Exactly 50 years after it last campaigned in the top tier of racing at Le Mans, Ferrari will enter a car in the LMH (Le Mans Hypercar) class in 2023, heralding Maranello's return to the heights of prototype racing. This time, it will be using an all-new prototype hybrid hypercar, which was recently teased on Ferrari's Instagram in a shadowy image. Ahead of this year's 24 Hours of Le Mans, Top Gear had the chance to talk to Antonello Coletta, Ferrari's head of Competizioni GT, about its upcoming Le Mans hypercar.
As many new manufacturers enter the LMDh (Le Mans Daytona hybrid) class at Le Mans--including Cadillac, BMW, and Acura--Ferrari is entering LMH instead, simply so it can design and create the entire car itself.
“We chose to come back into LMH because when Ferrari races it needs to make the whole car. We decided on the category because this way we make the chassis, the combustion engine, the electric power, the gearbox–everything,” Coletta told Top Gear.
In the LMDh class, manufacturers have to use a chassis and hybrid setup from one of four different suppliers; Dallara (BMW and Cadillac), Oreca, Ligier, or Multimatic. However, Ferrari isn't interested in any of that, instead wanting the car to be entirely Ferrari, and the brand is confident in its home-grown hypercar.
“We are confident that the Hypercar will be very strong. Our dream is to win. If the target is not to win then it would be stupid to put the car on the track,” Coletta said.
Ferrari doesn't have very long before its Hypercar hits tarmac in the World Endurance Championship. Its first WEC race begins in March 2023, which might seem far away but is a blink when you're developing a race car. The Ferrari team is also busy developing the new 296 GT3 car for Le Mans, which will replace the highly successful 488 GT3 in January 2023.
Not much is seen of the upcoming Ferrari LMH-Class Hypercar in the new teaser image. Only its razor-thin headlights, a Ferrari badge on its red nose, and a front splitter so low it could double as a lawn mower are visible. It's also unclear when Ferrari will fully unveil its in-house hypercar racer but, when it does, it's going to have to compete with the currently dominant Toyota Gazoo Racing team, and its GR010 LMH car, who just took first and second place overall at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.