Ferrari is making “consistent” progress on the development of its new GT3 car and could carry out the first rollout at the end of next month, according to the manufacturer’s sports car racing director Antonello Coletta.
As first revealed by Sportscar365 last July, Ferrari is developing a GT3-homologated racing version of the 296 GTB road car.
The new competition model, which Ferrari has not yet officially announced, will replace the current 488 GT3 that has been in competition since the start of 2016.
Coletta, who leads the company’s Attivita Sportive GT department, told Sportscar365 that the development of the new GT3 car is moving along at an appropriate pace.
“The progress is consistent,” he said. “We hope to start with the first test at the end of March and [early] April.
“I hope to present the car in June or July; this is the idea depending on how the car develops in the next months.
“It is important that all the customers and teams have a chance to appreciate the product and make a plan for 2023. We need to show the car in the middle of the season.”
Ferrari expects to run the 296 GT3 for the first time at its Fiorano test track before heading off to circuits in Europe for an intensive track development program.
However, it is understood that the manufacturer does not plan to run a pre-homologated version of the car in race conditions this year. BMW and Audi fielded their new and updated GT3 products in select races during the 2021 season ahead of their homologation and deployment to customers in 2022.
Coletta indicated that the 296 GT3 will be tested alongside Ferrari’s four-wheel-drive hybrid Le Mans Hypercar once the latter vehicle appears a couple of months later.
The staggered timing of the rollout for the new vehicles is consistent with Coletta’s projection made when the 296 GT3 project was first revealed last summer.
“We will probably have the tests together because it will be stupid if we don’t share the same data,” Coletta said.
“We take [both] to the track and all together develop the GT3 and Hypercar. It is normal that the Hypercar will be ready two or three months after. It depends, but I am confident we will be on the track after Le Mans.”
Coletta explained that Ferrari started with a “white paper” on the design of its new GT3 car, which is based on a road-going parent with plug-in hybrid capabilities and a 3-liter V6 twin-turbo internal combustion engine.
“I think it will be a good change,” he said. “All of our cars in the past have been an evolution of the car before.
“If you remember with the 430 and 458, the 458 and 488… we had some previous parts that were involved in the new car.
“Now it’s completely different: the chassis, engine, suspension. It’s a good challenge for us and for our technical team.
“We don’t have any parts from the 488. All the car is different. For this matter, I am very curious to see the car on the track for the first time and understand if we did a good job.”
Ferrari has been on a drive to generate customer interest in its GT3 products ahead of the new car’s introduction.
Part of that push has been the implementation of factory-assisted entries with the Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 in major series such as Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli.
Coletta suggested that interest has been high for Ferrari’s next-generation GT3 racer.
“We have lots of interest from many customers,” he said.
“Honestly, we are surprised about all the people who ask for information about the future car. This is a good opportunity.
“I think it has been important to win many races in the last two years.
“It is normal that the product is born in Maranello with all the knowledge that we have.
“This is very appreciated from our customers and customers of the other brands that ask us to have more information about the new car.”
One customer with interest in the new Ferrari GT3 is Roberto Lacorte, whose Cetilar Racing organization has run the GTE variant of the 488 model in the FIA World Endurance Championship.
Cetilar also recently ran a 488 GT3 Evo 2020 for the first time in the Rolex 24 at Daytona, at the start of an IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup campaign.
“This is an important year for us but we are also waiting for next year because we want to start with the new GT car of Ferrari, and bring the car to Daytona for the first time next year,” Lacorte told Sportscar365 last month.
“It starts racing in America next year [and] in WEC one year later. For sure, for next year, I want to be the first team that drives the 296 in the world.
“It means that we will come back in Daytona with the 296, for sure. Then we have to decide if we race in IMSA or in WEC.”