Under the Hood: Tips and Tricks to Driving the Ferrari 296 GT3

The Ferrari 296 GT3 was one of the most highly anticipated additions to ACC in the V1.9 update, and it’s certainly living up to the hype.

The brand new Ferrari 296 GT3 was released recently for Assetto Corsa Competizione as part of the recent V1.9 update! Ferrari has a long history in motorsport spanning many decades across various categories – they’ve won multiple Formula 1 World Championships and, of course, several GT3 Championships.

The 296 GT3 is their latest challenger that entered real-world racing earlier this year and improves over its predecessor, the 488 GT3.

Check out our hot laps and lap guides to get up to speed in this beast sharpish!

Introducing the Ferrari 296 GT3

Ferrari unveiled the 296 GT3 in 2022, before its first race at the 2023 24 Hours of Daytona. The car is powered by a turbocharged six-cylinder mid-mounted engine that’s quite compact, giving it a low centre of gravity. The aerodynamics have been improved by 20% over its predecessor, giving it more downforce and stability.

The 296 looks stunning with its classic Ferrari styling with performance to match. It’s still very new to Assetto Corsa Competizione, but it’s already proving to be an amazing car to drive.

The basic car characteristics

Being mid-engined, its handling is balanced with very little understeer or oversteer to worry about. However, this will change when pushed hard, and the setup will need to be adjusted to compensate.

Generally, stiffer anti-roll bars at the front with comparatively softer ones at the rear should help create a balanced setup, but this needs to be adjusted based on the track type. It must be noted that the car responds to even small setup changes, so it’s best to make incremental changes and drive some laps to confirm your choice.

Using the Aggressive default setup, the car feels quite stable and handles kerbs without issue. You can even attack the sausage kerbs found on several of the track in Assetto Corsa Competizione, and the 296 just bounces over them while keeping its composure. 

Just like all GT3s, the Ferrari 296 GT3 has driver aides such as ABS and Traction Control (TC) that, if used correctly, can help you go faster. Generally speaking, pushing the 296 too hard will result in the TC kicking and slowing you down, but it can help you find pace in the wet since it assists with managing throttle control. You will also need to increase the TC level if the track is quite green and then slowly decrease it as the track rubbers in.

Steering and Cornering

The Ferrari 296 uses a 800° steering wheel rotation that must be set up to make sure you get the correct steering response. This can be done within the sim’s settings menu, but needs to be matched with the settings in your steering wheel’s driver software.

Using, for example, 480° like on the McLaren 720S GT3, will make the Ferrari essentially undrivable. Once this is done, you’ll notice the car has very stable handling and cornering. It can be pushed past the limit, and a quick steering correction will bring the rear back in check.

The new V1.9 update for Assetto Corsa Competizione introduced some changes to the way tyre pressure and temperatures work. The tyres work best between a range of 70°C to 100°C. However, you will still get good grip even when you’re at the outer limits of this range, meaning that the tires have quite a wide effective operating window making it relatively simple to manage.

The surface temperature of tyres, though, will change much quicker, which means you will need to be less aggressive with the steering to try and keep it within a recommended 15°C window. The 296 can suffer from front tyre graining earlier than some of the other cars. This is mainly due to the extra time it takes to heat up the fronts. 

Tyre pressure now works effectively between 26.0 and 27.0, and it’s recommended that you keep the pressures between the front and rear tyres as close to each other as possible to retain a more predictable handling balance.

The Aggressive default setup offers good stability and relatively balanced cornering in the 296 GT3 too, but a setup from Coach Dave Academy will take it to a whole new level. The car then feels rock solid, giving you confidence in any situation.

  • The Delta app will automatically adjust your tyre pressures based on track temperature, so that’s one less thing to worry about too.

Aerodynamics and Bodywork

Two main settings on the Ferrari 296 can be adjusted to change downforce levels and trim out the aero balance. The rear wing makes the biggest difference in terms of increasing or decreasing the overall level of downforce, but this must be adjusted in conjunction with the car’s ride height to maintain a good rake angle.

The car performs better with higher downforce settings. However, regardless of downforce level, keeping the rake angle below 20mm may help reduce snap oversteer.  

The front splitter can trim out the aero balance, but it’s best to use it as little as possible to minimise unwanted drag. It’s better to work on suspension adjustments to reduce understeer instead of using the front splitter as a quick but dirty solution.

Power Delivery and Braking

Despite having a turbocharged engine, the Ferrari 296 has a very smooth power delivery with a predictable throttle response. It’s quite easy to get the car on the limit and keep it there by balancing the throttle. As mentioned earlier, even if you push it past the limit, bringing it back into line requires quick correcting without worrying about snap oversteering swinging the car into an unrecoverable spin.

The car prefers braking in a straight line, especially when using the Aggressive default setup. Braking while having some steering angle can cause the rear to unload and get loose. This can be mitigated by moving the brake balance a bit rearwards to reduce the brake force on the front wheels and keep a little more load on the rear wheels. Trail braking is important since the front end can be sensitive to inputs late into the braking zone.

Final thoughts

The new Ferrari 296 GT3 is a magnificent racing car that handles amazingly well out of the box with stunning good looks and fantastic speed. It may be new to Assetto Corsa Competizione, but we think it will be one of the most popular cars in the sim.

Make sure you get your Ferrari 296 GT3 setups here now: Coach Dave Delta Ferrari 296 GT3

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