This is the Ferrari 296 GT3 race car, and it’s here to succeed the 488 GT3 racer in sports car competition. Yes, that means Ferrari’s mid-engined racer will no longer be powered by a V8. Instead, the 296 GT3 uses a racing version of the 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 found in the road-going 296 GTB.

Since the 296 GT3 is exclusively for racing, Ferrari has done away with the plug-in hybrid system, meaning this 296 is petrol-only. The balance of performance (BoP) will dictate how powerful this 296 will be in competition, but Ferrari quotes 600 horsepower and 524 pound-feet of torque as benchmark figures. That’s a bit less than the road car’s engine output of 654 horsepower. The GT3’s engine is also positioned further forward and lower compared to the road car. Ferrari says its aim was to make an engine with maximum performance, but also to provide maximum reliability and handling – this car will compete in 24-hour races, after all. The engine is connected to a bespoke gearbox developed for this car. It’s a six-speed, single-clutch Xtrac system that now features electric clutch actuation via the steering wheel instead of a pedal.

The design of the 296 and new aerodynamic work done for the GT3 results in 20% more downforce than the outgoing 488 GT3 race car. Ferrari says it worked to make the car more drivable even in the wake of other cars. It’s not the prettiest racing Ferrari we’ve ever seen, but it doesn’t look like it’ll be lacking in downforce with the massive fenders and appendages sticking out everywhere. If the 296 GT3 is damaged mid-race, Ferrari promises easier front and rear apron replacement to get back on track faster.

Ferrari 296 GT3

Ferrari designed a new chassis using lessons from the 488 GT3. It’s made of aluminum, and Ferrari says its light weight will allow for better and more efficient ballast placement for BoP restrictions. The wheelbase is longer than the road-going 296 and the suspension is modified from the 488 GT3 to provide a wider range of adjustment for different driver styles and different tracks. A new (and larger) brake system is integrated, and wrapping around those brakes is a new wheel from Rotiform designed specifically for the 296 GT3.

The interior is totally new compared to the 488 GT3. Drivers will have an easier time getting to grips with the adjustable pedals and adjustable steering wheel. Most controls went to an F1-style steering wheel. Additionally, an air conditioning system combined with improved ventilation should help keep drivers cool.

Ferrari says it has already clocked up thousands of miles in test cars to prepare for competition. The first race for the 296 GT3 will be the 24 Hours of Daytona next year.

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