Ferrari has finally unveiled the 499P, its Le Mans Hypercar (LMH) contender for the 2023 FIA World Endurance Championship.
The Prancing Horse confirmed its entrant for the top WEC ‘hypercar’ class will house a hybrid powertrain, with design elements inspired by its Formula 1 and GT racers.
The 499P uses a hybrid 3.0-litre V6 engine, which shares its 120-degree architecture with the 296 GT3. It’s been fettled to meet the class output regulations of 500kW, and in the case of the 499P is a stressed part of the car’s structure.
Along with the petrol engine, 200kW of the car’s capped output will come from a front-mounted electric motor.
The electric motor is powered by an Energy Recovery System (ERS) that’s charged when the driver lifts off the throttle.
Ferrari has used its knowledge from Formula 1’s turbo-hybrid era to inform the 900-volt battery, but claims the element was ‘purpose-built’ for this project.
Adamant it is a manufacturer involved in every part of the car, Ferrari opted for an LMH build instead of the Le Mans Daytona h (LMDh) regulations chosen by competitors such as Porsche. That latter involves a spec hybrid powertrain by Williams Advanced Engineering and Bosch, rather than a bespoke power unit.
“We have designed and engineered a car that is brand new and particularly complex in every aspect,” said Ferdinando Cannizzo, head of Ferrari GT track car development.
The car is all-wheel drive when the front motor is spinning, and torque is delivered through a seven-speed sequential transmission, a feature not available to LMDh competitors.
The body design of the 499P, directed by Flavio Manzoni, is characterised by features such as side pods and large wheel arches that provide aerodynamic flow, and a double winged tail to improve downforce.
The car’s livery is of course red, with yellow stripes and trimmings which pay tribute to the 312P, Ferrari’s 1972/73 World Championship for Makes entrant which last appeared on track 50 years ago.
“The 499P sees us return to compete for outright victory in the WEC series…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,” said John Elkann, Ferrari executive chairman.
The new model’s name follows the naming tradition of previous Ferrari Le Mans vehicles; ‘499’ refers to the capacity of each cylinder in the V6 twin-turbocharged engine and the ‘P’ stands for prototype.
The Ferrari AF Corse team will enter two 499Ps with the racing numbers #50 and #51 into the 2023 World Endurance Championship, which incorporates the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The first outing for the hypercar will be at the 1000 Miles of Sebring in March next year.
Next season, Ferrari’s 499P will be up against the likes of Peugeot’s 9X8 in the WEC’s top class.