April 21, 2021
WEC

Ferrari announces top flight Le Mans, Sportscars return

The Italian manufacturer will line up in the FIA World Endurance Championship with an in-house chassis and take on hypercar competition from Toyota, Peugeot, Glickenhaus and ByKolles, while Audi, Porsche and Acura are building new LMDh prototypes which will also be eligible to compete in a unified Le Mans Hypercar class.

“In over 70 years of racing, on tracks all over the world, we led our closed-wheel cars to victory by exploring cutting-edge technological solutions: innovations that arise from the track and make every road car produced in Maranello extraordinary,” said Ferrari President John Elkann.

“With the new Le Mans Hypercar programme, Ferrari once again asserts its sporting commitment and determination to be a protagonist in the major global motorsport events.” 

A brief statement also revealed that the track testing programme, the name of the car and the drivers who will make up the official crews, will be part of future announcements.

Jean Todt, FIA President added: “The announcement of Ferrari’s commitment to the FIA World Endurance Championship with a Le Mans Hypercar entry from 2023 is great news for the FIA, the ACO and the wider world of motorsport.

“I believe in the concept of road-relevant Hypercars competing in the FIA WEC and at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. I’m looking forward to seeing this legendary brand taking on this ambitious project.”

In 2023, the 24 Hours of Le Mans will also get its own new video game from Motorsport Games (NASDAQ:MSGM) where players will be able to drive the Ferrari Hypercar along with all the other competitors in the event.

Ferrari last won Le Mans outright in 1965 – its ninth overall win – before focusing on class wins at the French endurance classic.

In 2019 the Scuderia took a 27th class win in GTE Pro with a Ferrari 488 GTE car driven by Alessandro Pier Guidi, James Calado and Daniel Serra.

In recent decades Ferrari focused its efforts in Maranello on its Formula 1 team, but due to the incoming budget cap the team has sought to slim down its F1 workforce and redeploy staff elsewhere. Earlier it announced several team members will move over to customer team Haas in a Maranello-based hub, before embarking on a hypercar programme.

 

Ferrari’s yet unnamed hypercar will be the first sportscar prototype by the manufacturer since the Ferrari 333 SP, which raced between 1994 and 2003 but didn’t prove successful at Le Mans.

The Italian squad has yet to announce any drivers for the hypercar programme but has a well-stocked factory driver roster. In addition to Le Mans winners Pier Guidi, Calado and Serra, it also has the likes of Davide Rigon, Miguel Molina, Sam Bird and Nicklas Nielsen on the books.

It could also employ some of its Ferrari academy drivers such as FIA Formula 2 runner-up Callum Ilott, or even turn to F1 veteran Kimi Raikkonen. Raikkonen’s Alfa Romeo teammate Antonio Giovinazzi, who is employed by Ferrari, might also be available for a Le Mans run.

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