Ferrari 296 GT3: An Evolutionary Beast Built For The Tracks.
The Ferrari 296 GT3 is set to pursue and redefine an era of the Prancing Horse’s rich history in racing. This Maranello-born racer enfolds the successes of the brand’s recent mid-rear-engined supercar, the 296 GTB, and has been meticulously fine-tuned within the scope of GT3 requirements to deliver impeccable performance in sports car competitions and endurance racing.
In the spirit of excellence, Ferrari has teamed up with the French powerhouse in motorsports, Oreca, to assemble the GT3 contender that will hit the track at the 2023 Daytona 24 Hours. Antonello Colleta, Ferrari’s head of sportscar racing, acclaims that they can draw on the immense knowledge and expertise of their first-class partner to pave a bright future for the new GT3 project by following the footsteps of the 488, which was the most successful model in Ferrari’s racing history.
Also, thanks to the brilliant expertise from the engineers at Competizioni GT, the 296 GT3 integrates the powerful performance of its road-going twin and takes it a notch further. The rudimentary design and engineering objectives boil down to limiting consumption significantly without sacrificing performance, focusing on a design that allows for flexible race strategies and reduced intervention periods.
This modular race car is inspired by F1 technology in hopes of reproducing the winning formula passed down by the 166 MM Barchetta. The 296 GTB was premiered in June 2021 as the first 6-cylinder “real Ferrari”, and this legacy was injected into the GT3 version to feature the same V6 combustion engine, but excludes the electronic unit found in the 296 GTB to be in compliance with technical regulations.
For better context, the GTB is powered by a 3-liter twin-turbo 120° V6 engine that is capable of spitting out a maximum output of 654 hp at 8000 rpm, excluding the additional 165 hp added by the electric motor. This raw power is transfused into the GT3 model and further calibrated to keep the engine lighter and more compact by eliminating the external plenums and supports, allowing its internal fluid dynamics to benefit from reduction in volume, boosting intake efficiency to essentially drive ‘Sprint’ and ‘Endurance’ performance on the tracks.
Also in contrast to the GTB, the engine of the track model is positioned farther forward and lower, allowing it to take advantage of a lower center of gravity and torsional rigidity as compared to the 488 GT3. The electronic single-disc clutch is also arranged transversely for better weight distribution and aerodynamics.
The exterior of the GT3 references back to Ferrari’s predecessors such as the 250 LM of 1963, aimed at improving the overall handling and drivability on the paved havens. With precise and detailed design work done to the geometry of each component of the GT3, this racer is better capable of exploiting the principles of aerodynamics to yield a gain of 20% downforce on the car as compared to the previous generations of racers.
The aero-centric design at the front includes a carbon fiber splitter, dive plans, and multiple front wings vent. These components are then complemented by a carbon fiber engine cover, reworked diffuser, extractors, and ‘swan-neck’ wing on the rear, creating a harmonious synergy of aerodynamic components to generate the lowest possible drag as the 296 GT3 slices through the air.
While its chassis employs the fundamentals of the 488 GT3, it is now entirely made of aluminum to promote extreme lightness for a better and more efficient ballast management. The suspension has also been tweaked to feature double wishbone arms in the front and rear suspension to offer better grip at high speeds, limiting stress on the tyres, and enhancing overall performance, reliability, and endurance.
In light of speeding up track operations of the GT3 version during race and pre race, Ferrari’s engineers made it easier to modify the 296’s set up by including more accessible mechanical and elastic components. The team need not worry about damages being inflicted to the vehicle as the front and rear portions can be swapped out within seconds to ensure a quick return to the track. Operational checks on the engine or major accessory systems were also improved upon to significantly reduce intervention time between races.
To put simply, the 296 GT3 is an evolutionary beast that drew on the successes of the Maranello Company’s racing predecessors to redefine the notion of fun behind the wheel in its pursuit to be at the top of the racing scene. As a customer racing steed, it embodies a balanced concept in terms of design, car management, electronics, and engine architecture to cater to not just professional racers, but to gentlemen drivers alike, while being fully compliant with the FIA’s GT3 requirements.