The Debut of the Ferrari 296 Challenge

The debut of the new Ferrari 296 Challenge is just one of this week’s highlights in my Racecraft & Race Cars Roundup. I also have racecraft tips on braking and why you should not judge your racecraft too harshly, calendar news from various racing series and the top 10 best production track cars.

All this and much more in this week’s edition of the Racecraft & Race Cars Roundup on Motorsport Prospects. It’s for people who like to go fast.

Racecraft Tips & Techniques


Racecraft & Race Cars Roundup

Blayze has produced a comprehensive Braking Masterclass For Racecar Drivers. “Where and how we attack and release the brakes is the single most important part of the corner and race track. In this article, we’re going to tackle exactly how we can improve our braking so that you can enter into any corner in the fastest possible way.”

In the latest issue of Motorsport UK Magazine Revolution, six drivers share their journeys from Clubman to Interclub and beyond. “Grassroots motorsport offers plenty of action and camaraderie but what if you want to go to the next level? Will Grey asks six drivers how they did.”

In Drive Like a Little Kid, Ross Bentley of Speed Secrets explains the importance of the difference between being aware of what you are doing on the track and judging yourself because of it.

It’s okay to be aware of how you’re driving, and even review and analyze how you’re driving, but that’s different from judging it. It’s okay to notice that you’re braking too early for a corner, for example. But you don’t need to tell yourself that “I always brake early. I suck. I’m not good on the brakes.” The former is being aware, and the latter is judging. Which one would a little kid do?”

In his Ask Ross column, Ross answers the question, “If you are about to lose control of the vehicle, i.e. at the end of a straightaway due to brake failure and frontal crash is imminent, would you rather try to rotate the vehicle so it might impact sideways or let it go straight to the barrier? What would be the wiser action to take right there?”

Formula Ford Festival

The transition from karts to cars can be a difficult one and one of the best paths to follow is that of F1600, a class that has been running for 56 years. One of the biggest opportunities for a young driver to compete against the best in this class is the Formula Ford Festival in the UK which just concluded last weekend.

Autosport talked to previous winners and the people who supported them to learn the secrets of success at the Festival.

“Confidence is key, but you have to find the right switch to turn it on,” says Vergers. “Every driver’s personality is different. To produce the best, you first have to understand what triggers belief.

“Yes, you need a good season behind you. You need to know who you’re racing and how to beat them, but you also need to be tuned into your car and trust in its response. The process of driving is quite simple, but the art of racing demands skill and perfection, lap after lap.”

Michael Vergers (Driver coach)

J.G. Pasterjak of Graasroots Motorsports explains 6 driving fundamentals I wish I could explain to a younger me if he had a time machine.


The Debut of the Ferrari 296 Challenge

In the video above, Jim Leo of PitFit Training explains the physical fitness evaluations on that he will be conducting on the 12 Prodigy Week drivers from Racing Prodigy that will be taking place next week.

Jim will test drivers on:

  • Endurance via a 12-minute treadmill run (Cooper test)
  • Grip strength (dead hang test)
  • Upper body strength (push-up test)
  • Neck strength
  • Hand/eye reflex and reaction test

Race Car & Series Developments

Racecraft & Race Cars Roundup
Ferrari 296 Challenge

On the eve of the Finali Mondiali, which take place at the Mugello Circuit between October 24 and 30, Ferrari will present the 296 Challenge, the ninth model in the history of the Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli.

Due to debut in the Europe and North America series in the 2024 season, the 296 Challenge introduces a slew of new features with respect to the Ferrari 488 Challenge Evo and, in certain respects, is a revolutionary design.

The new 296 Challenge is the embodiment of an innovative new philosophy that has seen far-reaching work carried out on the road car to optimise its specifications for track use. Both in terms of performance and lap consistency throughout a race, the 296 Challenge rewrites the parameters of the Prancing Horse single-make series, offering solutions that closely mirror the specifications of the 296 GT3, which made its debut this season.

Derived from the 296 GTB, the 296 Challenge ushers in substantial modifications on the power unit, aero and vehicle dynamics fronts, all aimed at guaranteeing maximum performance on the track. It is the first car in the history of the championship to be powered by a 120-degree V6: the new model sports the 2992cc twin turbo engine without the hybrid component, a choice also made for the 296 GT3. The engine unleashes 700 cv with maximum torque of 740 Nm, with the result that the 296 Challenge sets a new power record for the segment with 234 cv/l.

