Ferrari’s current lineage of special-series mid-engined V8s began in the early 1990s. Starting in 1992, Ferrari made just over 100 examples of the 348 Speciale, which had more power, shorter gearing, a wider rear track and stickier tyres.
In 1999, Ferrari produced the limited-run F355 Fiorano and followed it in 2003 with the 360 Challenge Stradale. The 430 Scuderia was the Speciale’s immediate forebear, unveiled in 2007 and made into a drop-top Spider 16M the year after.
In simplistic terms, the road to the Speciale can be summed up in four words: more power, less weight.
There are other, more detailed changes, too, obviously, but those are the cornerstones around which everything else is shaped.
Power first, then. The normally aspirated, flat-plane crank V8 retains its 4497cc swept capacity but receives new cam geometry with higher valve lift, shorter inlet manifolds and different pistons providing a higher compression ratio.
Internal friction has been reduced, too, through the use of uprated materials and the upshot is 597bhp (up from 562bhp) generated at the engine’s 9000rpm limit. Torque is the same, at 398lb ft, still delivered at 6000rpm.
The engine is mated to a seven-speed, dual-clutch gearbox whose upshifts, we were told at the launch of such gearboxes, are all but instant. That’s still true, but Ferrari has improved the response time to a pull on the lever and made the engine rev-match more quickly on downshifts to reduce the time that those take.