Understanding the Aerodynamic Magic of the Ferrari 488GTB

Basically, every inch of the Ferrari's bodywork is tuned for downforce and stability.

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The Ferrari 488GTB is as much a study in air management as it is a garage trophy. Twin turbos coax 661 horsepower from just 3.9 liters of V-8, which propels a form that provides 50 percent less drag with 50 percent more downforce than the 458, according to Ferrari. Here's how the new mid-engine Ferrari makes the air its ally:

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Short Stack

Two-tiered rear-fender intakes route upper airflow to the engine. What's not ingested there exits next to the taillamps to feed the wake and trim drag, while the lower flow gets ducted through two intercoolers.

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Playing Through

What Ferrari calls a "blown rear spoiler" is a narrow fixed wing created by a slot in the body just aft of the rear glass; it directs air through to the tail to produce downforce.

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Vortex of the Cortex

Six curved fins on the underbody, mounted adjacent to the front tires, serve as vortex generators, increasing downforce.

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T for Three

An "aero pillar" takes high-pressure air impacting the front of the car and deflects it beneath the flat floor and to the left and right radiators.

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Flapping in the Wind

High-mounted exhaust pipes enable a wide rear diffuser with six curved fins to spread the flow. Three hinged flaps between the fins automatically descend 17 degrees at high speed to diminish the diffuser's downforce, thereby reducing drag and lifting top speed. Ferrari claims more than 700 pounds of downforce at 155 mph.

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From the September 2015 issue of Car and Driver

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