Ferrari has given us our first look at its next-generation GT3 racer based on the 296 GTB plug-in hybrid (PHEV) road car.
Known as the 296 GT3, this racer will be powered by a six-cylinder engine with an unspecified power output. The engine will comply with GT3 technical regulations but will miss out on the hybrid electrical components used in the road-going 296 GTB.
The Prancing Horse has confirmed the 296 GT3 is already being assembled at motorsport giant Oreca’s plant in Signes, France, and says track testing will begin “in the coming months”. The racer’s currently slated for a racing debut in 2023.
The Maranello automaker has history with high-performance V6 engines dating back to the 1960s, with the Dino being the best known. It’s been using a V6 turbo hybrid architecture on all its Formula 1 cars since 2014.
For now, Ferrari has revealed two initial sketches of the upcoming 296 GT3 with typical aerodynamic race car additions and a low-slung silhouette. It’s still obviously related and inspired by the 296 GTB road car though.
At the front there’s an extremely low front splitter with a front tow hook, numerous bonnet scoops and aggressive front wheel arch vents. There’s also a very small Prancing Horse badge that can be seen on the front of the bonnet.
Around the side are gapping side air vents and abnormally large lightweight wheels wrapped in Pirelli P Zero racing tyres. A large rear wing can also be seen, which at its highest point appears to be higher than the roof.
There’s no clear image of the rear of the 296 GT3 but a glimpse of the large rear diffuser can be seen in the side profile render.
For now, Ferrari is remaining tight lipped on further details about the 296 GT3 racer.
Ferrari indicates the 296 GT3 racer retains the link to the 1963 250 Le Mans (LM) racer that the road-going 296 GTB supposedly has.
The 1963 Ferrari 250 LM achieved many successes during its lifetime, including the 1965 24 Hours of Le Mans which was the Prancing Horse’s last overall victory in this particular race.
This new 296 GT3 racer is also said to build on the legacy of the 488 GT3, which in both its standard and EVO 2020 configurations, has racked up a total of 107 titles to date.
The original 488 GT3 debuted in 2016 at the Australian GT Championship in Melbourne, and the updated 488 GT3 Evo 2020 was announced in 2020 and improved on the racer’s aerodynamics, dynamics, ergonomics, safety and reliability.
In terms of other upcoming homologated GT3 models, Ford is currently working on a Mustang GT3 that’ll debut in 2024 and likely be based on the next-generation model, and Toyota is also working on a new GT3 racer, as previewed with the GR GT3 concept, to replace the ageing Lexus RC F GT3.
The road-going Ferrari 296 GTB starts at $568,300 before on-road costs and options in Australia. Its PHEV drivetrain produces a total system output of 610kW of power.
This drivetrain consists of a 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 engine, an electric motor, and a 7.5kWh battery pack. This is mated to an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission and power’s sent to the rear wheels only.
According to Ferrari, the 296 GTB road-car is capable of doing a 0-100km/h sprint in 2.9 seconds, hitting 200km/h within 7.3 seconds, and has a top speed over 300km/h.