Ferrari has unveiled the 296 Challenge as a record-breaking, track-only edition of the 296 GTB that ditches the hybrid system for a pure-petrol V6 with 690bhp.
Presented at the 2023 Ferrari Finali, the firm's celebration of its involvement in motorsport, it is the latest in a series of Ferraris developed specifically for the firm's customer-only championship racing title, the Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli. It is also the first six-cylinder car to compete in the series.
On sale now at €318,000 (£276,851) before taxes, the 296 Challenge is the ninth racer developed for the series, replacing the V8-engined 488 Challenge.
Speaking at the unveiling, head of Ferrari Challenge Andrea Mladosic said it was a "giant leap from the analogical to the digital era". It will make its racing debut in the 2024 season of Ferrari Challenge, with its first race taking place in April in North America, before it comes to Europe in May.
The racer forgoes the 296’s electrified powertrain, drawing its power solely from a race-modified version of the standard car’s 2.9-litre twin-turbocharged V6 - the first V6 used by a Ferrari race car outside of Formula 1 since the 1960s.
Total output is rated at 690bhp - claimed to be a new power record for Ferrari’s racing series – and torque is rated at 545lb ft.
Asked why the firm decided to remove the engine's hybrid element, Ferrari's non-homologated vehicle leader, Manuela Cecconi, said: "We de-hybridised in favour of weight and ease of use for track work."
Ferrari said the removal of the hybrid system saved 140kg, the 296 Challenge weighing in at 1330kg.
The weight reduction has also been helped by the use of carbonfibre, which, according to Cecconi, is used only "where there is a clear difference in structure, performance, and weight”.