For decades the Geneva Motor Show has been a forum for new Ferrari introductions, and the tradition continues with the unveiling of the 488 Pista, another supercar with race worthy credentials. Supercar is a word that can be applied to almost any new Ferrari, but the 2019 Ferrari 488 Pista is more super than most, a sports car that straddles the boundary between road cars and its World Endurance Championship racer, the 488 GTE, as well as the cars that compete in the Ferrari Challenge series.

Street legal but eminently track capable (“pista” is the Italian word for track) the new 488 is the latest in a line of torrid mid-engine 2-seaters: 360 Stradale, 430 Scuderia, and 458 Speciale. Compared to the 488 GTB, its close cousin, the 488 Pista will hit the streets with more power, more aerodynamic downforce, more technology, and less mass.

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Hottest V8 yet

Sophisticated aerodynamics have far more to do with race track performance than sheer muscle, but horsepower is the most understandable metric of a go-faster package, and the 488 has plenty of it. The 488’s twin-turbo 3.9-liter V8 huffs up 710 horsepower at 8,000 rpm and 568 lb-ft of torque at 3,000 rpm, compared to the same engine in the 488 GTB that’s rated for 661 horsepower and 561 lb-ft. Ferrari flatly states that the Pista engine is “the most powerful V8 in Ferrari history.”

More significant is the power-to-weight factor. At 2,822 pounds without fluids (oil, etc.), the Pista is almost 200 pounds lighter than the 488 GTB.

What all this adds up to is torrid acceleration. According to Ferrari, the Pista will sprint to 62 mph in 2.9 seconds, to 124 mph in 7.6 and tops out at 211 mph. Heady numbers indeed, and the acceleration stats may even be conservative.

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Aerodynamic upgrades

As noted, maximum power isn’t the only component of minimizing lap times. The Pista also represents a significant gain in terms of aerodynamic efficiency. Key elements start with the Pista’s dimensions—fractionally lower, almost an inch wider, and 1.5 inches shorter than the 488 GTB. The new front bumper adopts a front splitter like that of the GTE race car, the rear fenders are vented to improve air flow, the rear deck sports a new spoiler, and the nose sports a wide vent straddling the hood between the headlights.

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Ferrari calls it the “S-duct,” a concept briefly (and successfully) employed by the company’s Formula One team a decade earlier—briefly, because it was outlawed by the FIA the following season. The duct extracts air from the front splitter and directs it over the hood. The sum of the various aero tweaks is a skin that’s good for a 20 percent improvement in downforce, according to Ferrari–not to mention wicked good looks.

Sophistication extends to the Pista’s electronics, which are grouped under the heading of Ferrari’s Side Slip Angle Control system (SSC). The sixth-gen system supervises the car’s magnetic dynamic adaptable shocks, electronic limited slip differential, traction control, stability control, and—new in this generation of SSC—the Ferrari Dynamic Enhancer (FDE). FDE software controls the brake calipers, interpreting the driver’s braking urgency and modifying system pressure to achieve the desired degree of stopping power.

Like other Ferrari introductions at the Geneva show, the 488 Pista is expected to become available to well-heeled Ferrari buyers by early fall. Pricing remains to be seen, but anticipate a sticker above the pricing of the 488 GTB, which opens at just over $300,000.

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