Ferrari left top-tier at Le Mans in 1973
Italian automaker will enter the new Hypercar class starting in 2023
Ferrari has announced a return to the top tiers of sports car racing, with the start of its new Le Mans Hypercar program that will see the prancing horse in the FIA World Endurance Championship’s top class for the first time in 50 years.
The Italian automaker last competed in the top tier of the World Sports Car Championship back in 1973, losing interest, along with other automakers, when the Group 6 Prototype class was merged into the Group 5 Sports Car Class, limiting engines to 3.0L. Though of course, Ferrari has continued to compete in the top levels of sports car racing in lower classes.
This new series, shortened to LMH, begins this year and allows teams to compete for overall FIA WEC and 24 Hours of Le Mans victory. The cars in the class, which was designed to help reduce competition costs after Audi and Porsche bowed out of the previous class, allows for free engine design, though they must be production-based and there are limits on the energy recovery system. Maximum power is set at 670 hp (500 kW), and at least 20 production versions of the cars, which are expected to be roadgoing car based, must be built over a two year period.
“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. 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,” said Ferrari President John Elkann.
More details will be coming, including the name of the car, and if it’s based on a current Ferrari road car. The automaker says design and simulation have already started.