After its world premiere at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance®, the new special series Ferrari 488 Pista Spider has made its European debut at the 2018 Paris Motor Show. The 50th drop-top model to be introduced by the Prancing Horse is also the most powerful series production spider in Ferrari history, with an unprecedented weight/power ratio of 1.92 kg/cv. The Ferrari 488 Pista Spider combines the finest race-developed technological solutions with the joy of en plein air driving to deliver an exhilarating experience behind the wheel. The driver feels absolutely as one with the car in a symbiotic relationship that guarantees instantaneous responsiveness to commands and absolute control when executing even the most complex manoeuvres. This is hardly surprising as the Ferrari 488 Pista Spider benefits from the greatest technological transfer from the track of any road-legal open-top car.
The model’s engine, dynamics and aerodynamics are derived from two track cars: the 488 Challenge and the 488 GTE. The latter won the GT class of the FIA World Endurance Championship in 2017, thus giving Ferrari a total of five GT Manufacturers’ titles since the championship’s inception in 2012. Furthermore, this model has very clearly benefited from the extensive development work done to produce the coupé version, the 488 Pista. The Ferrari 488 Pista Spider sports the most powerful V8 engine in Maranello history which was also named Best Engine for the third consecutive year at the 2018 International Engine of the Year Awards. The 3902cc twin-turbo V8 unleashes 720 cv (50 cv more than the 488 Spider) with torque calibrated to deliver a feeling of constant, ever-increasing acceleration. The engine also won the special “Best of the Best” title as the top engine of all the winners of the last 20 years.
Its performance figures are the highest of any spider ever built by the Prancing Horse, including 0-100 km/h acceleration in 2.85 seconds and a lap time at Fiorano of just 1’21″5. The Ferrari 488 Pista Spider’s target client is a typical diehard Ferrarista who already owns other Ferrari spiders. These are drivers that want to feel all the power and speed the 488 Pista Spider is capable of yet also enjoy drop-top driving and the soundtrack of that unparalleled engine. But the innovations are not confined merely to a boost in power output – they also extend to an overall reduction in weight and beyond. In fact, the Ferrari 488 Pista Spider delivers even better handling, making it one of the most enthralling models Ferrari has ever produced, thanks also to multiple innovations in various different areas.
In terms of its characteristics and performance, the Ferrari 488 Pista Spider’s engine sets the benchmark not just for new generation turbo engines but all engines, including naturally aspirated ones. This is why it was voted “Engine of the Year” for three years running: 2016, 2017 and 2018. It is also the most powerful V8 ever sported by a road-going Ferrari in terms of both its overall and specific power outputs. It also delivers the highest power increase over the model it was developed from, the 488 Spider. The Ferrari 488 Pista Spider can unleash 720 cv at 8,000 rpm -50 cv more than the 488 Spider and 115 cv more than the previous special version. Its specific power output has been upped to a best-in-class 185 cv/l. Maximum torque is higher at all engine speeds, peaking at 770 Nm (10 Nm more than the 488 Spider) and is available from 3,000 rpm. These results were achieved thanks to the new engine intake layout developed for the 488 Challenge, with the intakes moved from the flanks to the rear spoiler area, ensuring a higher volume and cleaner flow of air to the engine, thereby contributing to the increase in power.
The vehicle dynamics developed for this drop-top V8 special series car thus offer a seamless combination of superb acceleration, braking efficiency, steering precision, grip, stability and handling that produces an unparalleled and genuinely immersive driving experience. This is thanks in part to the Ferrari Dynamic Enhancer (FDE) which makes controlling the lateral dynamics in high performance situations more intuitive, controllable and predictable. To achieve these objectives, Ferrari’s engineers had to work on several fronts, starting with introducing numerous lightweight solutions as well as evolving both a new generation of the Side Slip Control System (SSC 6.0), improving the efficiency of the braking system and the introduction of new Michelin Sport Cup 2 tyres. As was the case in the 488 Pista, the Spider features a lateral dynamics control system that uses Ferrari software to adjust the brake pressure at the callipers. The Ferrari Dynamic Enhancer (FDE) is available when the manettino is in the “CT-OFF” position. It regulates the lateral dynamics parameters, including side slip angle estimation. The control system intervenes in advance, lightly actuating the callipers through, and exiting corners.
In-depth aerodynamics research played a big part in improving the Ferrari 488 Pista Spider’s performance. Working on a concept focused on uncompromising innovation and performance allowed considerable engineering freedom in developing significant solutions. The already-exceptional aerodynamic efficiency of the 488 Spider has been improved by 20%, with major benefits in terms of absolute speed and lap times on medium-fast tracks as well as sheer fun behind the wheel. This substantial improvement is due in great part to the radical choices made for the bodywork and underbody forms with the aim of increasing downforce without increasing the car’s drag coefficient. In fact, the 488 Pista Spider takes the aerodynamic concepts adopted on the 488 Spider from which it is derived and moulds them into a much more technically extreme and ambitious package. Examples are the active aerodynamics on the rear underbody and a completely redesigned version of the blown spoiler (patented on the 488 GTB).
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