The Ferrari Challenge is a single-marque motorsport championship created for amateur drivers who wanted to become involved in racing. To mark the 25th anniversary of one-make series, the automaker has unveiled the sixth model to participate in the 2017 season, the Ferrari 488 Challenge.
The Ferrari 488 Challenge is the first ever turbo-charged model to race and is the most powerful Challenge car ever, powered by the 670 cv 3.9-litre V8 that came from the series production engine that took the overall 2016 International Engine of the Year Award. The vehicle is fitted with the F1 DCT transmission that features a new racing shift strategy which enables it to accelerate from a standstill to maximum revs in 4th gear in just six seconds.
The 488 Challenge features Ferrari’s patented Slip Slip Angle Control software, that improves the longitudinal acceleration through bends by 4.2%. A further significant development is the decoupling of the manettino function regulating the electronic vehicle dynamic controls and improved aerodynamics.
To achieve the technical objective of increasing the car’s aero efficiency while respecting the design, the front radiator layout was reworked, inverting the rake so that they are now inclined towards the rear. This solution improves the air flow over the radiators in racing conditions whilst, at the same time, reducing drag. The new layout required new vents at the bottom of the bumper ahead of the wheels. The reimagined front bumper has a more pronounced splitter and flicks to increase downforce and balance the rear load, for a 7% improvement in efficiency compared to the 458 Challenge EVO.
The front bonnet is all new with triple vents and integrated flaps to direct the hot airflow from the radiators rearwards. To increase stability at high speeds, the 488 Challenge features a bigger rear wing, with an air foil similar to that used on the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship-winning 488 GTE, which alone increases efficiency by 9% compared to the 458 Challenge EVO.
The aluminum pedals, carbon-fiber bits for the center stack and instrument panel, and a fire extinguishing system are found in the cockpit. The Ferrari 488 Challenge got rid of passenger seat and the driver’s seat was replaced by a race-spec unit with Alcantara upholstery.
The new Ferrari 488 Challenge will make its North American track debut in January 2017 at the Daytona International Speedway. The Ferrari Challenge North America season will also include races at Sonoma Raceway, Circuit of the Americas, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Lime Rock Park, and Homestead-Miami Speedway.