Four years since its announcement, the Le Mans Hypercar program is finally beginning to take shape, with the likes of Toyota Gazoo Racing, Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus and Peugeot all having revealed their contenders. Now it’s the turn of Ferrari, returning to top-level endurance racing for the first time in 50 years with the 499P.
Ferrari’s new race car will compete in the Le Mans 2023 FIA World Endurance Championship season, making its race debut at the 1000 Miles of Sebring. The Hypercar class (combining LMDh cars) will feature offerings from Peugeot, Cadillac, Toyota and Porsche from the start, with the likes of Alpine and Lamborghini joining from 2024.
Unlike the wingless Peugeot 9X8, Ferrari has taken a more traditional approach to aerodynamics, constructing a far more aggressive set-up for the 499P. Its large rear wing is the most notable aerodynamic aid, with a central fin, open front arches and a multi-function roof-mounted intake also making an appearance.
Nestled mid-rear within its bespoke carbon fibre monocoque chassis is a new 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged V6 – despite similarities in specs and architecture, this unit doesn’t share parts with the road-going 296 GTB. Like the Peugeot 9X8, the V6 is assisted by a 268bhp front-mounted electric motor, powered by a 900V battery pack developed using know-how from Ferrari’s Formula 1 program. As per the regulations, output from both the electric motor and combustion engine are constantly adjusted to ensure combined power doesn’t exceed 671bhp.
The 499P’s striking livery is inspired by the 1973 312 P. Unlike the Peugeot and BMW, ties to Ferrari’s road car line-up are limited at first glance, with only the daytime running lights a clear nod to current models. At the rear though, the 499P adopts a full-width light bar, giving it a unique lighting signature that will no doubt make it easy to spot even when the sun goes down.
Despite limited visual ties to its road cars, it’s likely that we’ll see new technology trickle down from the racer over the course of the program. John Elkann, Ferrari Executive Chairman, said:”’When we decided to commit to this project, we embarked on a path of innovation and development, faithful to our tradition that sees the track as the ideal terrain to push the boundaries of cutting-edge technological solutions, solutions that in time will be transferred to our road cars.”
Two examples will hit the grid in 2023 once development concludes. Ferrari has not yet released a driver line-up for its sports car racer programme.
Click here for the latest Ferrari news and reviews…