The Prancing Horse has just pulled the covers off the 488 GT3 Evo race car just in time for the upcoming 2020 season championships with a focus on aerodynamics, vehicle dynamics, ergonomics, safety and reliability.
As a refresher, the GT3 class was created in 2005 as the third rung in the ladder of grand touring motorsports below the FIA-sanctioned GT1 and GT2 classes. Since then, GT3 has grown to become the de facto category for many racing series with around 20 manufacturers building machines for it.
Ferrari is no stranger to this category and has been making homologated race machines since 2006 - starting with the F430 Scuderia GT3 - which competed in a variety of championships. Since its introduction, the brand has continued to hone and refine the breed and two generations after its debut, we arrive at the 488 GT3 Evo.
The company says that over 18,000 hours of CFD simulations have been conducted along with extensive wind tunnel testing following the introduction of a newly-designed bumper, frontal section below the headlights, downforce generating flicks and turning vanes inside the splitter. Additionally, the vents over the front quarter panels are much larger with the front section of the door tapered for better lateral flow while the vents on the rear wing have also been completely redesigned.
In terms of vehicle dynamics, the Evo is constructed on a slightly longer wheelbase like the one found on GTE-spec (E for endurance) cars. The rationale being optimised tyre wear, which makes the Evo a suitable candidate for GTE-class championships (upon addition of the Endurance package, of course). Weight reduction is key to any race machine and engineers have been successful in reducing the Evo’s mass therefore allowing for more ballast which can be positioned to lower the centre of gravity.
No performance upgrades have been made to the twin turbocharged 3.9-litre F154 V8 powerhouse. However, it does benefit from a new engine management system which is said to improve reliability and torque delivery. In terms of driver safety, the Evo debuts with a new seat design which meets newer FIA regulations and developed jointly with Sabelt, weighing some 2.4kg less than before.
As mentioned, clients who intend to run the Evo in GTE-class races will benefit from the specifically designed 24H/Endurance package offered. This includes Le Mans-type 4,500-lumen LED headlights, quick-fill couplings for engine oil and coolant (with additional sensors and warning lights), a carbon fibre clutch, endurance-spec brake callipers and steel wheel nuts.
Moving on from the 488 GT3 Evo, we arrive at the 488 Challenge Evo. While they are basically the same cars, the 488 Challenge Evo (which competes in Ferrari’s own one-make championship) isn’t required to meet FIA class regulations. Instead the Challenge Evo is more hardcore with its comprehensively redesigned aero package which delivers 50% more overall downforce than the current 488 Challenge. The Challenge Evo introduces, for the first time, the option to modify front downforce independently from the rear so that the driver can set up the car’s balance without having to change its ride height. Other differences include new brakes, tyres, steering wheel, and ABS management software.
The new components and improvements introduced in the 2020 version of the 488 GT3 Evo and 488 Challenge Evo are also available as upgrade kits for the 488 GT3 but no prices have been announced.