Ferrari’s heritage in sports car racing predates its storied history in Formula 1, and the brand is turning a new page in just three months.
On January 28-29, 2023, the Ferrari 296 GT3 will make its long-awaited world racing debut at the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
The new 296 will replace the hugely successful 488, and Ferrari is looking forward to its new challenger becoming the latest in a long line of winners following a “thorough” design process.
“The 296 GT3 embodies the future of the prancing horse in GT racing, a sector that has always seen the closest customer relationships and the greatest transfer of technology and innovative solutions to production cars,” the manufacturer said in a statement when the car was unveiled. introduced.
“This car has been carefully designed in every detail and from every angle to meet the new GT3 regulations.
“It inherits the winning legacy of the 488 GT3 and is set to write new pages in Prancing Horse motorsport history.”
While Scuderia Ferrari has competed in Formula 1 Grand Prix racing since 1950, the story of the ‘Running Horse’ sports car began in 1949 when Luigi Chinetti and Peter Mitchell-Thomson won the 166MM at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Chinetti developed a close relationship with Enzo Ferrari and played a large role in raising Ferrari’s profile in the North American market as a distributor/dealer and operator of NART – North American Racing Team.
The Italian marque’s record in American sports car racing is impressive, including two overall wins at the Rolex 24 At Daytona and no fewer than a dozen full-field triumphs at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.
To date in the 21st century, Ferrari has not competed for overall sports car wins, but its GT-based cars have earned class wins in nearly every major IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship event.
The red cars have dominated Sebring with six wins since 2007 and 10 Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta since 2003.
Ferrari’s new 296 GT3 could replace the outgoing 488 GT3 EVO 2020, which has claimed more than 500 international race wins since 2016, making it one of the most successful competitive Ferraris of all time.
Nick Cassidy took a landmark victory for the car at the Red Bull Ring last month in the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) competition, while IMSA’s most recent victory came at Sebring in March when Antonio Fuoco, Roberto Lacorte and Giorgio Cernagiotta helped Cetilar Racing win the GT Daytona class .
Like its GT predecessors, the 296 GT3 was developed based on Ferrari’s best-selling road car — in this case, the recently introduced 296 GTB — which features a twin-turbo V-6 engine mated to a hybrid power management system and an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission.
International GT3 regulations won’t allow hybrid technology to be used in race cars, but the 296 GT3 does have the same road car as the 120-degree turbocharged V-6 configuration, a significant change from the naturally aspirated V-8 used in the 488, as well as the Ferrari 458 and 430 iterations that came before it.
Producing 600 horsepower, the new V-6 is more fuel-efficient than the outgoing V-8 and has also been designed to be compatible with new biofuels mandated by IMSA and other sanctioning bodies.
The aerodynamics for the 296 GTB road car were developed in conjunction with the GT3 racing program, and Ferrari claims a 20 percent increase in downforce compared to the 2020 488 GT3 EVO as part of the homologation parameters.
The car has been designed on a modular basis to improve serviceability, particularly under fire during endurance races, while most of the car’s functions are now managed by steering wheel controls using technology first introduced in Ferrari’s Formula 1 cars.
The 296 GT3 began track testing in April and has since racked up thousands of development runs at the Ferrari Autodrome in Fiorano, Italy, and other international venues.
The 296 GT3 will make its global competition debut at the 2023 Rolex 24 in Daytona on January 28-29.
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