Ferrari’s 2020 racing weapons: 488 Challenge and GT3 Evo
Three years after the current 488 Challenge’s debut at Daytona comes the Evo version, just in time for the 2020 season. Ferrari claims that better performance is guaranteed by higher downforce levels and new Pirelli tires, but the recipe is a touch more complex than that.
Ferrari explains, “A comprehensive redesign of the front of the car ensures an increase of 30 percent in aerodynamic efficiency compared to the 488 Challenge. The length of the front overhang has been altered to boost overall downforce and optimise the balance. The profiles of the radiator grille intakes have been lengthened and, at the centre of the bumper, a U-shaped intake feeds the front brakes. In the lower part of the bumper, a large splitter with turning vanes at the ends improves the control and direction of the airflow from the side vents. The sides of the bumper have been re-proportioned by reducing the surface volume to allow the adoption of a second side flick, improving the quality of the airflow. The car thus has 50-percent more overall downforce than the current 488 Challenge.”
While the improved downforce over the front axle reduces understeer, it also gives the teams the option of modifying the front setup independently of the rear, changing the car’s balance without adjusting the ride height. Ferrari says the aerodynamic-balance “dialogues” on the E-Diff3 and F1-TCS control systems (based on the Side Slip Control) also offer new dedicated settings, and by estimating the optimal yaw angle, these aids will improve traction out of the corners even further.
At the rear of the car, you’ll see some clues lifted from the FXX-K, including massive new exit vents both in the bumper and the engine air outlet grille. To make all that extra downforce stick, Pirelli added its new rubber compound to tires measuring 275/675-19 at the front and 315/705-19 at the rear. Ferrari threw in redesigned front discs and larger rear discs, thus reducing brake wear.
Inside the roll cage, lucky 488 Challenge drivers will be looking at an FXX-K Evo/488 GTE-inspired steering wheel, with a Manettino switch featuring two dry and two wet ABS strategies. The 488 GTE’s rear camera has also been introduced, with all the new components and improvements also available as upgrade kits for existing Challenge cars.
Of course, Ferrari’s real weapon is the 488 GT3 Evo, which now shares a longer wheelbase with the 488 GTE.
Ferrari says more than 18,000 hours of calculations and CFD simulations, as well as wind tunnel testing, went into the design of a new bumper, which sports a smaller frontal section under the headlights. In order not to mess with the car’s already proven aerodynamic balance while improving downforce, a pair of flicks have been introduced, with the vanes inside the splitter now flipped. At the rear, the vents on the top of the wing also got enlarged, while the Evo’s door is further tapered to channel lateral flows more efficiently.
ABS and traction control settings got updated, while the twin-turbo V-8 comes with a new engine management system, despite packing unchanged hardware. The 2020 488 GT3 Evo also debuts a new seat developed jointly with Sabelt, which isn’t just more rigid, but is also 5.29 pounds lighter with its new belts and buckle. Ferrari cut weight in all areas in order to be able to package the ballast imposed by the Balance of Performance where it’s most beneficial.
For 2020, Ferrari’s standard 24H/Endurance package includes a front bumper with additional headlights, quick-fill couplings for engine oil and coolant, a carbon-fibre clutch, brake callipers adopted from the GTE, plus steel wheel nuts. They will also charge extra for coolant level sensors, refueling completion warning lights, and Le Mans-spec, 4500-lumen LED headlights.
As you’ve probably guessed, for the right figure, your 2019 488 GT3 can become a 2020 Evo in no time.