For some time now, there have been rumours of Ferrari reviving the ‘GTO’ badge with a more track-focused version of the 488. Over the last few months, we’ve also seen some spy shots of camouflaged prototypes doing the rounds including at the Nurburgring Nordschleife. This week, our photographer has managed to spot what looks like a near-production tester in Maranello.

Although parts of the prototype are still disguised, you can see the air intakes up front are larger than those in the 488 GTB and that the nose has been tweaked slightly to give it a sharper appearance than the GTB. The air intakes on either side of the car are also new suggesting higher performance and power output. While the powerplant will remain the same, the 3.9-litre twin-turbo V8 is likely to put out nearly 700 horsepower, which will be around 30 to 40 horses more than what the same block makes in the GTB. It’s also likely that the hardcore 488 could employ a kinetic energy recovery system similar to the one used in the LaFerrari, which recovers energy from the engine and the braking system.

It’s also expected to be significantly lighter, with the total weight likely to be kept below 1,400kg. These, along with tweaks to the chassis and aerodynamics will result in a meaner, much fiercer version of the 488 that will be good enough to take on the likes of Porsche’s 911 GT2 RS, which we drove a couple of weeks ago. 

Whether it will actually bear the celebrated GTO suffix will be known closer to the official debut, which could be in March 2018 at the Geneva Motor Show. Watch this space for further updates.