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This is the new 2017 Ferrari 488 Challenge, unveiled at the Finali Mondiali event in Daytona, USA. The all-new race car will replace the 458 Challenge in Ferrari’s Challenge one-make race series which celebrates its 25th anniversary next year.

The 488 Challenge introduces turbo to the circuit, powered by a tuned version of the 3,902 cc twin-turbo V8 motor from the road going 488 GTB, which of course won the overall 2016 International Engine of the Year award, along with the best new and performance engine categories. With the V8 turbo and aero/chassis improvements, the 488 Challenge is a full second faster than the 458 Challenge EVO on Fiorano, at a record 1m15.5s.

According to motorsport.com, the Challenge’s engine sports unique engine mapping optimised for racing performance, and shorter gear ratios to match. The powerplant’s variable torque management has been modified to prompt the driver to shift up at the ideal moment during longitudinal acceleration; this leads to maximum use of the turbo mill’s performance characteristics.

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The marque’s F1 DCT gearbox features a new “racing shift strategy” that enables the 488 Challenge to accelerate from a standstill to maximum revs in fourth gear in just six seconds. Overall powertrain weight has also been reduced.

Ferrari’s Side Slip Control (SSC) programme makes its debut on a Challenge model. Together with traction control and the E-Diff, it’s calibrated to improve turn-in, cornering and acceleration out of corners. The racing 488 allows its pilots to tailor handling to their driving style – vehicle control functions such as traction and braking are now governed independently with the adoption of three manettinos. One is dedicated to braking, while the other two are for traction control and the E-Diff.

Substantial aero work has gone into the 488 Challenge, while respecting the Berlinetta’s design. The front radiator layout was revised, inverting the rake so that they are now inclined towards the rear. This improves air flow over the radiators in racing conditions while reducing drag. It required new vents at the bottom of the bumper fore of the wheels.

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The front bumper is all-new, with a more pronounced splitter and flicks to increase downforce and balance the rear load – this brings 7% efficiency improvement compared to the 458 Challenge EVO. The new front bonnet has triple vents and integrated flaps to direct the hot airflow from the radiators rearwards.

Moving back, the latest racing/prancing horse sports a bigger rear wing with an air foil shape similar to that on this season’s World Endurance Championship (WEC) winning 488 GTE, which increases efficiency by 9% compared to the old Challenge car. The intakes on the rear flanks now direct cool air to the rear brakes, optimising downforce, while the engine air intakes are now positioned laterally under the rear spoiler.

Read our review of the road-going Ferrari 488 GTB, which starts from RM1,068,800 here before import duty and options.


GALLERY: Ferrari 488 GTB