• The FIA WEC Endurance Championship Hypercar class continues to grow, now with the addition of a newly developed Ferrari race car.
  • After announcing in February 2021 that it would join the class that replaced LMP1, Ferrari has revealed its entry, the 499P.
  • The 499P will enter competition as a Le Mans Hypercar (LMH) type and represents Ferrari's return to the top tier of endurance racing some 50 years after the 312P's last run.

Ferrari tooks the wraps off its newly developed Le Mans Hypercar racer at Imola today, signaling its return to top-class endurance racing, and we were there as the automaker revealed the 499P. The public will see it in action in a matter of months, as it will contest the 1000 Miles of Sebring, which takes place in mid-March 2023.

Since it's an LMH type, Ferrari was able to develop its own chassis for the 499P, as opposed to the LMDh types in the same class whose chassis must come from either Dallara, Multimatic, Ligier, or Oreca. The 499P meets the class's balance of performance standards by topping out at a combined 670 horsepower, and though LMH type rules do not mandate a hybrid system like those for LMDh, it does have one. And unlike LMDh cars, the 499P is allowed to be four-wheel drive, with an Xtrac seven-speed sequential transmission sending power from the gas engine to the rear wheels while a differential splits torque from the single ratio electric motor up front.

The 499P derives its name in the Ferrari racing tradition, referencing the displacement of its 2992-cc twin-turbocharged V-6, which shares the architecture of that found in the 296GT3 but has been reworked not only to reduce weight but to fulfill its unique role as a load-bearing piece of the 499P's structure. The electric motor at the front axle is powered by a 900-volt battery pack, charged by Ferrari's Energy Recovery System (ERS), which recharges during deceleration and braking and requires no external power source.

The hybrid system in the 499P is purpose-built for the car but was heavily influenced by technology used in Ferrari's Formula 1 program. Speaking to the assembled press, the head of GT racing car design and development, Ferdinando Cannizzo, laid out how the various Ferrari racing programs contributed to the 499P's development; that while technically it's much more of an F1 car in the design of its chassis and aero, it was the GT side that had the heaviest impact on the final car—that they're essentially from "the same book."

Intensive Regimen of Testing

Cannizzo also spoke of the intense testing regimen that has brought the 499P along so quickly—or not so quickly, as the case may be. While it was just over a year between the February 2021 announcement of Ferrari's LMH program and initial track testing, Cannizzo said the team had its initial concept running in the simulator some three months earlier, in December 2020. Lots of simulator time—before and after each track test, a full season's worth of virtual lap time, as well as bringing two prototypes to track days focusing on performance and reliability—helped get the 499P where it is so quickly. So did testing along Ferrari's GT teams, as well as a 488 (presumably either a GT3 or GTE) running alongside as a reference.

While dominance at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June is undoubtedly a priority, the 499P is slated to make its racing debut on this side of the Atlantic first, with the 2023 1000 Miles of Sebring this coming March.

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This content is imported from poll. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.

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