Thanks to a new compound developed by Hankook Tires, Ferrari’s 488 Challenge Evo will be eligible to compete in the 24H SERIES from this year’s Hankook 12H SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS onwards.
Words – James Gent
Images – Ferrari Media
Ferrari’s 488 Challenge Evo will be eligible to compete in the 24H SERIES powered by Hankook from 2023 onwards, thanks to an updated tyre compound developed by series partner Hankook Tires.
In a bid to further spice up competition in CREVENTIC’s bespoke ‘GTX’ class, Hankook recently completed development on a new, eligible compound that will fit the 488 Challenge Evo’s 19-inch rims front (250/650 R19) and rear (300/680 R19). In contract, all other vehicles that currently compete in the GTX class run on 18-inch wheels.
The new compound means Ferrari’s 488 Challenge Evo, the halo model of the Scuderia’s single-make Corsa Clienti ‘Challenge’ motor racing series since 2019, will be eligible to compete against the likes of Vortex V8’s bespoke ‘1.0’ sportscar, Razoon-more than racing’s KTM X-BOW, and, more fittingly, Lamborghini’s Hurácan Super Trofeo, used regularly by 2019 Overall GT Teams’ ‘Continents’ champion Leipert Motorsport and last year’s GTX runners-up RD Signs – Siauliai racing team, and the focal point of Lamborghini Squadra Corse’s own single-make series.
Customer teams currently running a 488 Challenge Evo will be eligible to enter the prancing horse from this year’s Hankook 12H SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS onwards, following Hankook’s delivery of its new tyre.
“Ferrari’s 488 Challenge Evo now being eligible for 24H SERIES competition is a very exciting opportunity,” CREVENTIC event manager David Vink explains. “Ferrari is one of the most charismatic and desirable car brands on the planet, and to have the Scuderia’s pinnacle ‘Challenge Evo’ as a potential regular will really make the GTX class one of the more fascinating on our grid. We’re also very pleased that Hankook’s dedication to close racing means customers of the 488 Challenge Evo will now be able to experience endurance motorsport in ways they have not been able to previously.”
Such is Hankook’s focus on road-holding and integrity, development and in-depth testing – both in-house and at circuits across Europe – of new compounds can routinely take more than half a year.
Unveiled at Ferrari’s four-day ‘Finali Mondiali’ public event at Mugello in 2019, the Evo was introduced as a performance kit the existing 488 Challenge, one designed to improve the car’s overall performance as well as handling and driver feedback. Or, in Ferrari’s own words, “maximise the synergy between aerodynamics and vehicle dynamics.”
Among the most significant alterations to the aero package were a complete redesign of the front end, including longer radiator grilles, a new splitter, an additional ‘winglet’ on the further most sides of the front bumper for improved airflow, and a new, central u-shaped air intake that feeds air to the brakes (also redesigned to reduce brake wear). Just these upgrades were said to improve aero efficiency at the front by 30 per cent over the 488 Challenge.
Work had also been done along the flanks, the most notable of which were small spoilers mounted under the wing mirrors that funnel airflow into the air intakes over the rear wheel arches. At the rear, the Evo package introduced a new rear spoiler, a reworked diffuser, and a new rear bumper with additional vents that both draws turbulent air from under the Ferrari and increases downforce. Overall, the new aerodynamics are said to improve downforce by 50 per cent.
Significantly, the Evo also introduced wider 19-inch wheels over the older model, bespoke tyres for which were previously only available from Pirelli.
The cabin meanwhile featured a new steering wheel, inspired by those in the FXX-K Evo – the track-based alter-ego to the LaFerrari hypercar – and the Scuderia’s Le Mans-spec 488 GTE racer. The more ergonomic (i.e. more comfortable) wheel now included an ABS management system within easier reach and a revised paddle shifter. A new rear-view camera was also introduced, based on customer feedback, to improve rear visibility.
Continuing to support CREVENTIC with tyres and official on-site engineers at every 24H SERIES race weekend, Hankook Tires began its 10th year partnering with the Dutch promoter at January’s Hankook 24H DUBAI following their first collaboration at the Hankook 12H ZANDVOORT in May 2014.