It's an animal.
Ferrari has once again raised the bar in track-exclusive performance with the introduction of the 296 Challenge, a 690bhp monster set to make its track debut in the Ferrari Challenge series in 2024. This latest iteration follows a proud tradition of Ferrari Berlinettas morphing into formidable race-spec versions for the brand's prestigious, factory-run single-make series.
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Originating in 1993, the Ferrari Challenge has become a global phenomenon, featuring regional championships across Europe, North America, Japan, and the UK. The 296 Challenge, derived from the 296 GTB, is poised to replace the 488 Challenge Evo in the European and North American circuits from next season.
The 296 Challenge distinguishes itself with an aggressive new aerodynamic package, boasting over 870kg of downforce at 155mph, surpassing even the impressive Porsche 911 GT3 RS in aerodynamic efficiency. While its 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 engine ditches the hybrid system of the GTB, reducing the output to 690bhp from 819bhp, the removal results in significant weight reduction. The exact weight savings remain undisclosed, but it's expected to be lighter than the GTB’s 1,470kg dry weight.
Despite the power reduction, the 296 Challenge outperforms the 296 GT3 race car in terms of horsepower, offering a competitive edge in a regulation-free racing environment. The car also debuts the ABS Evo Track, an advanced brake-by-wire system, and features new CCM-R brake discs from Brembo, complemented by custom-developed 19-inch tyres from Pirelli.
Details of the stripped-down interior are yet to be revealed, but expectations run high for a racing-focused cabin. While Ferrari remains tight-lipped about the pricing, it's clear that the 296 Challenge will be an exclusive offering for Ferrari enthusiasts with a penchant for track racing.
The introduction of the 296 Challenge not only marks a new chapter in Ferrari's racing legacy but also hints at the potential of a more hardcore road-legal version of the 296 in the near future. As always, Ferrari continues to blend cutting-edge technology with its rich racing heritage, delivering an unparalleled track experience to its devoted fanbase.