The new version of the 488 GT3, which will compete in the main international GT championships in 2020, has just been unveiled at the 2019 Ferrari Finali Mondiali at Mugello. The new Evo package is the result of Ferrari’s desire to further refine certain aspects of one of the most successful cars in the marque’s history. This has been achieved using innovative concepts derived from its track experience and feedback from the teams competing with the 488 GT3. The engineers honed the Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020′s aerodynamics to boost the car’s stability with the new front-end design making a significant contribution. Over 18,000 hours of calculations and CFD simulations, followed by wind tunnel testing, went into the design of a new bumper with a smaller frontal section under the headlights. This has allowed the introduction of a pair of flicks to generate more downforce, making the car more stable without modifying the aero balance thanks in part to turning vanes inside the splitter. Aerodynamic development also extended to other areas of the front of the 488 GT3: the vents on top the wings are larger than the current model and the front section of the door is now more tapered to more efficiently channel lateral flows.
The Ferrari 488 GTE is a grand tourer racing car built by Ferrari’s in-house Competizioni GT unit, for competition in endurance racing. It is a replacement for the Ferrari 458 GT2 racing car, using the Ferrari 488 as a base. The car is built in accordance with the Automobile Club de l’Ouest/FIA LM GTE regulations introduced for the 2016 season, and it currently competes in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, FIA World Endurance Championship, and the European Le Mans Series. On 13 November 2017, it was confirmed by the Ferrari Competizioni GT technical coordinator, Ferdinando Cannizzo, that both the 488 GTE and GT3 would be receiving Evo kits, aimed at improving reliability, as well as aero performance optimization. The 488 GTE Evo had its shakedown test, at the Ferrari’s Fiorano Circuit, in Maranello, Italy on 30 March 2018. It was later suggested by Competizioni GT Technical Coordinator Ferdinando Cannizzo that the car could potentially remain in competition until 2021 with a second Evolution, instead of Ferrari developing a new car.
Aerodynamics, vehicle dynamics, ergonomics, safety and reliability were the main focuses of development, all, of course, in compliance with the strict power and aerodynamic efficiency performance limits imposed by FIA regulations. The 488 GT3’s vehicle dynamics have been key in its success, and this area has been further improved in the new 488 GT3 Evo 2020. The wheelbase is longer, as in the 488 GTE, to optimise tyre use, reduce tyre wear and facilitate the conversion from GT3 to GTE. The engineers also focused on reducing the car’s weight with the result that more ballast can be used to attain the minimum weight imposed by the Balance of Performance, thus lowering the centre of gravity. In addition all the vehicle dynamic controls, including the traction control and ABS, have been optimised. No performance upgrades have been made to the engine, a twin-turbo V8 with a 90-degree angle between the cylinder banks, nor have any components been modified. However, it does benefit from a new engine management system which improves reliability and guarantees smoother, more precise torque delivery.
The new components and improvements introduced in the 2020 version of the Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo are also available as upgrade kits for existing cars. The additional 24H/Endurance package is specifically designed for clients interested in that particular type of racing. The basic equipment includes a front bumper with additional headlights, quick-fill couplings for engine oil and coolant, carbon-fibre clutch, brake callipers adopted from the GTE and steel wheel nuts. Optional features include sensors for the coolant level and refuelling completion with warning lights, and Le Mans-type, 4,500 lumen LED main headlights. Endurance racing has evolved to the extent that it is increasingly resembling extended sprint racing. This demands meticulous attention to detail, including in the cockpit. The Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 debuts a new seat which meets the new FIA safety regulations. Developed jointly with Sabelt for both the GT3 and GTE, it is not only more rigid and robust but is also 2.4 kg lighter with new belts and a new buckle.
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