The new budget cap on F1 has forced the team to slim down its F1 workforce which is why it is redeploying its staff to other projects.
Ferrari has announced that it will be making a return to top tier endurance racing and will be part of the F1A world endurance championship with its own in-house chassis and take on hypercar competition form Toyota, Peugeot, Glickenhaus and ByKolles. It will also compete with the likes of Audi, Porsche and Acura who all are building a new LMDh prototype which will be eligible to compete in the unified Le Mans hypercar class. “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 Ferrari president John Elkann.
“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,” he added.
While the announcement gave a glimpse of the track testing programme, the name of the car, drivers and the official crews will be part of another announcement which the legendary Italian outfit will make.
“The announcement of Ferrari’s commitment to the FIA World Endurance Championship with a Le Mans Hypercar entry from 2023 is great news for the FIA, the ACO and the wider world of motorsport,” said FIA President Jean Todt who famously was also the head of Ferrari’s F1 team when it was dominating the sport between 1999 and 2006.
“I believe in the concept of road-relevant Hypercars competing in the FIA WEC and at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. I’m looking forward to seeing this legendary brand taking on this ambitious project,” the Frenchman added.
The last time Ferrari won Le Mans was way back in 1965 which was even showcased in the recent movie Ford vs Ferrari. Since then, Ferrari focussed on classic wins at the French endurance class. In 2019, Ferrari took a 27th class win in the GTE Pro with the Ferrari 488GTE which was driven by Alessandro Pier Guidi, James Calado and Daniel Serra.
Of course, since the focus has been off from Le Mans, in the last 50 years, Ferrari has transformed to the most iconic name in F1 with it becoming the most successful team of all time. F1 has been the main focus of the motorsport activities of the Scuderia, but in the last 13 years, it hasn’t won a drivers world championship.
But the new budget cap on F1 has forced the team to slim down its F1 workforce which is why it is redeploying its staff to other projects. It has already announced several team members including chassis designer Simone Resta are moving to the customer Haas team inside a new facility at Maranello. Now, this hypercar programme is starting.
The new hypercar will be the first sportswear prototype since the Ferrari 333 SP which was raced between 1994 and 2003. It wasn’t very successful at Le Mans.
As far as the drivers are concerned, Ferrari has a squadron full of drivers who could fulfil the roles. It has its FDA graduates like F2 runner up Callum Ilott, Alfa Romeo driver Antonia Giovinazzi and perhaps could even look at former world champion Kimi Raikkonen who has his contact with Alfa Romeo ending at the end of this season. Then there are other drivers from its roster like Pier Guidi, Calado, Serra and Davide Rigon, Miguel Molina and Sam Bird.