Lead Vehicle Artist Casey Ringley Explores the Ferrari 458 Speciale Aperta in the Ferrari Essentials Pack

The Ferrari 458 Speciale A is just about as good as I imagine a road car can get. Power, handling and speed are all abundant and in a perfect balance.

The engine is Ferrari’s F136 4.5L naturally-aspirated V8 in its ultimate form, producing just over 600hp right up at the 9,000rpm rev limit and 565Nm all the way down at 5,200rpm. Dyno’ tests used as reference show just how strong this engine is above 4,000rpm, holding over 90 percent of peak torque all the way from 4,000-8,000rpm and then only falling off gradually to make that top 25hp. It revs freely and is always ready to pull hard without needing you to work through the gearbox excessively (or at all, really).

That gearbox is a 7-speed dual-clutch unit like other Ferrari 458 models with ratios spaced perfectly across all seven gears; no wasted top gear on fuel economy here, they are evenly-spaced right up to the top speed of 320kph. The differential uses our approximation of Ferrari’s e-diff similar to what you’ll find on the in-game LaFerrari or the Ferrari FXX-K, blending aspects of geared, clutch & ramp, and viscous to help guide the rear axle in various conditions.

Ferrari make some aerodynamic claims for the 458 Speciale A which are quite credible. The car has an array of active flaps; some close at 105mph to reduce drag while others in the rear diffuser adjust above 137mph to shift aero balance 20 percent to the rear for high-speed stability. Our model copies this in the same way with speed-sensitive elements front and rear.

In total, they produce around 500lb of downforce at 150mph with the balance moving somewhere between 12-32 percent front depending on your speed. It’s enough to aid cornering performance, but not so much that it feels like an extreme, high-downforce car that can only be driven fast or falls over if not driven on tidy racing lines. This car loves holding a bit of a drift through turns.

Suspension uses a design family common to just about every Ferrari for the last decade—double wishbone front and multi-link rear—which we have good reference for and just does a great job. Plotting out the roll centers and roll axis motion is a textbook example of how to design a car for good handling behavior. The fifth link of the multi-link rear is a neat little thing between the lower control arm and upright to triangulate with the toe link and prevent axial motion. This makes it work almost exactly like a double wishbone design, but with lighter components and tighter packaging … cool stuff.

Springs and dampers in the 458 Speciale A are pretty dang stiff and with a similar balance to the LaFerrari: slight front stiffness bias for steady, predictable mid-corner understeer which can easily be defeated using power. We’ve included adjustment range here to take it down to standard 458 Italia stiffness or right up to Challenge-spec GT stiffness if you want.

The 458 Speciale (not the 458 Speciale Aperta that comes with the Ferrari Essentials Pack) turned a 1:23.5 at Fiorano. Ours is right in that ballpark on Corsa tyres if you can restrain yourself from drifting through the corners too much. You can sorta kinda mimic Ferrari’s side-slip control to some very fun results too. Turn stability control off and take traction control up to 25-30 percent slip allowed; this does a great job of hanging the rear-end out with throttle planted and still leaves good control over the car through the steering wheel.

Massively fun car.

 

The Project CARS 2 Season Pass offers all four DLCs plus the Motorsport Bonus Pack, all at a discounted price.

The Ferrari Essentials Pack is available now for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and (PC Steam).

Project CARS 2 - Ferrari Essentials Pack DCL

*The Pista di Fiorano is a Ferrari-only track, both in real-life and, of course, in Project CARS 2.

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