Ferrari has committed to a factory Le Mans Hypercar program, paving the way for the Italian marque to seek its first 24 Hours of Le Mans outright victory in over half a century.
Ferrari announced on Wednesday that it will develop an LMH car to race in the FIA World Endurance Championship’s Hypercar class from 2023.
Technical details of the vehicle and driver lineups have yet to be revealed, although Ferrari says that it has “kicked off” the design and simulation phases.
The green-light for an LMH program gives Ferrari the opportunity to pursue its first Le Mans overall win since 1965 with the 250 LM, and will coincide with 50 years since its last official factory participation in the top level of sports car racing.
The most recent Ferrari-badged prototype was the Dallara-designed 333 SP which last contested Le Mans in 1999.
In the 21st century, Ferrari’s efforts in the French enduro have concentrated on the GT classes, both through customer teams and its own factory squad run by AF Corse.
The Ferrari works outfit clinched GTE-Pro honors at Le Mans in 2012, 2014 and most recently in 2019 with the Ferrari 488 GTE Evo (pictured).
Ferrari has not said how the introduction of a factory LMH program will affect its existing GT racing operations.
“In over 70 years of racing we have brought our cars with covered wheels to triumph on tracks all over the world, experimenting with cutting-edge technological solutions: innovations that come from the circuits and make every road car produced in Maranello,” said Ferrari President John Elkann.
“With the new Le Mans Hypercar program, Ferrari relaunches its sporting commitment and confirms its will to be a protagonist in the world motorsport championships of excellence.”
Ferrari’s decision to build a car to the Automobile Club de l’Ouest’s LMH rules comes after more than a year of deliberations about how it might embark on a prototype project.
It is understood to have been attracted to elements of both LMH and LMDh, such as the bespoke nature of the LMH rules in terms of car design, and the cost-cutting premise of the ACO-IMSA LMDh platform which has four designated base chassis providers.
Throughout its prototype racing exploration, Ferrari has placed importance on the need for a competition vehicle that can provide an identifiable link to its road cars, as well as a desire to manufacture as much of its own racing machine as possible.
Ferrari joins Toyota, Peugeot, Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus and ByKolles in developing a car for LMH. Audi, Porsche and Acura have confirmed LMDh programs so far.