What a time to be alive and well, and a car enthusiast. Mere moments after Maranello revealed its latest track weapon last week, Weissach hit back with a German take on apex authority. If your idea of a great Friday night is breathing 98 Octane, brake dust, and expensive French rubber on the side of the Yas Marina South circuit, both Ferrari and Porsche have just the cars for you.
Well, except that Ferrari doesn’t, because every single 488 Pista has already been sold.
The latest red car to roll out of the gates at No. 4 Via Abetone Inferiore is the fourth special series insta-classic following the skid marks of the 360 Challenge Stradale, 430 Scuderia and 458 Speciale. The new 488 Pista, then, is mid-engined with a 3.9-litre twin-turbocharged V8 driving the rear wheels, in the closest embodiment of track-to-road from the Scuderia yet.
Directly conceived as a development of Ferrari’s FIA World Endurance Championship involvement, where the team’s won its class five times in six years taking 29 victories out of 50 races, the 488 Pista is a track car with licence plates, obsessive in pursuit of performance. The concept is simple: decrease weight, increase power and downforce. The methods, extreme.
To punch out 720 horsepower, 50 more than in the stock 488 GTB and an incredible 185 horsepower per litre, the engine gains Inconel exhaust manifolds and a lightweight flat-plane crankshaft, as well as a lighter flywheel and tricks such as titanium con-rods and carbon-fibre intake plenums. The turbos get more clean air through the intakes moved to the rear wing from the flanks.
In all the 488 Pista weights in 90kg lighter than the 488 GTB with a total of 1,280kg, and runs the zero to 100kph sprint in a quoted 2.85 seconds. Top speed is 340kph.
Racing technology includes an S-duct aerodynamic system in the new nose design, and what Ferrari calls a dolphin-tail spoiler. Carbon fibre wheels measuring 20in in diameter fill the wider wells shod with Michelin track tyres. Maranello hasn’t publicised any lap times around Ferrari’s Fiorano test track, but you can expect the 488 Pista to be about as quick as the LaFerrari hybrid hypercar around the 3.0km circuit.
Anyway, since you can’t have one, you might be interested in the new Porsche 911 GT3 RS, a relative bargain at 700 grand. It’s cheaper and it’s slower, but the Weissach weapon isn’t any less obsessed with track times.
With a race-bred 4.0-litre flat-six naturally-aspirated engine, what you lose in the Porsche to the Ferrari (the GT3 RS is 200bhp down on the 488 Pista) you make up with a 9,000rpm limit. The wide-body is decked out in carbon fibre, with a fixed rear wing and carbon ceramic brakes, and 21in wheels, and bucket seats, a roll-cage and a bit of ribbon to open the doors. Like on the GT2, the GT3 RS also comes available with magnesium components, and a bunch of carbon fibre panels including (optionally, if you spec the Weissach package) the roof, and even the little shift paddles behind the wheel. The package costs about $18,000 and saves less than six kilos. Spec it all properly, and you get 0-100kph in 3.2 seconds and a 312kph top speed.
See you in the pits. Or maybe the sand trap.