And it doesn't get much more at home than Ferrari's very own Fiorano test track, which is where we spent an afternoon finding out exactly how sharp a track tool the 488 Pista really is. The model, of course, is the latest in a long line of stripped-down, pared-back, track-focused Ferraris. With forebears including the 360 Challenge Stradale, 430 Scuderia and 458 Speciale all developed with the same objective: to be the finest driving machines of their day.
This is achieved thanks to a 90kg reduction in weight, and in no small way contributes to the Ferrari's staggering performance. Maranello claims a 0-62mph time of 2.8 seconds, with 0-124mph being dispatched in just 7.6. That's quick by any standard and puts the Pista squarely up against its biggest rival - the Mclaren 720S.
The Pista we're dealing with today is a pre-production prototype. The camouflage isn't strictly necessary, of course - the car was officially unveiled at Geneva last month - but it underlines the notion that these cars are 90 per cent ready rather than the 'real' thing. Having said that, Ferrari explains that there are merely a few minor tweaks to the engine calibration to come before the engineer's finally sign it off.
But the battery isn't all that the Pista borrows from its sporting siblings. Lightweight components from the 488 Challenge have made their way into Pista's V8 as well. Titanium con-rods, a lighter flywheel and new crankshaft contribute to an engine 18kg lighter than the 488 GTB's and cut the inertia of these rotating parts by 17 per cent, making the motor even more responsive and faster revving. Meanwhile an Inconel exhaust with a 1mm wall thickness not only helps reduce weight and increase noise, resulting in a much louder, sharper note than before.
Other notable aero additions include bigger scoops in the front bumper to deflect airflow outwards ahead of the front wheels, underbody vortex generators, a 'blown' spoiler 30mm higher and 40mm longer than standard, and redesigned side ducts. All of this new aero trickery resulting in a twenty per cent increase in downforce at the cost of just a three per cent penalty in drag.
The sum total of all of these individual improvements is immediately apparent when you drive the Pista. Off the line, it leaps forward with the tiniest flex of the right foot, the throttle controllable with millimetric precision. By artificially reducing torque in the lower gears and only unleashing the full 568lb ft only in seventh, power is delivered with the linearity of a naturally aspirated engine. Turbo lag? If there was a whiff of it in the GTB it's been completely snuffed out in the Pista.
Handling? It's at another level altogether. The Pista takes the seemingly flawless dynamics of the 488GTB and enhances them with yet more grip and agility. The steering is very quick, especially off-centre, and super accurate too, which allows you to explore the brilliantly balanced chassis. In slow corners there's a wee bit of understeer dialed in but overall the Pista feels remarkably neutral. It can be deftly balanced on the throttle even in the restrictive 'Sport' mode. Turn the manettino to 'CT-OFF' and you're in 'hero' mode where the latest version of Ferrari's Slide Slip Control (SSC) lets you get impressively sideways whilst retaining a built-in safety net to keep you out of the scenery.
Not that this is what the Pista is all about nor will it be the reason that anyone buys one. The GTB is already a supreme all-round prospect; the track iterations of Ferrari's mid-engined models are all about raising the bar to hitherto unimaginable levels, and setting successive benchmarks for supercar performance. And, on the evidence of this experience, the Pista looks set to continue that tradition in some style.
SPECIFICATION - FERRARI 488 PISTA
Engine: 3,902cc, twin-turbocharged V8
Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 720@8,000rpm
Torque (lb ft): 568@3,000rpm
Top speed: 211mph