Ferrari has officially revealed the 296 GT3 racer, which will replace the hugely successful Ferrari 488 GT3 - the reigning champion at Spa and the firm’s most successful racing car of all time.
Based on the Ferrari 296 GTB, the new racing car is powered by a six-cylinder petrol engine, without the electrification technology seen on the production model.
It produces around 594bhp - 224bhp less than the 296 GTB road car. Torque stands at 523lb ft, a small decrease on the 546lb ft offered by the production car.
Removal of that car’s hybrid system means the powertrain is now lighter. Ferrari has repositioned it lower down and farther forward than in the standard car, providing a lower centre of gravity and 10% higher torsional rigidity.
The 296 GT3 gains a bespoke transveral six-speed sequential gearbox with electronic clutch actuation, which, Ferrari says, helps to keep weight down due to its construction.
The car also features upgraded suspension to “limit stress” on the tyres, a set of upgraded brakes and bespoke, Rotiform-designed wheels.
Although the general design of the 296 GTB remains unchanged, the car gains a larger wheelbase than the standard model as well as a large, swan-neck rear wing, enlarged side skirts and a huge diffuser.
This, plus the addition of several air vents, means the racing car provides 20% more downforce than the 488 GT3. Without fuel and driver, it weighs 1250kg.
Inside the cabin, the 296 GT3 benefits from a single-seater-inspired steering wheel, adjustable pedals and air conditioning.
Although it has been designed entirely at Ferrari’s Maranello HQ, the 296 GT3 will be developed with the help of racing team Oreca, which is responsible for building and racing a number of successful GT cars. The French team will produce the car and provide support to teams running it in various championships.
The car was initially previewed with a set of sketches, which showed an aggressive, aero-heavy design, with a redesigned front end featuring a much more pronounced splitter and two large canards on each side of the bumper.
Production of the first development car is already under way at Oreca’s Signes plant, with track testing due to begin in the coming months. A race debut is scheduled for 2023.
The 296 GT3 will replace the 488 GT3 - Ferrari’s most successful racing car ever, with 429 wins from 770 starts in both its standard and Evo guises. When the 296 GT3 car hits the circuit, it will have to fight the Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo II, BMW M4 GT3 and Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo, among others.