This isn’t how you’re supposed to race something with the iconic Challenge badge :(

I think back to the days before I could drive… to the days when my only real experience behind the wheel involved sitting in front of a big-at-the-time-screen TV playing the very first Gran Turismo on my Playstation. I was just 13 years old when the game came out, and maybe I had taken a few short joyrides before that point in life, but nothing like grabbing the wheel, slapping the pedals, and shifting gears like I would learn to love later in life. As such, going to the races with my old man meant dragging out the cooler, grabbing some food and beer, and spending the day at the track. For him, it was all about the sport, the driver, the man who reigned supreme on that day. For me, it was more about seeing the cars crash. Of course, that was back before I could really appreciate what a travesty this can be when it happens to the wrong cars, but when you’re young, that’s the most entertaining part. Fast forward to today, and seeing a $300,000-plus makes my manhood hurt, my heart stop, and my eyes tear up. After all, seeing a beautiful exotic meet its maker isn’t exactly for someone with a weak stomach.

And, that brings me to the very sad reason that I’m here talking to you today. As we moved from September into October, the Ferrari Challenge kicked off at Homestead Miami Speedway down in beautiful Florida. When you consider the disaster caused by Hurricane Irma just weeks ago, it’s amazing that we are even lucky enough to see some of the finest exotics in the world take to the track. In this case, I’m talking about the Ferrari 488 Challenge,a car that is success none other than the Ferrari 458 Challenge, F430 Challenge, 360 Challenge, F355 Challenge, and the very first Ferrari 348 Challenge that graced the track from 1993 to 1995. Needless to say, the 488 Challenge has some serious proteins in his DNA. But that didn’t stop a rather unfortunate and unhappy accident during the Ferrari Challenge. Fortunately, the drivers of the two cars involved were okay (so we’re told, anyway) but as you’ll see from this amazing in-car footage that in itself is a miracle. Click on the “Read More” button to see the short video for yourself and learn more about not only the 488 Challenge but Homestead Miami Speedway as well.

A Little Nudge Can Do a Lot of Damage

2017 Ferrari 488 Challenge

2017 Ferrari 488 Challenge High Resolution Exterior
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The Ferrari 488 Challenge debuted in December of 2016 as a replacement for the Ferrari 458 Challenge in the 2017 racing season. It made its first track appearance back in January of 2017 at Daytona International Speedway and as part of the Ferrari Challenge North American Season found its way to Homestead Miami Speedway where that unfortunate accident you just watched took place. Unlike its predecessor, the 488 Challenge didn’t make use of a V-12 – the 4.5-liter V-12 was an iconic piece of machinery, to say the least – but instead makes use of a force-fed, 3.9-liter V8. This is a huge deal for Ferrari and those who embark on a journey around the track, but in the end, it turned out to be a serious and welcomed upgrade.

That little V-8 with its 660 horsepower and 560 pound-feet of torque makes the 488 Challenge the most powerful Challenge car to date

And why is it a welcomed upgrade? Well, it’s so welcomed because that little V-8 – which happens to deliver the same 660 horsepower and 560 pound-feet of torque as the road-going 488 GTB it is based on – makes the 488 Challenge the most powerful Challenge car to date and a real joy to watch in these classic single-make races. And, while it may offer the same output as the GTB, it’s not just a GTB with extra carbon fiber. No; this baby gets a few revisions to prepare it for its intense and demanding track life. To kick things off, the engine gets a special remapping that provides optimized performance while the transmission receives shorter gear ratios, ultimately providing as much as an 11.6-percent increase in acceleration. The shifting strategy of the F1 DCT transmission also gets the car from a dead stop to max engine speed in fourth gear in as little as six seconds – not bad.

2017 Ferrari 488 Challenge High Resolution Exterior
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The lighter, race-spec components shaved off some 43 pounds, while a light-weight racing exhaust dropped nearly 19 more pounds. The Challenge benefits from the GTB’s Slip Angle Control Software (SACS) while the use of dual manettinos allows for a more customizable setup on the fly. Add in the revised aerodynamics and the 488 Challenge is an entire second quicker on the Fiorano race track than its predecessor, the 458 Challenge, and a second slower (lap time of 1:15.5) than the Ferrari FXX-K. It’s also a second quicker than the FXX Evoluzione and four-seconds faster than the infamous LaFerrari on the same track. When compared to its road-going counterpart, the Challenge can beat out the 488 GTB by a staggering eight seconds – sorry GTB guys, it’s not the same car…

The 488 Challenge is an entire second quicker on the Fiorano race track than its predecessor, the 458 Challenge

With that said, you know that the 488 Challenge doesn’t come cheap, so that crash you saw earlier wasn’t exactly something you laugh about later. Official pricing seems to be a bit elusive as of the time of this writing, but with the 488 GTB starting at about $270,000 and the 458 Challenge commanding around $300,000, the 488 Challenge probably taps the wallet at somewhere around $320,000 - $350,000 plus your wide, the first-born, and probably 30 years of alimony. But hey, we’re talking about a Challenge here, right?

Venue of Disaster

In-Car Footage of Ferrari 488 Challenge Crash Hits Us Right in the Feels
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Homestead Miami Speedway hasn’t exactly been around for the longest time, but it’s not a spring chicken either. August 24th, 1993 saw the groundbreaking ceremony while November 3rd, 1995 was the official dedication date. Just two days later on November 5, 1995, the Jiffy Lube Miami 300, as part of the NASCAR XFINITY Series kicked off as the first official race. It has since served as a place for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, and the Indy Racing League. All told, it can hold a total of 55,000 fans in the grandstands and has an overall size of 600 acres. The five-level tower sits as high as a 12-story building and oversees the 1.5-mile oval and 2.21-mile road course. The front and rear straights are both locked at 1,760 feet with a 3-degree bank while the turns come at a bank of 18-20 degrees. The track is just 55 feet wide while pit road comes in at 50 feet wide and 1,900 feet long. A total of 30 garage stalls can serve as a temporary home for as many as 120 cars. The suites above each garage allow for viewing from above and 750 monitors on the property promise that everyone in attendance saw those two 488s meet their maker. Fun fact: it takes some 2.4 million Watts of power to illuminate the speedway per hour – enough to provide 17,143 residential blocks with light!


Ferrari 488 Challenge

2017 Ferrari 488 Challenge High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2017 Ferrari 488 Challenge.

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