Since Ferrari picked up its first award in the Performance Engine category in 2011, the titles in this area have come thick and fast. With four awards for the 4.5-litre V8, one for the 6.3-litre V12 and two for the 3.9-litre V8 twin-turbo, the last seven years have been characterised by Maranello dominance.
And when it came to this year’s trophy, that dominance showed no signs of letting up. Topping the group by a massive 317 points, the 3.9-litre twin-turbo V8 once again took the crown, beating competition from 53 other powerplants, including the 4-litre boxer engine from Porsche and the Prancing Horse’s own 6.5-litre V12 unit.
The fact that this year’s trophy is the V8’s third Performance Engine award in three years is testament to the engine’s longevity as well as Ferrari’s development capabilities.
Recently tweaked for inclusion in the 488 Pista, the 3.9-litre sensation is the most powerful eight-cylinder the Italian brand has ever developed.
However, the challenge for Ferrari was to improve an engine that has already proved to be one of the greats.
Using lightweighting techniques first used for the 488 Challenge, the Pista engine is 18kg (40 lb) lighter than the GTB derivative. And with an ability to punch out 720ps at 8,000rpm and 770Nm of torque at 3,000rpm, the mid-rear-engined architecture’s 185ps/litre specific power output ensures the Pista trim stands out in its class.
Aided by two IHI-sourced twin-scroll turbos – featuring integrated rev sensors – for instant and linear power delivery, Ferrari was able to achieve a 50ps power increase over the GTB powertrain.
“How do you take insane and give it nuance? Ferrari has managed it by massaging it, adjusting it and controlling peripheral systems like airflow and cooling to bring more power, more control and more of the true Fiorano experience,” concluded Calibre’s Carl Cunanan.