What is it?
There are two sports cars they just don’t get wrong. Most manufacturers, even these ones, occasionally turn out a duffer, but in the case of two vehicles – the GT3 RS version of a Porsche 911 and the special series version of Ferrari’s mid-engined V8 – they don’t miss a trick.
This is, I suspect, because they’re engineers’ cars. Purists’ cars. The first 911 GT3 RS, of 2003, only came about because Porsche needed to homologate two suspension links for racing. And the first mid-engined Ferrari special, the 360 Challenge Stradale, also of 2003, helped justify the Challenge race series. And throughout their iterations since, they haven’t missed a beat.
This, then, is Ferrari’s latest, the 488 Pista. Pista means 'track' or, apparently, ‘get out of the way!’, but I suppose either is appropriate enough.
The requisite link to motorsport is there, anyway. The Pista’s engine is, like a GT3 RS’s, effectively a race car motor, here from the 488 Challenge car. It was always in the plan that way: develop an engine that makes 50bhp more than the standard 488 GTB's, prove it in the one-make racing series car and eventually drop it into the ‘special’ variant.
Special doesn’t mean totally limited in production number, though; the Pista will join the rest of the 488 range while it's still on sale, albeit at relatively low volume. It retains a 3.9-litre V8 but now makes 710bhp at the same 8000rpm rev limiter and 568lb ft at 3000rpm, but only in seventh gear; torque is limited in lower gears to make what, since its launch, has been the best sporty turbocharged engine in the world feel less turbocharged, more naturally aspirated.