Ferrari SF90 Faces the 296 GTB in a Surprisingly Close Set of Drag and Rolling Races

Drag races are fun to watch regardless of how fast or slow the cars involved are. But in this case, they are both ludicrously quick and belong to one of the most esteemed brands on the planet, Ferrari. Another thing the contestants have in common is that they are both hybridized mid-engine exotic sportscars.
Ferrari SF90 vs Ferrari 296 GTB Drag Race 9 photos
Photo: YouTube / Carwow
Ferrari SF90 vs Ferrari 296 GTB Drag RaceFerrari SF90 vs Ferrari 296 GTB Drag RaceFerrari SF90 vs Ferrari 296 GTB Drag RaceFerrari SF90 vs Ferrari 296 GTB Drag RaceFerrari SF90 vs Ferrari 296 GTB Drag RaceFerrari SF90 vs Ferrari 296 GTB Drag RaceFerrari SF90 vs Ferrari 296 GTB Drag RaceFerrari SF90 vs Ferrari 296 GTB Drag Race
But that's where the similarities end, as the SF90 and the 296 GTB are worlds apart in other departments. And the most crucial difference between them can be found beneath the hood. Just like Lamborghini has its flagship V12 cars and then the more pedestrian, if they can be called that, V10 offerings, Ferrari is similar. There are the front-engine V12 grand tourers contrasted with the sportier mid-engine V8s.

But the 296 GTB strays away from that consecrated approach, standing as a flagship in its own category, as it comes with a V6 hybrid engine. The twin-turbo 3-liter V6 is mated with an electric motor for an output of 818 hp (829 ps) and 546 lb. ft. (740 Nm) of torque to the rear wheels. This power figure is imposing in its own right, but there is a caveat. The sound coming out of those six cylinders will never be the menacing plat-plane crankshaft wail enthusiasts associate with icons like the F40, 458, 488, and so on.

But that's where the SF90 steps in, with its 4-liter twin turbo V8, this time mated to two electric motors that drive the front wheels. This results in a monstrously powerful car that can dish out 986 hp (1000 ps) and 590 lb. ft. (800 Nm) of torque, this time to all four wheels in a manner that's uncharacteristic for a Ferrari. So, where the SF90 has the full-fat V8 engine and F1-derived namesake, it sacrifices the traditional RWD approach.

Ferrari SF90 vs Ferrari 296 GTB Drag Race
Photo: YouTube / Carwow
This means that both the SF90 and the 296 GTB are a departure from Ferrari's traditional approach to this segment in their lineup. They both represent the brand moving into the future and embracing the change the modern automotive market is currently facing.

But one question remains. Is the increase in performance worth spending almost $200,000 more to get the SF90? That's exactly what this race between Ferrari's latest hybrid offerings is here to settle. And it all starts with the main event, the drag race.

And just by looking at the stats of these two cars on paper, it would look like a foregone conclusion. The SF90 has a massive advantage, with over 150 more horses under the hood and an AWD system that's certain to offer a better launch. The only thing the 296 GTB can rely on to offset this advantage is that it's 220 pounds (100 kg) lighter.

And as the cars took off from a standing start, then did it again and again, the SF90's edge in power and traction proved insurmountable. The V8 flagship won time and time again, leaving the V6 hybrid behind by about two car lengths and 0.4 seconds at the quarter mile.

But what if the playing field is leveled and the traction advantage of the SF90 is nullified? The answer to that question is that the 296 GTB wins, surprising as that might be. Well, that's not strictly true, as the SF90 still won one rolling race in which they started from 30 mph, and the 296 spun its wheels, struggling for traction. But when the bar was raised to a 50 mph rolling race and traction no longer had a role to play, the V6 hybrid won against the more powerful V8, showcasing that weight can be as important as power and traction, depending on the situation.

If you liked the article, please follow us:  Google News icon Google News Youtube Instagram X (Twitter)
About the author: Bogdan Bebeselea
Bogdan Bebeselea profile photo

As a kid, Bogdan grew up handing his dad the tools needed to work on his old Citroen and asking one too many questions about everything happening inside the engine bay. Naturally, this upbringing led Bogdan to become an engineer, but thanks to Top Gear, The Fast and the Furious series, and racing video games, a passion for automotive entertainment was ignited.
Full profile


Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories