Ferrari launches 296 GT3 car inspired by F1 technology

The new customer race car that will replace the 488 GT3 Evo for 2023 has a fully removable front and rear end in the name of increased functionality, Ferrari revealed when unveiling the car ahead of this weekend’s Spa 24 Hours round of GT World Challenge Europe.

The front and rear body sections can be removed as a single piece, while both ends of the car are built on removable subframes for added ease of maintenance.

Ferdinando Cannizzo, head of GT racing car design at Ferrari, said: “We looked at how they do things in F1 and the prototypes and copied that.

“We exchanged some ideas and concepts with the F1 team.”

He added that there was a lot of interaction with “all Ferrari departments”, including the Scuderia F1 operation, during the development of the 296 GT3.

Cannizzo explained that making Ferrari’s GT3 race-friendly and easy to work with was one of the guiding principles during the design and development of the new car.

“We thought about this from the concept stage because we wanted to simplify the assembly and make working on the track much easier,” he said.

“When you remove the front or rear body, there is only one electrical connector [at each end]not many cables everywhere.

“The ease of handling the car and how quickly you can change components is a key part of performance.

“The front and rear bodywork can be changed really quickly, in seconds, although some research still needs to be done to see really how quickly.”

The full specification of the 296 GT3 was revealed at the launch, which followed the release of the first photos of the car driving around Ferrari’s Fiorano test track in April.

The engine of the new racing car retains the architecture and capacity of the road-going 296 GTB launched in 2021, which means it is a three-liter V6 twin-turbo with a 120-degree turning angle.

Cannizzo revealed that Ferrari’s Attivita Sportive GT division has been involved in the 296 road car program from the very beginning of its development.

“We started with them from the ground up, looking at the requirements for the race car,” he said.

He explained that this played a large part in the decision to use a wide-angle engine configuration, which allowed the turbochargers to be located inside the vee for more efficient packaging.

The engine is tilted from front to back by two degrees for the sake of aerodynamic efficiency.

“Two degrees doesn’t sound like much, but it’s enough to have a properly shaped and sized diffuser to increase efficiency and have better rear ride height sensitivity,” Cannizzo said.

Ferrari 296 GT3

Ferrari 296 GT3

Photo: Ferrari

The wheelbase of the road car has been increased by 60 mm compared to the road variant as permitted by the 2022 GT2 rules to make it more user-friendly, especially for amateur drivers.

The racer has a different gearbox housing than the road car because it does away with the hybrid system, which is not allowed in GT3.

The new car is the first Ferrari GT3 designed exclusively with the Attivita Sportive GT; the three previous generations of Ferrari built to GT3 rules were developed in conjunction with external tuner Michelotto.

French constructor Oreca took over the assembly of Michelotto’s Ferrari GT3 for the new project.

The first 296 GT3 has completed testing in the region of 8,000 km and customer deliveries will begin later this year ahead of its race debut at the Daytona 24 Hours next January, the opening round of the 2023 IMSA SportsCar Championship.

No price has been announced for the new car, but Ferrari has promised there will be no significant price increase on the 488 GT3 Evo.

It is Ferrari’s policy not to publish the prices of its race cars, but the 488 is believed to be nearly $500,000 less before taxes.

Ferrari 296 GT3 cockpit

Ferrari 296 GT3 cockpit

Photo: Ferrari

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