It’s the SP38, prosaic name for what is a striking one-off with an all-new body clothing the chassis and running gear of the 488 GTB. Visually arresting it may be, but can it really hold a candle to the 1987 F40?
They are both twin turbos of course, though the new car, revealed in Maranello for the first time today, does have a power and performance advantage (661bhp and 0-62 in 3.0 seconds plays the old timer’s 478bhp and 4.1 seconds).
No, it is more the new body that is said to reprise some flavour of the F40, or, as Ferrari puts it, “to reference the mighty F40 as an icon from which to instruct the project’s general direction.”
The obvious clue to that is the slats across the engine cover, allowing engine heat to escape. The F40 famously had louvred plexiglass at the back and while the SP38 can’t match that, it does shed its rear screen and has an entire rear body section that lifts up for access to the engine, F40 fashion. The carbon-fibre rear end has shutlines that cut down to the wheel arches like its forebear.
Ferrari says the rear spoiler “hints” at the F40’s famous rear wing but we can’t really see it. In more ways what the car hints at is the opposition from Woking.
One of the car’s biggest changes over the 488 GTB is the concealment of side air scoops – taking a leaf out of the McLaren 720S’s book perhaps? In place of the 488’s scoops is a fold of smoothly-surfaced sheet metal that extends back to the wheel arches, emphasising, even more, their muscularity. All the bodywork is new, as is the paint job: it’s a three-layer metallic red.
The newest from Ferrari’s One-Off programme, the SP38 was commissioned by “one of Ferrari’s most dedicated customers with a deep passion for racing” who after the handover at the factory let it off its lead around Fiorano. The car is also road registered.
And what does it cost to get Ferrari to make you a one-off? Answers on a postcard, please… Meanwhile, you can see the car in the flesh for the first time at the upcoming Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este on Saturday May 26th.