There are still a few months to go in the current GT3 racing season, but Ferrari’s already getting ready for next year.
The Prancing Horse unveiled its latest race car, the 296 GT3, before this weekend’s 24 Hours of Spa in Belgium. We won’t have to wait long to see the car in action, either. It will make its track debut this coming January at 24 Hours of Daytona.
The 296 GT3 is a much more athletic version of 296 GTB that Ferrari unveiled last fall. It wears a heavily modified aerodynamic package that gives it the look of something out of an arcade game. The racer’s reworked design may lack some of the elegance of the road car it’s based on, but it allows the vehicle to cut through the air with ease. The brand says the 296 GT3 also creates 20 percent more downforce than its predecessor, the 488 GT3, sometime sure to come in useful if a race goes down to the wire.
The cabin, meanwhile, has been stripped of all but the most basic of creature comforts to improve visibility and accessibility. That’s okay, though. Chances are drivers won’t have much need for heated seats or a full-featured infotainment system during their next race.
The biggest difference between the track-oriented variant and the road car can be found in its engine bay, though. The car is still powered by a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6, but the electric motor that makes the 296 GTB a hybrid has been jettisoned due to FIA regulations. Despite this, the mill—which is connected to a bespoke six-speed transmission controlled by a steering wheel-mounted paddle shifter—can still pump out 600 horses and 524 ft lbs of twist. The engine position has also been moved forward and lower in the vehicle to make it more drivable in an endurance race.
The 296 GT3 is schedule to make its competitive debut at the Daytona 24 Hours just after the turn of the year. The car is aimed at professional-grade race teams, but is available to “gentleman drivers” looking for a more hardcore track day experience. No price has been announced for the racer, but we wouldn’t be surprised if it comes in above the street-legal version’s $318,000 starting cost.
Click here to see all the photos of the Ferrari 296 GT3.