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Ferrari Reveals 499P for Prototype Racing Return

Italian manufacturer presents LMH car for historic top-level sports car racing return…

Photo: Ferrari

Ferrari has presented its new hybrid-powered LMH car, the 499P, ahead of its return to the top level of sports car racing in next year’s FIA World Endurance Championship.

The Italian manufacturer revealed the prototype at its Finali Mondiali event at Imola on Saturday evening, with the car rolling along a catwalk in between guests and being slowly rotated on a stage.

The Ferrari 499P, which has been developed in-house at Maranello, will represent the company’s first factory bid for overall honors at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in half a century.

It will be powered by a mid-rear positioned 3-liter turbocharged V6 engine and a 200 kW front-axle energy recovery system enabling four-wheel-drive capability at a speed defined by the WEC’s Balance of Performance.

The powertrain also includes a 900-volt battery and a seven-speed Xtrac transmission.

The 499 element of the car’s name refers to the sum of the near-3,000 cc engine displacement divided by the number of cylinders, while the ‘P’ represents a designation traditionally given to the manufacturer’s sports prototypes.

As previously announced, the factory Ferrari AF Corse team will run two 499Ps in the Hypercar class of the WEC and Le Mans, while drivers are yet to be confirmed.

“The 499 P sees us return to compete for outright victory in the WEC series,” said Ferrari Executive Chairman John Elkann.

“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.

“We enter this challenge with humility, but conscious of a history that has taken us to over 20 world endurance titles and nine overall victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.”

Ferrari has also presented the race livery for the new car, with the red base and yellow lines resembling the color scheme of the 1972 World Sportscar Championship-winning Ferrari 312PB, which was also the company’s last Maranello-built sports prototype.

The two Ferrari 499Ps in next year’s WEC campaign will compete as No. 50 and No. 51.

The former refers to the 50th anniversary of Ferrari’s most recent participation in the top tier of sports car racing, while the latter is a number that Ferrari has used in recent years for its official entries into the WEC GTE-Pro class and other major GT races.

“The 499P is a dream come true,” said Ferrari’s sports car racing director Antonello Coletta, whose Attivita Sportive GT department led the vehicle’s development.

“Today is an important moment for all the people who have worked so hard on this project over the past two years.

“We wanted to pay homage to our history, with many references, both large and small, to a past made up of successes and titles. We do so however, looking ahead, creating a manifesto of our commitment to the World Endurance Championship.

“The 499P is a prototype that is decidedly Ferrari, in the fullest sense of the term, and it gives us an enormous thrill to finally show it to our clients and to the many enthusiasts of the marque.”

Technical director Ferdinando Cannizzo, whose role is head of Ferrari GT Track Car Development, added: “For the whole team and myself, this is a really thrilling moment.

“We know that we have a huge responsibility. We have designed and engineered a car that is brand new and particularly complex in every aspect.

“This unprecedented challenge motivated everyone into [an] all-encompassing, all-sharing collaboration involving every department of our company and our technical partners.”

The Ferrari 499P is eligible for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s GTP class, but the manufacturer is currently only confirmed to race in the WEC.

Images: Ferrari

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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