Ferrari‘s next-generation GT3 racer ditches the familiar twin-turbo V8 for a twin-turbo V6 powertrain based on that of the plug-in hybrid 296 GTB road car.
Dubbed the 296 GT3, this car be purchased and used by customer teams to go up against GT3-homologated versions of the Porsche 911, McLaren Artura, Bentley Continental, Nissan GT-R, and Mercedes-AMG GT. It’s not designed for use on public roads.
It’s powered by a mid-mounted 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 engine producing around 447kW of power and 712Nm of torque.
This engine in the 296 GT3 is based on the ‘little 12-cylinder” used in the road-going 296 GTB and misses out on the hybrid electrical components due to GT3 technical regulations.
The twin-turbo V6 engine is also mounted lower than in the 296 GTB and further forward for better balance and a lower centre of gravity.
It’s mated to a six-speed transversal sequential transmission developed by British transmission specialist company Xtrac, with electronic clutch actuator paddles on the steering wheel.
It uses double wishbone suspension at both ends, and the dampers have five stages of adjustment.
The Ferrari 296 GT3 weighs 1250kg without any fuel or driver, measures in at 2050mm wide excluding the mirrors, and rides a 2660mm wheelbase.
Ferrari says the 296 GT3 has 20 per cent more downforce than the previous-generation 488 GT3 racer. It also has a swan neck-style rear spoiler, like the Porsche 911 GT3.
Inside there’s a Formula 1-inspired steering wheel with a Sabelt single seat. Both of these can be adjusted to suit drivers of different sizes and statures.
There’s even air conditioning and an air flow system in the cabin to provide “adequate ventilation in all conditions”.
In addition, there are a number of optional extras including a rear radar, carbon-fibre clutch, tyre pressure monitoring system, 24-hour high-beam headlights, and different seats.
The new 296 GT3 racer is said to build on the legacy of the 488 GT3 which, in its standard and EVO 2020 configurations, has racked up a total of 107 titles to date.
The original 488 GT3 debuted in 2016 at the Australian GT Championship in Melbourne, and the updated 488 GT3 EVO 2020, announced in 2020, improved on the racer’s aerodynamics, dynamics, ergonomics, safety and reliability.
In terms of other upcoming homologated GT3 models, Ford is currently working on a Mustang GT3 that’ll debut in 2024 and likely be based on the next-generation model, and Toyota is also working on a new GT3 racer, as previewed with the GR GT3 concept, to replace the ageing Lexus RC F GT3.
The road-going Ferrari 296 GTB starts at $568,300 before on-road costs and options in Australia. Its plug-in hybrid powertrain produces a total system output of 610kW.
This consists of a 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 engine, an electric motor, and a 7.5kWh battery pack, mated to an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission. Drive is sent to the rear wheels only.
According to Ferrari, the 296 GTB road car is capable of doing a 0-100km/h sprint in 2.9 seconds, hitting 200km/h in 7.3 seconds, and has a top speed of over 300km/h.