There are moments that leave their mark, like the sum of all your fantastic “firsts”. I was born a few kilometers away from Maranello; as a child, I would hang on fence around the track, living it from the outside. To find myself in Fiorano driving the new Ferrari 488 Pista for the first time was a mix of memories and emotions that only the Cavallino can create.
A little background
No special version has ever been so extreme. The list gives me goosebumps, from the first Challenge 348, the 355, 360 Challenge Stradale, the 430 Scuderia designed with Michael Schumacher, up to the 458 Speciale (the name says it all). It is designed for speed, which is clear even when the motor isn’t running; the aerodynamic refinement stands out with flashy elements that are functional. The Pista’s efficiency is 20 percent more than the GTB due to modifications, including an internal S-Duct, the 488 GTE’s lateral flicks, and ducts that move air from the sides to the rear spoiler, directly connected to the engine’s air inlet.
How it Drives
It’s a tradition for Ferrari: baptism by fire. Alongside Cavallino’s head pilot, Raffaele De Simone, we take a few “warm-up” laps, which should explain it all. The Pista’s smooth harmony in taking curve after curve is disarming, and over 180km/h, the aerodynamic downforce becomes evident.
My three laps in Fiorano (quality, not quantity!) surprised me. I never expected to drive with immediate confidence. The dual-clutch, 7-speed DCT transmission is said to be faster than 30 milliseconds in Race, but what impressed me the most was the violence of the change to the second clutch, which could be felt in the rear axle only when driving straight on.
I never expected to drive Fiorano with immediate confidence.
Brembo’s fantastic braking system, taken from the 488 Challenge, has a master cylinder that shortens the pedal distance, giving the driver confidence when taking curves on the track (the real playground for this supercar).
The Pista is faster an more responsive than the GTB, and yet remains easier to control in oversteer. This balance is satisfying for the sports car lover, seeing as in CT-OFF, the new Ferrari Dynamic Enhancer system helps the driver “guide” the car in a small window of 30 to 40 degrees of yaw. With all the controls deactivated, it is full throttle, but the beauty of the highly-evolved CT-OFF is Ferrari’s control’s down-to-the-millimeter precision, smooth and accommodating for the driver. Despite its name (pista-track), the adaptive suspension is perfect for the road, especially on uneven asphalt.
It has 50 horsepower more than the GTB, and 115 in comparison to the 458 Speciale, all thanks to the important fine-tuning of the almost 4.0-liter, dual-turbo V8. It gives back with an impressive 720 horsepower at 8000 rpm and 568 pound-feet at 3000 rpm. It is 198 pounds less than the GTB, gracing the track as Ferrari’s car with the best weight-to-power ratio in history. It’s no problem believing that at Fiorano, the Pista did a lap in 1:21.5, two seconds less than the GTB and 458 Speciale.
The Pista is in direct competition in every aspect with the Porsche 911 GT2 RS and McLaren 720S, including the price. It costs 296,000 euro, excluding various options, like carbon-fiber wheels that reduce the car’s weight by 20 percent. A big selling point is its availability: Ferrari’s 488 Pista is not a limited edition, but will be manufactured for a limited amount of time, so if you are keeping your eye on it (and have the budget to make a move), make your move now!
Gallery: 2018 Ferrari 488 Pista at Fiorano proving grounds
2018 Ferrari 488 Pista