After A 50-Year Hiatus, Ferrari Returns To Le Mans With The 499P Hypercar
— Updated on 29 January 2023

After A 50-Year Hiatus, Ferrari Returns To Le Mans With The 499P Hypercar

— Updated on 29 January 2023
Randy Lai
Randy Lai

Maranello has (re)trained its sights on the conquest of endurance racing – that other feted arena of tier-one motorsports next for Formula 1 – with the reveal of its 499P hypercar: the first Ferrari to be fielded in competition at the 24 Hours of Le Mans since 1971.

In racing enthusiast circles, the arrival of the 499P has been an open secret for some time. For over a year, Ferrari has been telegraphing its prodigal return to the Circuit de la Sarthe. For context, this is a track the marque has dominated for much of the 20th century, including a masterful six-year winning streak between 1960 and 1965.

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Ferrari 499P

To reclaim these historic glories, Ferrari has looked to the future with a hybrid fabrication that’ll compete in the FIA World Endurance Championship’s LMH class. Like most of the prototypes that are competing in the FIA’s reworked Le Mans Hybrid category, the 499P is characterised by a windswept look – courtesy of the team at the Ferrari Styling Centre – that’s meant to enhance aerodynamism and the car’s technical performance.

Sinuous lines, a bubble cockpit and the single-strip tail light all conspire to give the 499P that flamboyant, unmistakably Ferrari body work. And it’s likely no accident that the livery is even painted in a style resembling what you’ll find on the 512M cars from back in ’71.

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The hybrid power train that is at the heart of this new 499P is actually a refinement of the engine used in the 296GTB road car. A mid-rear-mounted 2.9L V6, it’s equipped (in this specific iteration) with an electric motor on the front axle; itself powered by a 900-volt battery. Together, the engine and electric motor enable the 499P to output 680 horsepower (the maximum allowed under current FIA regulations).

Other notable technologies include the combination of an Xtrac seven-speed transmission and four-wheel drive – giving the 499P a theoretical edge over its LMDh counterparts, when the latter category debuts in North America in 2023 – and an original monocoque chassis made out of carbon fibre.

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With 7,500+ hours of testing already under its belt, hypercar enthusiasts can expect to see the 499P take its first competitive lap at 1,000 Miles of Sebring early next year. That’ll give Ferrari’s technicians valuable insights that they can exploit just in time for Le Mans, before the 24-hour race kicks off in June.

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Randy Lai
Following 6 years in the trenches covering consumer luxury across East Asia, Randy joins Boss Hunting as the team's Commercial Editor. His work has been featured in A Collected Man, M.J. Bale, Soho Home, and the BurdaLuxury portfolio of lifestyle media titles. An ardent watch enthusiast, boozehound and sometimes-menswear dork, drop Randy a line at [email protected].


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