The New 600-HP Ferrari 296 GT3 Is Maranello’s First V6 GT Racer In Over 50 Years

But it has an air-conditioned cockpit and adjustable pedals for the "gentlemen drivers" who probably need such things.

There will be many reasons to watch the 2023 24 Hours of Daytona, and Ferrari gave us another one Friday. Next year’s GT3 entry from the prancing horse is here: the Ferrari 296 GT3. 

It’s the first mid-engine V6 racer from Ferrari since the 246 SP that raced in the 1960s at the hands of exceptional drivers such as Phil Hill and Richie Ginther

Fast-forward to today’s Ferrari race car, and much has changed—even if the engine is in the same place. The 296 GT3 picks up where the 488 GT3 leaves off and adds 50 ponies to the bottom line to make around 600 horsepower in the base configuration, according to Ferrari. Unlike the 296 GTB from which the GT3 is very loosely based, the 296 GT3 racer is all gas power; no hybrid batteries are allowed in the class. 

The GT3 version stuffs twin turbos between the V6’s wide cylinder banks that oppose each other by 120 degrees. Compared to the roadgoing version, the GT3’s engine is farther forward and lower, which lowers the center of gravity and increases torsional rigidity by 10%, according to Ferrari. 

That chassis is all aluminum this time around, like the 488 GT3. The 296 GT3’s bodywork is the most improved component compared to its predecessor, according to Ferrari. The 296 GT3 has 20% more downforce than the 488 GT3, and rides on tall 18-inch wheels. The front tires are 30/68s and 292mm wide. The rears are 31/71s and 320mm wide.

Arresting those wide slicks (or rain tires) are massive 15.7-inch stoppers at the front with six-piston calipers. At the rear, four-piston calipers ride 13-inch rotors. Yeesh. 

The rest? It’s all pretty fancy, too. The cockpit is air-conditioned—no doubt for “gentleman drivers” who would like their pretty race cars not to be sweat boxes. And the latest Sabelt seats swaddle their drivers for extended runs and adjustable pedals help with varying driver heights. Ferrari says the 296 GT3’s six-speed single-clutch sequential transmission is new for the car and features a hand-operated clutch vs. a floor-mounted pedal. 

It’s all very cool, and likely very expensive. Ferrari didn’t say how much, but the 488 GT3 Evo’s price soared past $600,000 and it’s highly likely that the new version won’t be cheaper. 

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