In an era where the automotive industry is rapidly moving towards electrification, the future of traditional V8 and V12 engines appears to be numbered. This shift towards a more sustainable future extends even to esteemed supercar manufacturers like Ferrari and Lamborghini.
While we still have a few more years to revel in the V12 glory, the thought of bidding farewell to these iconic powerplants undoubtedly saddens traditional automotive enthusiasts. However, amidst this changing landscape, certain high-performance gasoline engines will continue to thrive, especially in the realm of hybrid vehicles.
Ferrari, for example, has embraced a twin-turbo V6/electric setup in its entry-level model, the 296. This V6 engine has also made its mark as a standalone propulsion unit in the race-spec GT3 variant. And if the following compilation is any indication, the sound produced by the Tipo F163 CE mill is nothing short of extraordinary when the car is unleashed at full throttle.
The 296 GT3 made its debut in 2022, effectively replacing the 488 GT3 for the 2023 racing season. The 488 had an impressive run of seven years, mainly because Ferrari did not develop a racing version of its successor, the F8 Tributo.
Therefore, while the 296 did not replace the 488 (or the F8) for public road use, Ferrari chose to utilize this entry-level supercar as its primary weapon in the GT3-spec racing category.
Raw Power, Enhanced Grip: Stripped-Down 296 GT3's Performance
Stripped of all plug-in hybrid components, the 296 GT3 took to the racetrack equipped with a twin-turbo V6 engine generating 592 horsepower and 524 pound-feet (710 Nm) of torque.
Although slightly less potent than its road-going counterpart (which boasts 652 horses with the V6 and 819 horsepower as a hybrid), the GT3 maintains exceptional grip on the track, thanks to an aggressive aero package that enhances downforce by 20%.
Furthermore, Ferrari equipped the GT3 version with a distinct transmission setup, replacing the dual-clutch gearbox with a six-speed sequential unit featuring a rotary e-shift actuator gearshift and an e-clutch actuator with paddle shifters mounted on the steel steering wheel.
Additionally, the GT3 sheds a noticeable amount of weight compared to the road-going 296, tipping the scales at 1,250 kg (2,756 pounds). This weight reduction is achieved through the extensive use of lightweight components and the elimination of the hybrid system.
The 296 GT3 marks Ferrari's first mid-engined V6 race car since the Dino-based series in the 1960s. Its debut took place at the prestigious 2023 24 Hours of Daytona, where four vehicles were entered into the race. Out of the four, only one successfully completed the grueling endurance event, securing 32nd place overall and a respectable 10th place in the GTD category.
However, the 296 GT3 showcased its true potential in May, triumphantly winning the 24 Hours of Nurburgring and setting a new distance record on the renowned German track. Looking ahead to 2024, the 296 GT3 will be accompanied by the 296 Challenge, which will replace the 488 Challenge Evo.
But enough chatter for now. Click the play button below to witness several 296 GT3s showcasing their V6 prowess at the Monza Circuit. This footage captures various testing sessions and the exhilarating 12 Hours of Monza race.
Keep your ears tuned for the exhilarating downshifts, as they produce a truly captivating symphony of engine notes.