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Ferrari’s hardcore mid-engine V8 machines

Updated: May 3, 2023

360 Challenge Stradale

Just before the start of a new century in 1999, Ferrari revealed their all new mid-engine V8 sportscar: the F360. Compared to its predecessor, the F355, the F360 was an enormous step forward in all aspects and especially its design which looked way more modern than any other Ferrari did before. The car was available as both the coupe (Modena) and convertible (Spider), but in 2003 Ferrari came up with something more hardcore, like a racecar for the road: the 360 Challenge Stradale. The Challenge Stradale had a little power upgrade of 25 horsepower but more important was its weight reduction due to a carbon ceramic brake system, a different chassis, an exhaust system partly made of titanium and lots of carbon parts to save in total a 110kg of weight. With less than 1200 examples ever made the Challenge Stradale even is a very rare sight too but for this story more important; the beginning of a new era hardcore mid-engine V8 models!

430 Scuderia (16M)

So what came after the 360 Challenge Stradale? After Ferrari introduced the F430 as the successor of the F360, ofcourse a more track focused, hardcore version had to come too. The most successfull Formula 1 driver for the Scuderia Ferrari (Scuderia means stable, used in the context of motor racing teams), Michael Schumacher, unveiled that hardcore version of the F430 at the 2007 Frankfurt Auto Show. Its name? 430 Scuderia ofcourse! The 430 Scuderia saved about a 100kg weight compared to the normal F430 and with 510 horsepower at 8500rpm its engine was more powerfull too.

We already told you the hardcore version of the F430 is wearing the name of Ferrari’s Formula 1 racing team, well, after Ferrari won its 16th Formula 1 Constructor’s World Championship in 2008, they wanted to do something special to celebrate this big win with their clients; they created the 430 Scuderia 16M. The 16M is a convertible version of the 430 Scuderia and all of the 499 examples were immediatly sold to a select group of clients which makes it is a true collectors Ferrari nowadays.

458 Speciale (Aperta)

In the beginning of this blog we already told you the F360 was an immense step forward compared to its predecessor the F355. We could say the same about the successor of the F430: the 458 Italia. In 2009 Ferrari showed an all new design and style for their upcoming models by introducing the 458, a car of which many enthusiasts even nowadays say it is still looking like a freshly unveiled model. In 2009 it showed something totally new, but nowadays we know the hardcore version of the 458, the Speciale, is the last of an era. Why? Well, the 458 Speciale was the last Ferrari production car to use a naturally aspirated V8 engine. The 458 Speciale was introduced a few years later in 2013 and had 605 horsepower at 9000 rpm, the car was lighter than the Italia, drives a lot more agressive and that is also the way it looks.

In 2014 Ferrari introduced their very, very last naturally aspirated V8 model: the 458 Speciale Aperta. It was the convertible variant of the Speciale and from now on Ferrari decided to use the name “Aperta” for limited edition convertibles and “Spider” for all non-limited edition convertibles. With only 499 examples made and knowing that it is the very last screaming V8 Ferrari has ever made, the Speciale Aperta nowadays is worth almost $1million!

488 Pista (Spider)

So after the 458 Ferrari introduced its successor in 2015, ofcourse with a turbocharged engine: the 488. It became the first mid-engine Ferrari to use a turbocharged V8 since the legendary F40. The 488 GTB / Spider was named “The Supecar of the Year 2015” by Top Gear and even two years later in 2017 Motor Trend called it the “Best Driver’s Car”. Ferrari couldn’t do much better with their 488, or could they? Yes, they could, because in 2018 Ferrari revealed the hardcore version: the 488 Pista. Its design was based on the race car variants of the 488 and the most outstanding thing in its design probably was the S-duct in its hood which showed aerodynamica was something important for this car. Ofcourse the Pista was lighter and stiffer than the GTB, but its power output of 710 horsepower was something incredible for a car Ferrari didn’t even officialy limited with a fixed number of examples produced, ofcourse thanks to its turbo’s. Later that year Ferrari also introduced a Spider variant which again wasn’t limited to a fixed number.

Photo credits:

- William Loughran

- RM Sotheby's

- VDM Cars

- Romans International


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