the prancing-horse brand has shown off its new competitor in gt racing, the 296 gt3. the sheet was lifted friday morning in the paddock of spa-francorchamps in belgium ahead of the 24 hours of spa, which takes place this weekend.
based on photos, the 296 looks like one hell of a race car. photos of the car show similarities with the 296 gtb it is based on, though with a much racier presence. pictures of the front of the car show off two layers of louvers set above the already aggressive front splitter. seen head-on, this thing looks like an incredible aero machine. the numbers seem to tell the same story, according to ferrari, the 296 gt3 produces 20 percent greater downforce than the 488 gt3. according to ferrari, "the 296 gt3 lives in symbiosis with the air around it, exploiting it to maximize grip and handling, benefiting gentleman drivers and professionals alike."
power figures are down from the roadgoing model due to the absence of the hybrid powertrain. ferrari had to forgo the electric motor to meet technical regulations in the gt championship, bringing power down from a combined 819 horsepower to an estimated 600. the engine is positioned farther forward and lower, in a 120-degree configuration with the turbos inside the v, to lower the center of gravity and improve torsional stiffness compared to the 488 gt3.
in a move away from the gtb, with its lightning quick eight-speed dual-clutch transmission, ferrari's engineers designed a unique gearbox for the gt3. now using a single disc clutch and six gears in a sequential pattern. like other cars in the gt championship, the 296 the clutch is controlled on the steering wheel rather than with a foot pedal.
the chassis is based on the road car, but the car uses an entirely new aluminum frame. the wheelbase of the car increases slightly over the road car, from 102.4 to 104.7 inches, to account for regulatory restrictions. the braking system has also been redesigned for the gt3, now 400 mm for the front.
ferrari stresses the ease of use of the gt3, noting that "ferrari's engineers focused on speeding up track operations on the car during the race and pre-race . . . it is easier to modify the 296 gt3's setup than the previous model due to more accessible mechanical and elastic components." it will also be easier (and likely pricey) to replace portions of the car should you need to. the front and rear of the car are designed to be replaced in seconds, to keep time in the pit lane to a minimum.
ferrari have developed this car with two main focuses: first and foremost, for "extreme use" typical of pro classes, but also for customers who are more focused on enjoying their car.