Take a Peek at a Ferrari 488 GTB's Gizzards

Last Saturday, I went to an event I've never been to before called Passione Ferrari. Despite the slightly clichéd Italian name, it takes place in the very British setting of Silverstone Circuit, site of the Scuderia's first Formula 1 victory back in 1951. It was £10 to get in and decent food could be had for under a fiver, so in the absence of market stalls it was astonishing value for money given the kind of access visitors got to what is still the holy grail of supercar brands.

Once you'd walked around the infield of the Grand Prix route to get to the paddock on the F1 pit straight, you were met with rows upon rows of people's Ferraris that they'd driven to the event. Pick a model from the 1970s onwards and there was probably one there... and in the image above you can even see a rare, obscenely valuable and drop-dead gorgeous 275 GTB/4 from 1967!! KOP 138E is probably worth the nearest ten of the other Ferraris in this image combined, at approximately £2-2.5million... and it was just sitting there! No rope fence, no security bouncers, just another one in the crowd. Amazing. I wasn't the only one that noticed!

However, this little "photoblog" is focusing on something bang up to date, the twin-turbocharged 488 GTB.

Pictured above is a completed 488 Spider which you were free to sit in and fiddle with while eager children waited their turn - or didn't, as it may have been - but I'm only showing you this one because I neglected to take a photo of another 488 elsewhere at the event. See, in a pair of pit garages accessible from behind, there were a selection of exhibits including services to maintain and repair your Italian stallion. There was a carbon fibre repair stand where you could pick up a scuffed aero whisker from inside the grille of a 458 Italia or watch someone cut through carbon fibre only to fail the same trick with a carbon-kevlar sample, while elsewhere I saw a naked 360 Modena on a chassis alignment rig... but more to the point there was also a partially-assembled (or partially disassembled) 488 GTB on jack stands.

So, I decided to get close up to parts of Ferrari's latest V8 sports car which would normally be kept firmly out of view...

I won't pretend to know what all the gizzards are, but this lot, located behind the left-side door and in front of the left-rear wheel, looks electrical. Feel free to add some knowledge in the comments! Normally this bit would be covered by the side skirt. I do know that.

The passenger-side door (it's right-hand-drive) with none of the trim attached. The window glass has been removed as well. The speaker looks like an alloy wheel from an F430! Sadly that gets covered up. The black shaft near the middle is, I reckon, the door handle mechanism. At the end of it (the end near the speaker), there's a zig-zag shape resembling the 'S' from the 'PS2' logo, roughly where I remember the interior door handle being in the Spider I sat in, which appears to pivot up and down to pull the rod that disappears into the door at the other end. I couldn't tell you much else about this stuff, though...

Here is the headlight, a more recognisable part. As is common, the shape you can see with the bonnet closed actually extends slightly underneath it. In this extra area you can see an 'R' denoting that it's the right-side headlight unit.

This is the front luggage area, minus floor and carpet. Jeremy Clarkson once likened what you could see of the Lotus Exige's engine bay from the seat to peering into your Nan's kitchen cabinet, with all the tin foil and tupperware. Such un-glamorous things are nestled under the windscreen here, including some kind of air inlet (or a windscreen heater?) and a fluid reservoir or two, plus other pipes and leads that do Many Important Things.

A closer look at some of the things under the base of the windscreen, on the would-be driver's right-hand side. Among other things, part of the windscreen wiper mechanism can be seen near the top, culminating in that gold-ish nipple.

Now let's get to the bits inside the wheel arches! As well as not having wheels, there were no plastic weather guards on this car either, so you can see right through...

Ferrari-branded Brembo carbon-ceramic brakes were fitted here, vented and drilled for greater cooling. The disc itself is 398mm at the front (360mm at the rear) and uses composite materials and technology derived from LaFerrari to get them up to temperature more quickly while also officially improving stopping distances by 9% compared to the 458 Italia this car replaces. Handy, given that the new engine produces 110 more horsepower! Weighing around half as much as an equivalent cast iron disc, each is squeezed by bespoke Brembo pads attached to a hollow monoblock aluminium caliper (6 pistons up front, 4 out back, each different sizes to make pad wear more even).

