The anticipation that has been building since the 2019 Finali Mondiali is finally coming to a resolution as the Ferrari 488 Challenge Evo will take to the track for the first time at Road Atlanta. Headlining the changes between the outgoing 488 Challenge and the new Evo package are upgraded aerodynamics producing a significant increase in downforce, improved tires from Pirelli that will enable the drivers to push harder over the full race distance plus the upgraded electronics and driver interface to support all of these enhancements.
Visually, the new 488 Challenge Evo is most strikingly marked by a completely revised front end, which is home to the most significant aerodynamic changes to the car. While the new nose is certainly a significant aesthetic improvement, it’s the space underneath the new nose that has the most important aerodynamic updates with a new floor and adjustable flaps incorporated. The flaps offer an important tuning opportunity, allowing the driver to select between high and low downforce configurations. The flaps, however, are not driver controlled, only the team can make the adjustment, and only when the car is sitting still, so careful analysis must be made before the car goes out on track.
Passing down the side of the car, the 488 Challenge Evo is also marked by a small winglet underneath the wing mirrors. This winglet seems to be pointed in such a way as to generate lift, but in fact it is there to re-direct hot air from the radiators and ensure it does not enter the intercooler intakes further along the flank of the car. So, while a nominal amount of lift is generated, it is more than counter-balanced by the increase in power that comes from the improved efficiency of the intercoolers.
At the rear of the 488 Challenge is a revised rear bumper, which features three critical enhancements. The first is the revised rear-wing endplates, which on the Evo are bowed in slightly at the bottom. These endplates interact with the second enhancement, the holes cut in the bumper behind each rear wheel. These holes exhaust air from the wheel well and reduce the aerodynamic drag on the car. The rear-wing endplates interact with this airflow and help to pull the air out from this space and bring it into contact with the air already being worked by the rear wing. The last, but perhaps most critical enhancement, however, is the revised rear-facing camera. The 488 Challenge car as well as the Evo does not have a rear-view mirror, so drivers rely on this camera to see those behind.
The Ferrari 488 Challenge Evo also makes use of a new and improved tire, provided by Pirelli. After receiving feedback from the drivers, Pirelli were able to design a tire with a higher performance ceiling and a more consistent performance through the race, allowing drivers to push harder and for longer than previously.
The combination of improvements offers a significant step up in performance and is certain to make this weekend’s Ferrari Challenge racing action can’t miss.