Nowadays, pretty much every supercar manufacturer will sell you a track-only toy that provides a realistic experience of life as a professional racing driver, provided your pockets are deep enough.
Whether it’s McLaren with the P1 GTR or Senna GTR, Lamborghini with the Essenza SCV12, Bugatti with the Bolide, Pagani with the Huayra R, or Porsche with the recently unveiled 911 GT3 R Rennsport, there’s no shortage of options if you want to play racing driver on your days off.
But one brand has been in the track special game longer than the rest, and its latest offering will take customers even closer to getting the racing driver experience than ever before.
The new 499P Modificata is the latest addition to Ferrari’s Corse Clienti customer driver program stable, but unlike the FXX, 599XX, FXX-K (and their Evo variants), its origins aren’t found in a road-legal model, nor is it explicitly a laboratory on wheels to test future technologies. On the outside it looks identical to the car that won this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans – and that’s because it is, albeit with the chains and shackles of the World Endurance Championship’s rules and regulations thrown out the window.
So under the skin you’ll find the same 3 liter V6 engine coupled to an electric motor spinning the front wheels, but power from the combustion element is upped to 697 bhp (increased from a regulated 670 bhp in the race car) with new mapping delivering more torque lower in the rev range as well, while the motor on the front axle increases that further to 858 bhp – and unlike in race conditions, that doesn’t need to be activated above 118 mph.
Ferrari explains that by derestricting the front axle hybrid boost, it “offers advantages in terms of performance and driveability, making it possible to exploit the additional grip offered by the front wheels, and to optimize the distribution of torque between the axles.
“The result is a car that feels even more responsive and precise coming out of turns, making it easier for drivers to find the best racing lines, and inspiring confidence in driving to the limit in a car that is capable of extraordinary performance,” Ferrari explained in a release announcing the car.
The full complement of power comes via a push-to-pass system which opens up the taps for seven seconds at a time, with Ferrari likening the system “to that introduced in Formula 1 in 2009 with the KERS system”.
The pushrod suspension has been recalibrated too, but the most noticeable change is the tires, which aren’t the same Michelins used in WEC. Instead, they’re boots from Pirellis, which also supplies of Ferrari’s XX track programs as well as its F1 Clienti scheme for the customer running of old F1 cars.
The Italian tires are designed to be more user-friendly by offering “predictable handling” and “maximizing feedback in non-competitive driving, making them quick to warm up and promoting consistent grip levels for multiple laps over sheer peak performance.”
The price for this racing car that you can’t race hasn’t been officially confirmed, nor have production numbers, but is expected to be north of $5 million. For that you get full factory support from Ferrari via its new Sport Prototipi Clienti program, with the manufacturer maintaining and housing the cars in Maranello as it already does for the XX and F1 Clienti schemes. For a bit of perspective, Porsche will sell you a race-legal 963 for $2.9 million, and they’ll let you keep it.
If that’s too steep, Ferrari has also unveiled the latest offering for its one-make Challenge race series, based on the 296 GTB road car and inspired by its GT3 variant.
The 296 Challenge (pictured above) is the ninth car in the Ferrari Challenge’s 32-year history and replaces the aging 488 Challenge. Like the 499P Modificata, power comes from a turbocharged V6 engine (the first Ferrari Challenge car to do so), but there’s no hybrid element to cut down on weight and complexity. Power output sits at 690 bhp racer, while weight clocks in at 1330 kg thanks to the electrification diet.
Pricing is much more modest, too, coming in at a touch under $340,000, before taxes. And for that, they’ll even let you race it.