Unlimited thrill

04 May 2021

The first limited edition Ferrari 488 GT Modificata has been delivered to its owner, but what experience awaits behind the wheel…?

Words - Chris Rees

With the 488 GT3 and GTE, Ferrari has created two of the most successful GT racers of all time, as readily attested by their multiple titles in the World Endurance Championship and at Le Mans. But with their ultimate performance restricted by the sport’s technical regulations, what heights could these cars achieve if they were freed from these limitations?

That’s the tantalising question that clients have been asking for some time in the world of Ferrari Competizioni GT. Now the 488 GT Modificata is the definitive answer. Freed from the shackles of endurance racing rules, the 488 GT Modificata is the pinnacle of what is achievable: a strictly track­only GT that delivers maximum performance and driving pleasure to a special few.

Alessandra Todeschini, Head of Ferrari Competizioni GT, explains: ‘The 488 GT Modificata is exceptionally pure in concept. It is the highest performing car it can possibly be, combining the best of the 488 GT3 and 488 GTE, while at the same time advancing areas like power, cooling and aerodynamics.’

Significantly, the 488 GT Modificata is also the very first Ferrari ever conceived specifically for Club Competizioni GT. Until now, only pure Ferrari race cars have been eligible, from the F40 Competizione to the current 488 GTE and GT3. In contrast, while conceived and engineered in Ferrari’s racing department, the new 488 GT Modificata is not destined for competition.

But what can drivers expect when they get behind the wheel? ‘The most impactful thing you will experience is definitely the astonishing acceleration: it’s a clear advance,’ reveals Ferdinando Cannizzo, Head of GT Racing Cars Design & Development. ‘You can also hear the difference, especially at high revs: the sound ‘hugs’ you in a more Ferrari­like way.’

At the heart of the experience is the stunningly powerful engine: its output of around 700cv is a full 100cv more than the 488 GT3 and GTE. This exceptional V8 twin­turbo powerplant has a new control system, specific mapping, higher turbocharger speeds and modified engine internals.

Development of the 488 GT Modificata was constantly informed by racing experience, and extensive testing at the Nürburgring’s ‘long’ Nordschleife circuit in Germany proved the concept. ‘We developed the 488 GT Modificata alongside the 488 GT3 Evo 2020 at the Nordschleife,’ Cannizzo explains. ‘We’ve used the 488 GTE’s suspension, while the braking set-up uses an ABS system borrowed from the 488 GT3 Evo 2020, with specific settings.’

Like the 488 GTE, the bodywork of the 488 GT Modificata is almost entirely in carbon­fibre. Its unique aerodynamic configuration delivers over 1,000kg of downforce at 230km/h whilst the power increase leads to a considerably higher top speed.

So what are the results? ‘In terms of lap times, we are talking not about fractions of seconds but multiple seconds of advantage,’ boasts Cannizzo. ‘For instance, at fast circuits like Monza or Spa, this car can be five seconds quicker than a 488 GT3.’

Another significant attraction of the 488 GT Modificata is that it has two seats, unlike pure racing cars. A driving specialist from Ferrari could sit alongside, perhaps, for tuition and to help take advantage of the full on­board telemetry. Or maybe a family member or a friend, now able to enjoy the uniquely exhilarating experience of taking to the track in a Ferrari Club Competizioni GT car?

In keeping with the Ferrari mission to focus on the driver, several personalisation options are offered. For instance, different gearbox ratios can be selected, specific seats are ordered in terms of shape and size, as well as, of course, an external livery tailored to your individual wishes.

The first car has been delivered to its owner, and huge excitement is already building for the Club Competizioni calendar ahead. ‘We have built the new 488 GT Modificata to fulfil the wishes of our clients,’ concludes Alessandra Todeschini. ‘It is they who have truly created this piece of our history.’