The new V6 race car will debut at the 24 Hours of Daytona in 2023.
After teasing us with a shadowy image in March this year, Ferrari has finally pulled the cover off the all-new 296 GT3, a factory-prepared race car based upon the beautiful 296 GTB. The latest in a long line of motorsport-ready Ferraris, the 296 GT3 serves as a replacement for the 488 GT3 and is the first prancing horse to hit the track with a six-cylinder engine since the 246 SP was discontinued.
To comply with regulations, the Ferrari 296 GT3 eschews the hybrid system of the road car but makes up for it with rather clever engineering. The twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 engine has a 120-degree vee design with equally spaced firings. This, says Ferrari, reduces weight, lowers the overall center of gravity, and boosts power output. There is approximately 600 horsepower and 523 lb-ft of torque on tap; considerably lower than the GTB's combined 819 hp and 546 lb-ft.
But the 296 GT3 is about so much more than power. Compared to the 488 predecessor, torsional rigidity has been improved by as much as 10%. Other clever innovations include the alternator, which is attached to the gearbox, making it easier to access for technicians.
Speaking of the sequential gearbox, Ferrari elected to develop a brand new transmission for the 296 GT3. The six-speed, single-disc clutch unit is positioned transversely for improved aerodynamics and weight distribution. Clutch actuation is now electronic and controlled via the steering wheel, replacing the mechanically-operated example. Gear shifts are operated by steering wheel-mounted paddles.
Already a beautiful canvas, Ferrari focused on transforming the 296 GT3 into an even more aerodynamic vehicle. Functionality prevails; the racer achieves a low coefficient of drag through the use of a front splitter, rear extractor, and a diffuser with a three-dimensional design. These enhancements have increased downforce by 20% compared to the 488 GT3.
Inside, the leather and plush carpeting of the 296 GTB makes way for a spartan and race-focused cockpit. After listening to customers and factory drivers, Ferrari completely redesigned the interior to ensure crucial controls are always within reach. Most of the vehicle controls have been relegated to the F1-inspired racing wheel. Aside from the adjustable pedals and steering column, air-conditioning aids driver comfort, which is critical for lengthy endurance races.
Weighing in at just 2,755 lbs, the featherweight Ferrari should prove properly quick around a race circuit. Elsewhere, the prancing horse took what it learned from the 488 GT3 and developed an entirely new chassis out of aluminum. The supercar maker notes that the stiffened chassis not only makes the racer easier to pilot but allows the driver to make the most of the grip without compromising the tires.
The double wishbone suspension (front and rear) has also been designed to maximize grip without placing too much stress on the tires. Not only does this aid in performance, but it's very beneficial in longer endurance races. The anti-roll bars and suspension are adjustable, with drivers able to dial-in their preferred setup effortlessly. Rotiform developed the forged wheel for the 296 GT3; the design will remain exclusive to factory 296 GT3 race cars.
Ferrari left no stone unturned in the development of the 296 GT3. Tasks like replacing parts are now made quicker thanks to more accessible components. If you're excited to see the all-new Ferrari in action, the Italian brand has said it will debut at the 24 Hours of Daytona next year, where it will face stiff competition from the Huracan GT3 EVO2.