The 296 Challenge’s aero package delivers downforce figures unprecedented in the single-make series’ history, ensuring the maximum efficiency in all conditions. In fact, the 296 Challenge generates in excess of 870 kg of downforce at 250 km/h with the spoiler at its maximum angle of attack.

The car sees the debut of ABS EVO Track, a specific adaptation of the innovative system introduced for the first time on the 296 GTB. With the addition of new CCM-R PLUS brake discs, both braking performance and consistency are improved. New, specifically-developed Pirelli 19” tyres have also made a substantial contribution to the car’s handling and performance.

TCR touring cars will continue to have a dedicated category in the Michelin Pilot Challenge series through the 2026 season, after officials from IMSA and WSC Group (which owns the TCR trademark and technical regulations) announced an extension of their partnership.

We are proud to continue our relationship with WSC as the exclusive rights holder for TCR in North America,” said IMSA President John Doonan. “TCR has proven to be popular with IMSA fans. They are amazing race cars that offer a platform for marques such as Alfa Romeo, Audi, Honda and Hyundai to participate in IMSA via the Michelin Pilot Challenge. We’ve seen no shortage of great racing in TCR over the past six seasons and we expect even more excitement from TCR in the future.”

According to Sportscar365, Circuit of The Americas appears set to stage a three-hour enduro for Pirelli GT4 America next year following competitor feedback in recent months according to SRO America President and CEO Greg Gill.

“We have not made a formal announcement on that yet but what we have talked about privately with the teams is that it’s going to follow a very similar format to what we do in British GT,” Gill told Sportscar365. “It would be a two-driver format, and you can look at British GT as a good example of what that could look like. I think you’re going to see something in the three-hour range, time-wise.”

Michelin will introduce an all-new tire in the GTD Pro and GTD classes of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship next year, with the Pilot Sport Pro GT H1 compound set to provide a step forward in sustainability and performance according to the brand’s WeatherTech Championship series manager.

“This is the first time since 2019 that we’ve introduced a new tire into an existing class,” said Michelin’s Taylor Jenkins, whose focus is on the GTD Pro and GTD classes. “You can think GTP came along and that was a new tire but that was also a new class and new cars. The Pilot Sport Pro will really represent a step forward in performance and sustainability in all of the criteria.”

Speed Cafe reports that SRO has advised teams that it has taken over full control of Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia Powered by AWS.

The public announcement today from SRO, via Motorsport Australia, reads, in part, “Top-level SRO promoted GT racing in Australia will expand in 2024 with confirmation that GT4 cars will compete as part of the Motorsport Australia national championship.”

Prototype Sprint Series Association

The Prototype Sprint Series Association presented by Hankook (PSSA) has announced its 2024 schedule. Marking its sophomore season, the series will once again provide the owners of prototype race cars with the opportunity to compete in a sprint race format across the country. Increasing from 8 to 12 events, the 2024 season will mark the debut of the PSSA East and PSSA West championship titles, and will crown a National champion.

“We’re excited to announce the 2024 schedule for the Prototype Sprint Series Association presented by Hankook,” said Rob Elson, Technical Director of PSSA. “We’ve had a successful inaugural season, and with continued support from great partners like Hankook, Radical, Revolution and Ligier, we expect to see even more growth in 2024. We continue to add eligible chassis, opening up the series to even more potential, and now we’re adding five new venues, with Thunderhill, Eagles Canyon, Lime Rock, Portland and Watkins Glen all included on next year’s schedule. We’re just getting started with PSSA, and we can’t wait to see how its potential unfolds.”

Gibson Technology will continue to provide the spec powerplant in the LMP2 class for the platform’s new set of regulations beginning in 2026, officials from the FIA and ACO announced last Friday and reported by Sportscar365.

The British company has won the tender process for a new five-year period, having been selected over several other bids, including one understood to have involved Mecachrome and ORECA. The power unit configuration will be a 4.2-liter naturally-aspirated V8, the same configuration as the current LMP2 regulations.

Officials from HSR and IMSA have confirmed plans for a new, six-event series for current and previous-generation LMP3 cars beginning in 2024. The series will be known as the HSR Prototype Challenge presented by IMSA. Events will be operated by HSR with oversight from IMSA – the license rights-holder for LMP3 racing in the United States and Canada.

