As the storm settles following the launch of the 296 GTB and GTS, Ferrari is now kicking things up a notch by unveiling its road car-based 296 GT3 racer to take on some of its fiercest rivals – including the all-new Porsche 911 GT3 R that was also revealed recently.
As the new flag bearer for the Prancing Horse’s road racing programme, the all-new Ferrari 296 GT3 has been give a long list of upgrades over the regular road-going GTB to ensure competitiveness in global GT3 race series, starting from 2023.
Aside from the massive rear wing and racing bodywork, the biggest change on the Ferrari 296 GT3 is the powertrain. The electric motor (and batteries) is now gone, leaving the 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged V6 engine with full responsibilities to power the race car.
The engine makes 600 hp and 710 Nm of torque in this configuration (before balance of performance), and while it shares many similarities to the road car’s ‘piccolo V12’ engine, it’s now placed lower and further forward to lower the racecar’s centre of gravity while improving torsional rigidity, which is said to be about 10% higher than its predecessor, the 488 GT3.
Ferrari says that they have “fine-tuned all the engine’s internal fluid dynamics” and adopted specific components for racing purposes, and on top of that also worked on reducing the engine’s fuel consumption to allow for “more flexible race strategies and reduced intervention times”. Fortunately, Ferrari’s own strategy calls won’t be included here, especially considering the team’s recent blunders in Formula 1.
The 296 GT3 racecar also adopts a new and “specially developed” six-speed sequential manual gearbox in place of the road car’s dual-clutch eight speed, and is also set transversely (left to right instead of front to back in line with the engine) to improve weight distribution in the longer, GT3-specific aluminium chassis.
Tying up the performance changes are the bigger, upgraded brakes, racing-specific adjustable suspensions, and a fully-decked-out aerodynamics package that is said to offer 20% more downforce than the outgoing 488 GT3, while making the car easier to drive for its ‘gentleman’ racers.
Ferrari did not expand much on the 296 GT3’s exterior design changes, but from what we can see via the images, there’s a new carbon fibre front splitter, dive planes, a prominent swan-neck rear wing, massive diffuser, and a littering of winglets and extractors all around the outside.
Moving inside, Ferrari says that the cabin has also been “completely redesigned” with input from factory drivers and customers. Many of the controls – including the electronic clutch actuator – are moved onto the F1-inspired steering wheel, while the seating position has also been specifically set-up to ensure optimal visibility, both in the day and night since many of these GT3 races run over 12 hours.
On that note, Ferrari also made several concessions in the cabin to improve comfort over the 488 GT3, with more adjustability to suit drivers of different sizes and statures. There’s even an air conditioning system in the cabin, with airflow “designed to provide adequate ventilation in all conditions, helping the driver to concentrate during every stage of a race”.
The all-new Ferrari 296 GT3 is set to make its race debut at the 24 Hours of Daytona next year.