Mule cars have been spotted prowling the wild, and leaked images from a customer event have poured fuel on speculation, but now Maranello has given us our first sanctioned glimpse of the car.
Obscured by shaky camera work and fast cuts, the new special edition is teased in a video alongside the 488 GTE and Challenge race cars.
What we can see from the video is the new car will have fresh bodywork a la 458 Speciale, with a stronger focus on aerodynamics.
It’s unlikely Ferrari will change the displacement of the 488’s 3.9-litre V8, but power will be sure to leap from the GTB’s 492kW to somewhere in the region of 522kW. McLaren’s 720S pumps out 537kW, which will be a tantalising benchmark to beat for Ferrari.
Leaked slides from earlier in the year reveal the beefed-up Fezza will sport the highest power increase versus its donor car for a V8 special series in Ferrari’s history. Not only that, but its power pack will be “around 10 percent lighter than the 488 GTB engine”.
It’s expected the mid-mounted donk will be a development of the 488 Challenge race car’s engine. While the 488 has spawned three racing versions, this beefed-up road car will have more power than each.
Speculation that Ferrari’s revered GTO badge could return for the 488 was stirred up late last year when a camouflaged prototype was spotted testing in Europe.
The O in GTO stands for Omologatio, italian for “homologated”, which would appease those frustrated by the badge’s appearance on the 599 - which wasn’t homologated for racing use.
The 599 GTO was considered a roadfaring ‘lite’ version of the 599XX track special.
Meanwhile, Ferrari’s 488 is already homologated for a trio of GT categories – GT3, GTE, and the one-make 488 Challenge series.
Two of the three GTO-badged cars to roll out of Maranello previously (250 and 599) were front-engined, however the 288 GTO of the 1980s was a mid-engined twin-turbo V8-powered beast like the 488.
It’s likely the hardcore 488 will be a last-hurrah special for Ferrari’s mainstay supercar, with a replacement for the 488 expected to drop in 2019.
If the GTO name isn’t revived for the more focussed 488, it could wear badges similar to its forbears the 348 GT Competizione, the F355 Challenge, the 360 Challenge Stradale, the 430 Scuderia and the 458 Speciale.