Official: this is the new Ferrari 296 GT3, and it's angry | Top Gear
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Official: this is the new Ferrari 296 GT3, and it's angry

Maranello's next GT racer will contest Le Mans in 2023

Published: 29 Jul 2022

We've had the teaser images, which looked like Batman's daily, and a handful of camouflaged testing shots, but today in the paddock at the 24 Hours of Spa Ferrari pulled the sheet off its upcoming GT3 contender the 296 GT3, and it looks angry. Perhaps someone spilt its espresso?

Delivering on the promise of those frankly outrageous initial sketches, it's an enormously purposeful looking racecar, with aggressive front end aero shaping the air towards a clean, unfussy rear. No doubt wealthy businessfolk everywhere are thumbing through their chequebooks as we speak.

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They'll have more places to race it too, because not only will this be eligible for the GT World Challenge, including the Spa 24 hours, but from next year it'll also be showing up at the 24 hours of Le Mans in the GT class. And it's getting the car to the end of 24 hours that has informed much of the design, after substantial feedback from the poor mechanics who have to nurse a car through a day and a night of competition.

The packaging surrounding the road-derived, de-electrified 112 degree V6 is extremely compact, with the turbos mounted between the cylinder banks. That means that a large proportion of the rear end, including the exhaust, is an entirely removable and replaceable crash structure. Handy should the car get clattered by a speeding prototype at three in the morning.

It's a similar story at the front end, with a much smaller radiator compared to the outgoing 488 GT3 meaning if a gentleman driver were to accidentally nose it into the barrier, it's a much more straightforward fix.

Inside, a totally reworked cockpit setup includes an intuitive new multifunction display and a brand new highly ergonomic steering wheel with customisable, dimmable LEDs for those late night stints. You can even change the yellow of the prancing horse badge to something else if you like, which seems like sacrilege to us.

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The previous 488 GT3 was no slouch, racking up over a hundred wins in GT competition, but with the 296 GT3 tailored specifically for the war of attrition that is long distance endurance racing, we reckon it's going to be a serious threat when it makes its race debut at the 2023 Daytona 24 hours...

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