After Stradale, Scuderia and Speciale, meet the Pista, shown here for the first time ahead of an official unveiling at the Geneva Motor Show on March 6th.
Latest in an acclaimed line of go-faster specials from Ferrari – complete of course with go-faster stripes – the Pista (‘track’ in English) is a lighter, more powerful and more aerodynamically dynamic road/racer edition of the 488 GTB, featuring influences from the 488 GTE endurance racer – and with the McLaren 720S firmly in its sights. To match its rival from Britain, the Pista has been subjected to Ferrari’s biggest jump yet between standard coupe and special model.
Power from the 3.9-litre twin-turbo V8 has been upped by 49bhp, a larger power gain than that applied to any of the 488 Pista’s 360, 430 or 458 predecessors. There is now a McLaren-matching 720hp – a real 710bhp – on offer at a heady 8,000rpm, with torque gains across the range as well, peaking at 568 lb ft at 3000rpm.
It weighs an equally impressive 90kg less than the 488 GTB, tipping the scales at 1280kg dry. Lightweight engine parts – Inconel exhaust manifolds, lightweight crankshaft and flywheel, titanium con rods and carbon-fibre intake plenums – are central to the weight gain. The Pista also gains carbon engine cover, bumpers and rear spoiler while 20-inch carbon-fibre wheel rims are optional – for the first time on a Ferrari.
The go-faster Ferrari does indeed go faster: 0-62mph is now 2.85 seconds (against 3.0 for the 488 GTB) but more tellingly 0-124mph takes 7.6 seconds, which is two tenths up on McLaren’s quoted time for the 720S. Top speed of the Pista rises from the GTB’s 205mph to 211mph.
Which is quite some achievement because the Pista’s new aero boosts downforce by 20 per cent. Like the engine mods and dynamic tweaks, the Pista’s aerodynamics package is said to be derived from experience with both the 488 GTE and 488 Challenge race cars.
Most obvious change is the new floating wing effect across the car’s nose. The F1-inspired design is called S-Duct. Beneath it are redesigned splitter, new underbody vortex generators and, at the back, new double-kink diffuser from the GTE racer along with a larger and higher-mounted “dolphin tail” spoiler.
Ferrari’s stated intent with the Pista is to offer a car with “track-like performance on and off the road, even when in the hands of non-professional drivers”, with an emphasis on making the “performance limit easier to reach and control”. To help look after Pista pilots on track is a suite of Ferrari’s latest electronic dynamic aids.
The Side-Slip Angle Control system comprises not just E-Diff3, F1-Trac and magnetorheological suspension, but also for the first time the “Ferrari Dynamic Enhancer”. This uses software to adjust the brake pressure at the callipers for what Ferrari says fine-tunes the car’s line through and out of corners, allowing drivers more intuitive control of yaw angles on the limit.
Drivers can “develop a completely symbiotic relationship with the car resulting in the perfect combination of genuinely extreme performance and driving thrills,” asserts Ferrari.
Sounds good to us, but then any car in the footsteps of something like the 458 Speciale, often cited as Ferrari’s most undiluted V8 driving experience ever, is going to be special.
Special car, special price? That’s for sure. There are no details on cost or availability so far, but then the favoured few will almost certainly have their names in the order book already…