Think of the 488 Pista (meaning ‘Track’ in Italian) as the legitimate successor to the much lauded 458 Speciale, only this car takes the 'track-ready' approach to a whole new level – boasting more race-to-road technology than ever before.
Unlike the naturally-aspirated V8 in the Speciale, the 488 Pista adds twin turbochargers to its 3.9-litre V8, making 530kW at 8000 rpm and 770Nm from 3000 rpm (up 85kW and 230Nm on the Speciale and 37kW and 9Nm on the 488 GTB).
It’s also the most powerful Ferrari V8 ever and features 50 per cent new components over the engine in the standard 488. As a result, it’s 18kg lighter but along with a raft of other weight saving measures the Pista tips the scales at just 1385kg (kerb weight) or 90kg less than the 488 GTB.
Those other measures include a carbon-fibre engine cover, front and rear bumpers and rear spoiler, while the rear window is fabricated from the super-lightweight polycarbonate, Lexan.
Pista owners can reduce weight further by optioning 20-inch carbon-fibre wheels (a first for Ferrari), which are 40 per cent lighter than those on the standard 488. The channel and spokes are also specially coated with a product from the aerospace industry that dissipates heat more effectively under braking.
Straight-line acceleration is up too, but only just. The Pista will launch from standstill to 100km/h in just 2.85 seconds and 0-200km/h in 7.6 seconds, bettering the 488 by 0.15 and 0.7 seconds respectively. Top speed goes from 330 to 340km/h thanks to new cams, valves, valve springs and new titanium connecting rods, all of which contribute to a more responsive engine, too.
The Pista also benefits from a new Inconel exhaust manifold that alone reduces engine weight by 9.7kg along with its ability to withstand higher operating temperatures. Moreover, there’s more noise from the exhaust (8dB) in all gears and at all engine revs.
Not only that, the turbos get integrated rev sensors courtesy of the Ferrari 488 Challenge, which are claimed to completely eliminate turbo lag, thereby achieving instantaneous throttle response. There’s even a new pedal map that also makes driving at the limit easier.
Maranello’s engineers have also worked their magic on the Pista’s seven-speed F1 gearbox by reducing shift times by 30 per cent in Race mode.
The Pista also debuts another first for a Ferrari road car called the Ferrari Dynamic Enhancer – a lateral dynamics control system that uses software to adjust brake pressure at the calipers whenever the Manettino is in the CT-OFF position. Essentially, the system regulates the lateral dynamics variables including side-slip angle estimation, making at-the-limit driving easier for less experienced Ferrari pilots.
And, to deal with those increased loads, the spring rates have been increased by 10 per cent, joined by recalibrated dampers.
The brakes, too, have been uprated through better cooling under extreme use, though not at the expense of a consistently smooth pedal feel regardless of the loads. They’ll also take less time to get up to temperature, claim Ferrari, which when combined with all other improvements means the 488 Pista shortens its braking distance over the 488 GTB by one metre.
The Pista also improves aerodynamic efficiency through a raft of changes affecting drag and downforce, taken from the 488 Challenge car and the 488 GTE sports car programmes, resulting in a 20 per cent improvement in both lap times and outright top speed.
Even though the intercooler has increased in size by 25 per cent compared with that of the 488 GTB, the actual surface area has grown by 7 per cent. Thanks again to measures applied to the 488 Challenge, the rake of the radiators has been inverted so that the hot air is now channelled to the underbody ahead of the front wheels.
The effects of those changes has again resulted in a 10 per cent gain in efficiency of the rear intercoolers, while drag around the actual tyres has been reduced by 7 per cent.
Most noticeable, though, is the entirely redesigned front end including a front bumper derived from Ferrari’s F1 program, dubbed the S-Duct, which creates a low pressure area underbody thereby further boosting downforce by 18 per cent as a whole, but with only a 2 per cent increase in drag.
It’s even more efficient at the rear thanks to a new and larger rear spoiler (longer by 40mm and higher 30mm) that along with optimised air flow generates 25 per cent more rear downforce than the 488 GTB. There’s even a front diffuser that produces significant front wheel suction to the tune of 12 per cent of the total increase in the car’s downforce.
The rear diffuser is derived from Ferrari’s World Endurance Championship with its 488 GTE entry and features multiple active flaps that are also able to rotate thus reducing drag.
Inside, there’s definitely a racecar-like feel to the cockpit. Most noticeable are the full-blown Alcantara bucket seats and copious carbon-fibre panels. The floors are aluminium plates with a light covering, while the glovebox has been deleted for reduced volume below.
The 488 Pista is priced from $645,000 plus on-road costs and any options buyers might choose from an extensive list.