Ferrari’s new 488 Challenge Evo has shown its face in public for the first time.
The Evo package is said to increase the car’s overall performance and consistency in race conditions, as well as delivering better handling for even better feedback and driving pleasure.
The upgrade arrives three years after the launch of the 488 Challenge during the Finali at Daytona.
Ferrari has also unveiled a new 488 GT3 at the Ferrari Finali Mondiali at Mugello — the car which will compete in the main international GT championships in 2020.
Ferrari says the aim of the Evo package is to maximise the synergy between aerodynamics and vehicle dynamics.
Better performance is achieved through greater downforce and new Pirelli tyres, while driving feedback was addressed in the early stages of development using Ferrari’s GT driving simulator, revising the aero balance between axles.
Downforce over the front has been increased to improve turn in and reduce understeer out of corners.
The aerodynamic balance ‘dialogues’ with the E-Diff3 and F1-TCS control systems are based on the Side Slip Control (SSC), which offers new dedicated settings.
The SSC concept which is based on the estimation of the yaw angle has been modified in view of the new levels of performance.
It’s made it possible for the control systems to all share information, maximising agility in cornering and traction on exit.
A comprehensive redesign of the front of the car has resulted in a 30 per cent increase in aerodynamic efficiency, with a longer overhang to boost overall downforce and optimise the balance.
The profiles of the radiator grille intakes have been lengthened and, at the centre of the bumper, a U-shaped intake feeds the front brakes.
In the lower part of the bumper, a large splitter with turning vanes at the ends improves the control and direction of the airflow from the side vents.
The sides of the bumper have been re-proportioned to allow the adoption of a second side flick that improves the quality of airflow.
As a result the car has a whopping 50 per cent more overall downforce than the current 488 Challenge.
On the flank, below the rear-view mirror, there’s a new small wing with endplate designed to divert air flow towards the intercooler.
The rear, on the other hand, includes clear references to the FXX-K.
The sides of the bumper feature an extremely aerodynamic surface with two vents to extract the flows generated inside the wheel arches.
Below the rear spoiler, a new air vent set in the engine air outlet grille increases downforce.
There is also a new nolder on the rear wing that produces an increase in the coefficient of downforce.
In a first for Ferrari’s one-make series, the 488 Challenge Evo introduces the option of modifying front downforce independently of the rear — so the driver can setup balance without having to change ride height.
The driver can select different configurations ranging from high to low downforce before each race, depending on the circuit’s characteristics and the weather conditions.
These developments ensure an increase of more than 20 percentage points in the downforce over the front axle compared to the 488 Challenge.
The braking system includes a number of innovations that maintain performance over a race.
In particular, there is a significant reduction in brake wear thanks to the adoption of a new front disc design and larger rear discs.
New Pirelli tyres, with 275/675 19s at the front and 315/705 19s at the rear — have also been introduced.
During almost seven months of development, the new tyre was tested not only in the laboratory, but also on the new car at various European circuits, including Vallelunga, Mugello, Le Castellet and Silverstone.
As well as seeking to boost overall performance, these tyres also ensure greater consistency in lap times during a long session.
The interior, with its decidedly racing character, features a conceptually different kind of steering wheel, developed from the experience gained with the FXX-K Evo and the 488 GTE which triumphed at the 24 Hours of Le Mans this year.
The steering wheel, with integrated paddle shift, significantly improves ergonomics so the driver can always keep their hands in an ideal position, bringing advantages in terms of visibility and control of the car’s systems.
There is a new ABS management strategy incorporated in the manettino.
The driver can select four different modes — two dry and two wet — which implement a strategy focused on performance or stability.
A new rear camera derived from the 488 GTE has been introduced in response to feedback from the participants in the championship’s various series (Europe, North America, Asia Pacific, along with last year’s addition of a new UK national series).
This considerably improves rear visibility.
The good news is that new components and improvements introduced with the 488 Challenge Evo are also available as upgrade kits for existing cars.