Behind that, you can see the front suspension, including spring, magnetorheological damper (inside the spring) and the upper wishbone mounted to what I think is the wheel hub - with a Ferrari horse embossed on it. Gotta represent! The black accordion-esque cylinder nearby is most likely the steering shaft that pushes the front wheel outwards (or pulls it inwards) to steer it. The wheel and brake assembly pivot around the circular spot you can see above the horse, all attached to the hub.

The front of the car is to the right of these images, by the way.

I can guarantee you that this fan ahead of the front wheel are is part of the cooling system, not some secret downforce cheat! It appears to be sitting on an intercooler or radiator, mounted up front to balance the weight and/or to free up space elsewhere.

Before we get to a rear corner, I'll break this up a bit with a photo of the central tunnel and "central bridge," onto which the transmission buttons are mounted, from the finished car we could sit in. It's all real carbon fibre.


We rejoin the action in the right-rear wheel arch area, looking at more fans and radiators as well as the bottom of the 3.9-litre twin-turbo V8 engine. The purple-ish pipes in the top left area are part of the exhuast system, and as such get extremely hot (sadly I can't put a number on how hot). The system on the right of this image appears to be the intercooler used to cool incoming air for the right-side turbocharger as well as feed air into it via the thick orange pipe.

Slightly further back, you can see the rear spring/damper combo close up, along with the exhaust pipe disappearing behind it to within the rear of the chassis in order to poke out almost centrally of the rear bumper.

With the tail of the car on the left, there are more electrical leads and plugs going on behind where the rear wheel (and a plastic shield) would be. Ferrari is an odd mix of traditionalist and technology-pushing, so despite electronic "Side Slip-angle Control" and an electronic parking brake and active aero flaps here and there, they still build road cars using aluminium chassis as is in keeping with their history, whereas the likes of McLaren use a carbon fibre central tub. The only exceptions are the "special series cars" such as the Enzo and LaFerrari, although the front/rear subframes and crash structures would likely be metallic on those cars anyway. You can bend metal back into shape, but when carbon fibre fails, it's failed for good.

Here we look upwards to the top of the rear wheel area, with the rear brake in view at the bottom.
In case you've forgotten, the shot of the engine is right back at the top of this page ;-)

Although, to save you scrolling I can post a different one from a finished 488:

Here's a quick and dirty photo of what you see when the floor and rear diffuser are removed. You can see the exhaust pipes exiting through their own little grilles, while the 7-speed twin-clutch gearbox hangs low just ahead of them. To the left of that, you can see the left-side rear suspension lower arm.

Finally, this is a peek up the little piece of aerodynamic trickery on the rear bumper. Air flowing down the roof gets channeled into a central slot just below the FERRARI script on the top side. That air then exits through the moustache-like slot just above the rear number plate, in order to reduce drag. Here we are looking up through the exit. It's difficult to get a good shot of these things but I thought I'd try it anyway!

One last close-up: this is an air outlet next to the left tail light. It would be easy to assume that it's just a heat vent with a carbon fibre surround instead of a grille, but air flows through the large intakes behind the doors and gets split, so some of it feeds the intercoolers and turbos we saw earlier, some of it blows cold air onto the engine and some of it flows straight through and out of here for lower drag. Although of course, heat might also exit here.

There's a better and more visual explanation in an official Ferrari video here:

So there we have it! I hope you learned something and that I didn't unhelpfully misidentify anything. There will be more activity on this blog tomorrow, so stay tuned!

Oh yeah, I totally sat in a 488 Spider. The carbon fibre paddles felt a bit plastic-y, so I'd stick with metal ones...

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