What actually defines Ferrari?
The 296 GTB, just unveiled to the world, is Ferrari’s new mid-rear-engined sports car.
It is also, and this is a big deal, a hybrid. It uses an internal combustion engine that, on its own, sets the new specific power output record for a production road car. Ferrari’ numbers are 663 cv and 221 cv/l. Do the math. The new internal combustion engine part of the equation is a V6 Turbo with an angle of 120 degrees in that V. Have you done the math? That’s a three liter (2992 cm3) pushing 663 horsepower. 29 engine size, 6 cylinder, hence the number designation 296. GTB by the way stands for Gran Turismo Berlinetta.
Then there’s the electric part of the equation. The new car is the first-ever Ferrari with a rear wheel drive only Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle architecture. The rear-mounted electric motor is derived from the Formula 1 application, and produces 122 kW or 167 horsepower.
The two parts of the powertrain equation work together via what Ferrari calls the Transition Manager Actuator, which basically tells them which one gets to play. When they all play well together? 830 combined horses.
No, its not a v12. No its not even a V8. Will it be a real Ferrari? The engineers and designers are emphatic. The new car is meant to be the most fun to drive Ferrari yet. This is helped by things like having a wheelbase shorter by 50mm than anything else and a center of gravity lower by 10mm than the F8. A 3280 pound dry curb weight also helps. And these are key points allowed by the use of a V6 instead of a V8 (a 40mm savings in length) and the wide 120 degree angle to the V. They call the handling feel almost go-kart like. More engaging, more fun to drive than anything in their stable, they say.
A car for the future? Yes? A nod to the past? The rear flanks and their muscles may remind you of the beautiful 250LM. Who is this car for? The enthusiast driver, they say. You need to want to be engaged in the experience.
This is not the first six cylinder road car built by Ferrari. Remember the Dino? Never carried the Ferrari name, but one of the most well-loved cars of all time. Why didn’t they use the Dino name, they were asked. Great explanation. The Dino was made to bring in new drivers into the family. Because of this it was made with some compromises in terms of how certain things were done. This new car, the 296GTB? No compromises. Meant to be the most fun to drive Ferrari yet.
Lots of numbers were thrown around during the press conference. Perhaps the quickest answer was … “track time? 1:21” There wasn’t even a breath between question and answer. Clearly they know what’s important.
And yes, if you need more, they will offer the 296 GTB Asseto Fiorano. If you want that much more speed, handling, weight reduction and exclusivity.