WORDS: NATHAN CHADWICK | PHOTOS: FERRARI
Finali Mondiali 2023, Italy’s annual celebration of all things Ferrari, rounded off a great year of Ferrari Challenge and Le Mans competition – and saw the introduction of the 499P Modificata and 296 Challenge cars.
The 499P Modificata is a limited-series model for non-competitive track use as part of Ferrari’s brand-new Sport Prototipi Clienti programme, while the 296 Challenge is the brand-new Challenge racer for Ferrari’s worldwide network of one-marque championships. The event is about so much more than just competition – it’s a proper celebration of all things Maranello made.
Fans converged on the Mugello Circuit, tucked away in the rolling hills an hour’s drive from Bologna. Aside from the track action, which saw Ferrari’s Corse Client and Corse F1 programmes wrap up for the season, as well as the finals for the regional Challenge series, Finali Mondiali visitors could take in the latest special series cars. This included the new Ferrari SP-8, which was given its first public outing. There was also a huge collection of classic endurance racers and memorable F1 cars on display – we’ll be bringing you an extensive gallery of those soon.
However, there was no getting away from the major news of the weekend – the 499P Modificata, pictured in the foreground of the image above. Using the 499P that won the Le Mans 24 Hours this year as its base, it is unencumbered by Balance of Performance regulations for Ferrari-organised track days. The major change from the racing car is the electric axle and four-wheel-drive system, which can be activated at low speeds (the electric motor can only be used at speeds above 190km/h in the racers). There’s also a Push to Pass button, which unleashes an extra 120kW of power.
The 499P Modificata uses the hybrid powertrain of the racing car, which means it has a mid-rear-mounted internal-combustion V6 with an electric motor on the front axle, for a combined power output of 870bhp. Unlike the racing cars, the Modificata’s V6 is load bearing, whereas on the racers it is mounted on a sub-chassis. The 272bhp electric motor uses an Energy Recovery System that recharges the battery during deceleration and braking, while the 800-volt battery pack utilises F1 know-how. The body and chassis make extensive use of carbonfibre, and the suspension has been set up specifically for the 499P Modificata, with various engine and driveability maps to suit the driver. Pirelli has also provided specific tyres for the car – 310/710-18 front and 340/710-18 rear – so that non-professional drivers can get up to temperature quickly.
The 296 Challenge (car 32 in the image above), meanwhile, is radically different from its road-going counterpart. The hybrid system has been removed and the twin-turbo V6’s power boosted to 700bhp, while weight has dropped significantly. The model benefits from its sister GT3 car’s learning, and it features new Pirelli tyres and CCM-R Plus carbon-ceramic brake discs. The 296 Challenge has also been treated to usability upgrades over the outgoing 488 Challenge Evo, and it develops 870kg of downforce at 250km/h, an 18 percent increase over the previous model. The car will make its debut in the Europe and North America series of the Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli in 2024, with the UK and Japanese series following up a year later. More details are available here.