Ferrari Marketing Head Nicola Boari Talks the 488 Pista, and How the Carmaker Names Its Supercars

An in-depth chat with Maranello's head of product marketing at the Geneva Motor Show.

Ferrari really doesn't need to show up at auto shows anymore. After all, the sports car company-slash-racing titan-slash-lifestyle brand can already sell as many cars as it wants to, thanks to a fanbase that far exceeds its production output—even in spite of the house-rivaling prices of its products. Nevertheless, while you won't find the brand's booth at the major shows in Los Angeles, Detroit, or New York, you certainly could find it at the 88th installment of the Geneva International Motor Show this March. The maestros of Maranello arrived in force, showing up to reveal the latest arrow in the company's supercar quiver: the 710-horsepower, track-honed-but-street-legal Ferrari 488 Pista

Derived from the 488 GTB but boasting race-bred technology culled from the 488 Challenge, the Pista—which translates, quite literally, to "track" in Enzo Ferrari's native tongue—is the latest in a line of even sportier versions of the company's mid-engined, V-8-powered super sports cars, heir to the same throne as the 458 Speciale, the F430 Scuderia, and the 360 Challenge Stradale. That 710-hp output makes the 3.9-liter V-8 the most potent eight-cylinder motor ever slotted into a Ferrari road car; in addition, there's 17 percent less inertia than the already-free-revving engine found in the regular 488 models. All that power heads to the rear wheels through a faster-shifting seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox, while the sixth generation of the company's Side Slip Control technology helps dole out that power precisely enough to make noobs look like Alonsos. 

But no track-happy Ferrari would be complete with engine tweaks alone. Lighter versions of many parts were tapped for Pista use—the bumpers, engine cover, and optional wheels are made from carbon fiber and the battery is a lithium-ion unit, while the rear window is made of Lexan—helping to bring the car down to about 3,047 pounds, nearly 200 pounds less weighty than the "conventional" 488 GTB. The distinctive new proboscis is a result of the so-called "S-Duct," an aerodynamic innovation which helps boost downforce on the front axle while barely compromising the drag coefficient. And the stripped-down interior's minimal ornamentation comes largely adorned in lightweight, sporty materials like carbon fiber and Alcantara. 

But that's all the sort of info you can get from a press release. So when I managed to score a few minutes to talk with Ferrari head of product marketing Nicola Boari at the Geneva show, it seemed like a better time to lead off with a question that had bugged me—and a few other Ferraristas I've heard from—for quite some time: How, exactly, does the company decide just what to name its supercars?

As it turns out, Boari was more than happy to discuss Maranello's naming conventions—as well as a bevy of other topics, from who gets to buy these extra-special F-cars to what the hardest part of his job is. Which you'd know by now if you'd already seen the video, so quit reading this and go watch the thing already.