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Ferrari returns to Le Mans

Ferrari has unveiled the 499P, the hypercar that will mark the Maranello manufacturer’s return to the top class of the FIA World Endurance Championship after a 50-year absence.

22 November 2022

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The competition car made its maiden public appearance at a gala evening held on the occasion of the Ferrari Finali Mondiali at Imola’s Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari, 29 October – a date destined to go down in Prancing Horse history.

The 499P was driven in full electric mode onto the stage from which the top management of the company, founded by Enzo Ferrari, outlined their aims for the near future.

Speaking at the car’s launch, Antonello Coletta, head of Ferrari Attività Sportive GT, said, “The 499P is a dream come true. 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.”

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The new model will make its return to Le Mans on the 100th anniversary of the great race, 10 & 11 June 2023.

The famous Italian race team dominated the track in the 50s and 60s, but struggled against new entrants, including Ford, in the late 60s and into the 70s, prompting Enzo Ferrari to pull his cars from Le Mans and focus solely on Formula 1 from 1974.

The 499P’s predominantly red livery with yellow trimming is reminiscent of the Ferraris that once held their own in WEC racing.

The Ferrari 499P will be four-wheel drive, with a twin-turbocharged V6 engine and an electric power unit delivering 500 kW of power.

The 499P name follows the naming tradition of the earliest race cars: the cubic centimetre capacity of one cylinder of the car’s three-litre V6 twin-turbo powerplant, with “P” for prototype.

WEC’s decision to open its top category up to hypercars has attracted back a number of big manufacturers, with Peugeot, Porsche and Cadillac all joining Ferrari next year.

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.

“We enter this challenge with humility, but conscious of a history that has taken us to over 20 world endurance titles and 9 overall victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.”

Ferdinando Cannizzo, Head of Ferrari GT Track Car Development described the launch as “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 all-encompassing, all-sharing collaboration involving every department of our company and our technical partners.

“Starting from a blank sheet of paper was a source of unique and continuous motivation in order to find effective solutions to guarantee the 499P’s performance and reliability.

“From the very first shakedown to the first race, we have planned a very intense development program, both on the test bench and on the track, which has given us some interesting feedback. The work of synthesis that awaits us over the coming weeks, and which will see us involved in further track testing, is the most important for fine-tuning and the final integration of all the systems.

“We still have a lot of kilometres to go, but the team is aware of the importance of the project and will continue to show commitment, passion, maturity and great professionalism.”

 

ferrari.com/hypercar

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