Toyota, Glickenhaus, Peugeot, Alpine, Audi, Porsche, Acura… Just when you thought the flow of positive sportscar racing news was slowing down, Ferrari announces that it is committed to the Le Mans Hypercar category from 2023 onwards, as a full factory.
News of this magnitude doesn’t come around often, but when it does, it makes an impact not just on the championship in question, but in the industry as a whole. All eyes will be on Ferrari, the FIA WEC and the Le Mans 24 Hours now. The Le Mans Hypercar formula can be lauded a true success already, as we can confidently say that it has more than enough committed manufacturers to make it viable in the short and medium term, and enough buzz to propel international sportscar racing into the mainstream.
“In over 70 years of racing, on tracks all over the world, we led our closed-wheel cars to victory by exploring cutting-edge technological solutions: innovations that arise from the track and make every road car produced in Maranello extraordinary,” said John Elkann, Ferrari President. “With the new Le Mans Hypercar programme, Ferrari once again asserts its sporting commitment and determination to be a protagonist in the major global motorsport events.”
So what do we know about Ferrari’s programme; its first in top class endurance racing since 1973? Well Travel Destinations believes that it’s a full-factory effort, rather than a semi-works or customer programme run by AF Corse, meaning it should get a huge amount of resources thrown at it. Ferrari has never pushed hard to market its successes in GTE competition over the years, even after class wins at Le Mans, but we should see a far more creative, public-facing approach now. And that will only benefit the FIA WEC and Le Mans 24 Hours in the long run.
As of yet there are no details about the car or who might drive it, but Travel Destinations understands that work has been going on behind the scenes for a while now, with members of the programme believed to be using another major manufacturers’ wind tunnel facility, privately, to complete early work on the project. As for drivers, there’s no confirmation yet, but prospective talent will certainly be circling to see what potential there is for drivers beyond its existing stable to join in. Multiple drivers were known by Travel Destinations to have been meeting with Ferrari as far back as Le Mans last year, so the race is on to secure a seat for what looks to be a landmark programme.
Perhaps the biggest news here will come from outside Ferrari’s castle walls, as its committal may prompt other manufacturers to also jump aboard. Will manufacturers such as Ford or McLaren; which are ‘rivals’ in motorsport with Ferrari, be able to resist? How about Renault, which to this point is only committed to the Hypercar category for 2021 with Alpine?
Toyota has already reacted to this news. “We warmly welcome Ferrari to the top class of the FIA World Endurance Championship and we are honoured to compete against them in Hypercar,” it said in a statement. “This is exciting news for endurance racing fans and for the WEC. We welcome the competition and look forward to being part of a very strong Hypercar grid.”
This may also prompt a decision from IMSA on the eligibility of Hypercars in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. To this point LMDh class cars have been accepted by the ACO to compete in the FIA WEC, but not the other way round. Could the allure of Ferrari prove to be the tipping point and ensure top class parity in both premier sportscar championships?
But even if nobody else comes to play, what we already have is far and away the strongest top class we’ve had in sportscar racing for decades. Just picture it: Audi, Porsche, Toyota, Peugeot, Ferrari, Glickenhaus and Honda (Acura) all lining up on the grid at Le Mans in two years time.
“Alongside Ferrari, in 2023, many manufacturers who have already joined us are sure to pull out all the stops to win the race in its centenary year,” ACO President Pierre Fillon said in reaction to the news. “This is excellent news for a discipline whose rule base forms a solid foundation on which to build a bright future.”
The 100th anniversary of the inaugural LeMans 24 Hours in 2023 is going to be a massive event, and you are going to want to be there.
If you do want to be there, then you can pre-register your interest for tickets and travel packages with Travel Destinations today by calling 01707 329988 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. We are also on sale for Le Mans 2022, so call or email us to book now.