortex generators’. At the rear, the diffuser features a ‘double kink’ design again inspired by the GTE-spec racer. With its larger and higher-set ‘blown’ rear spoiler, and a front end dominated by a raised section that looks almost like a complete front wing mounted on the car, the 488 Pista offers a 20% increase in downforce over the 488 GTB. 

Perhaps even more influential than its sophisticated aerodynamics is the Pista’s formidable arsenal of electronic systems, designed, as Ferrari puts it, to create a ‘completely symbiotic relationship’ between car and driver. The firm stresses how the 488 Pista can be enjoyed on the limit by any driver and not just a professional, but with 182bhp/litre from the V8 and immense cornering grip, it’s fair to say it has little choice but to incorporate technologies that help drivers with the necessary size of wallet to buy one, but not always such extensive driver skills to safely exploit such a car. It’s inevitably a sign of the times, and of the rapid increase in potency of cars in this niche over recent years.

Categories: Road


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