This is Ferrari’s new 296 Challenge one-make racer | Top Gear
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This is Ferrari’s new 296 Challenge one-make racer

Ferrari rips the hybrid gubbins out of the 296 GTB to create a 690bhp racecar

Published: 23 Oct 2023

Ferrari has unveiled an all-new challenger for its inventively titled ‘Ferrari Challenge’ one-make race series. The car in question, which is set to debut in Europe and North America for the 2024 season, is the similarly descriptive 296 Challenge.

But while the naming department may have had an easy job with this one, Maranello’s engineers clearly had a bit more work to do. You see, there have been eight different cars (not including the 296) since the European Challenge series kicked off in 1993, and all of them have been powered by mid-mounted V8 engines.

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The 296 Challenge is different. It uses the same 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 engine as the 296 GTB road car, but here it’s producing around 690bhp. And now you’re expecting us to tell you how much extra power you get from the supplementary electric motors, right?

Well, the answer is 0bhp, because like it does with the 296 GT3 racer, Ferrari rips out all of the hybrid gubbins to create the 296 Challenge. That means it’s down on power compared to its monstrous 818bhp road car equivalent, but we’re confident this thing won’t be lacking in the pace department. 

There’s not a huge amount of detail on the car available just yet, but Ferrari has said that this “rewrites the parameters of the Prancing Horse single-make series” and that it “ushers in substantial modifications on the power unit, aero and vehicle dynamics fronts, all aimed at guaranteeing maximum performance on the track”.

Those aero changes are fairly obvious, aren’t they? There’s a giant swan neck rear wing, a hefty front splitter and a great deal of extra cooling. We’re told there’s 546lb ft of torque to get things moving and 870kg of downforce at 155mph to keep you stuck to the surface. 

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There’s also ABS EVO Track – a new adaptation of the 296 GTB’s ultra-clever brake by wire system – and specially developed Pirelli tyres.

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