Continuing a long lineage of the Prancing Horse’s modified production cars, the 296 Challenge does away with electrification and its number plate in exchange for 522 kW.
As emissions regulations continue to tighten worldwide, the introduction of high-performance vehicles powered solely by internal combustion engines has become increasingly challenging for automakers. This challenge extends to elite, low-volume manufacturers like Ferrari, which has embraced electrification in its recent Maranello creations, resulting in hybrid powertrains for its Prancing Horse models. The 296 GTB and its convertible counterpart, the 296 GTS, are prime examples of this hybrid approach.
However, the 296 Challenge breaks from this pattern, featuring a pure V6 powerplant without any hybrid assistance, as it is engineered as a dedicated racing car. This means that emissions aren’t an issue and weight reduction is an imperative. The result is a creation that will take to the Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli. This model, the ninth to be developed for the racing series, supersedes the 488 Challenge Evo introduced for the 2020 racing season.
While the road car features a 3,0-litre twin-turbocharged V6 488 kW paired to an electric motor, this ditches the latter like its GT3 sibling and manages a whopping 522 kW and 740 N.m from the combustion engine alone. As a sign of the downsizing times, this is also the first V6-powered Challenge car to bear the Prancing Horse on it.
Ferrari proudly claims this engine achieves a record power output of 234 hp (174 kW) per litre for its segment. To manage this tremendous power, the track-exclusive machine is equipped with carbon-ceramic brakes, an enhanced ABS system derived from the 296 GTB, and fresh 19-inch Pirelli tires specifically engineered for racing.
The 296 Challenge also benefits from an advanced aerodynamic package, generating over 870 kilograms of downforce at 155 mph (250 km/h). This level of downforce sets a record for a single-make racing car in terms of aerodynamic performance. All of this recipe equates to a track toy for the rich that will likely punch above its class.
Ferrari plans to unveil its latest track-focused creation at the Mugello Circuit in Italy during the Finali Mondiali event scheduled for October 24-30.