Race reflections. The debut race for the 296 GT3 goes into the archives with mixed feelings. The challenge to which the Prancing Horse’s latest racing creation was called was not the easiest, having to deal with a difficult endurance marathon like the 24 Hours of Daytona. Having completed the planned distance was an important milestone from the point of view of the data acquired, also considering some technical glitches that occurred during the race. On the performance front, however, the 296 GT3s were unable to demonstrate their potential due to the Balance of Performance that penalized the new-generation cars entered in the event, as evidenced by the more than one-second deficit in the fastest lap achieved compared to the other GTD Pro and GTD class cars.
GTD Pro. The crew formed by official Competizioni GT drivers Alessandro Pier Guidi, James Calado, Davide Rigon and Daniel Serra gained positions in the first half of the race. Just past the third hour with Calado at the wheel, the red 296 GT3 reached fourth place. At that point, the hopes of a comeback towards the podium faded due to contact in the night while Pier Guidi was at the wheel, who was forced to return to the pits to allow the mechanics to work on the bottom of the car. They returned to the track 18 laps back from the leader. The consequences reported, however, result in retirement some time later.
GTD. Crossing the finish line was the Ferrari of Triarsi Competizione, entrusted to the crew of Alessio Rovera, Andrea Bertolini, Onofrio Triarsi and Charlie Scardina. The number 023 296 GT3 stood out at the start, when Rovera in the first stint drove forward to take eighth position. As the sun set, the challenge came into full swing and the two official drivers of the Maranello marque consolidated the American team in the top-15, setting the stage for a positive finish, despite two Drive Through penalties served in the last third of the race. After several stages of Full Course Yellow, the Triarsi Competizione team crossed the finish line in 10th position with Rovera, having completed 719 laps in the race won by the No. 27 Aston Martin.
The race of the 296 GT3 of Miguel Molina, Simon Mann, Francesco Castellacci and Luís Pérez Companc, developed steadily in the first twenty hours, when the AF Corse car appeared in the top ten of the category. A couple of prolonged stops in the final stanza complicated the path of the No. 21, called back behind the wall for repairs that set it back four positions. On their return in the final hour, it was Molina at the wheel. After yet another Full Course Yellow, with 35 minutes to go, in the frantic restart a contact caused front-end damage that prevented the Ferrari from completing the race.
An unlucky 24 Hours also for Cetilar Racing, the tricolor team formed by Antonio Fuoco, Roberto Lacorte, Giorgio Sernagiotto and Alessandro Balzan. The number 47 296 GT3 retired after 44 laps due to damage to the bottom after making contact in the opening laps.
Next race. The American series will return to the spotlight on the weekend of March 18 at the Sebring, Florida, track, which will host the famous 12-Hour race. The event, which is the second round of the Endurance Cup, will be staged on the same weekend that will see the Ferrari 499P make its debut in the Hypercar class of the FIA World Endurance Championship.