Each event will have an endurance racing format, ranging in length from 90 minutes to three hours, with two classes of competition. LMP3-1 will include current EVO cars, with the LMP3-2 class using previous-generation LMP3 cars.

Mercedes has admitted that its hopes of joining the new LMGT3 class in the World Endurance Championship next year are fading. Stefan Wendl, head of customer racing at Mercedes-AMG, admitted to Autosport that the German manufacturer’s attempts to secure entries for what is expected to be an oversubscribed class “so far look not so promising”.

Grassroots Motorsports has a great look at what’s it like to attend the Nürburgring 24 Hours.

The Nürburgring 24–officially the ADAC TotalEnergies 24h Nürburgring–essentially operates as the world’s largest pro-am race. Professional and factory-backed GT teams square off for domination of one of the world’s most complex racing circuits, all while dicing it up with amateur and club squads competing in their own classes. It’s as if the Rolex 24 and the 25 Hours of Thunderhill had a beautiful little motorsports baby and left it to be raised by wolves in the German countryside.”

FIA Junior WRC 2024

Secto Rally Finland has been included in the FIA Junior WRC 2024 calendar after the one-make series’ season was announced. Open to drivers aged up to 30 and driving Ford Fiesta Rally3 Evos prepared by M-Sport Poland, the Junior WRC calendar for 2024 boasts five iconic rallies spread across a variety of surfaces.

The FIA has revised its dictionary for cross-country rally. Last Thursday, the World Motor Sport Council approved a series of vernacular changes that will go into effect in 2024 including renaming the three Cups for Cross-Country Bajas, all five categories in Bajas and the World Rally-Raid Championship, and even basic event types.

The term “Cross-Country Baja”, which refers to a rally that takes place over four days with two for racing and a total Selective Section length of at least 350 kilometres, now has a more simplified name of “Baja”. As a result, the three Baja-focused championships have been respectively dubbed the World Baja Cup, European Baja Cup, and Middle East Baja Cup.

Here is the updated terminology from the FIA: New terminology of FIA cross-country rallying disciplines to be used from 2024.

Thinking about building a Spec MX-5 for 2024? Check out Mazda Motorsports’ special promotion which was just announced, where you can save up to 25%.

We are very excited to launch the 2024 season with the SCCA adopting Spec MX-5 to be a national class which makes it runoffs eligible,” commented Josh Smith, Mazda Motorsports’ business development manager responsible for Mazda’s grassroots racing program. “We set out to have 18+ cars in each Hoosier Super Tour. “We are just over 110 build kits sold,” continued Smith. “With another 20-30 cars built before the next race season, we will achieve our goal of continued growth year over year for this class.  This is a long-term project for the depart and we will support this class for many years to come.  We have been stocking up on competition and OEM parts to make sure of this.”

Track Days

Racecraft & Race Cars Roundup
Mark Sutton, courtesy of Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings PLC.

The Robb Report looks at the 10 Best Production Track Cars, From the AMG One to the McLaren 765LT. “Many of the models on this list are homologation specials, which are derived from race cars, save a few minor tweaks to keep them road legal. Armed with that knowledge, we encourage you to grab a helmet, book that track time, and choose your weapon wisely.”

The Debut of the Ferrari 296 Challenge

Reviewing the Praga R1 at Atlanta Motorsports Park in the video above is respected American racing driver and journalist, Randy Pobst. He takes the lightweight, high downforce Praga R1 for a full track test at AMP – and he’s never seen AMP like this before!

Ford Performance has announced a new track-only version of the Mustang Dark Horse. Called the Dark Horse R, the new race car slots between the street-legal Dark Horse and the more intense GT3 and GT4 racers. Carrying a starting price of $146,595, the Dark Horse R will race in a spec-series sanctioned by IMSA.

Skip Barber Racing School has announced new dates for Mustang and Formula car schools for 2024. A highlight of next year’s schedule is the addition of Road America to their lineup of legendary racetracks. You’ll be able to get behind the wheel of our Ford Mustang GTs at the legendary venue in Elkhart Lake, WI.

All the dates can be found here.

Racing Opportunities

The Debut of the Ferrari 296 Challenge
Mark Boudreau
Author: Mark Boudreau

Mark is the publisher of Motorsport Prospects. As a former lawyer, he applies his legal background and research skills to assist race drivers by showcasing the resources they need to make their motorsport careers happen.