• The Hypercar class in the FIA ​​WEC Endurance Championship 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 unveiled its model, the 499P.
  • The 499P will compete as the Le Mans Hypercar (LMH) and represents Ferrari’s return to the highest level of endurance racing some 50 years after the last run of the 312P.

Today at Maranello, Ferrari is showing off its newly developed Le Mans Hypercar, signaling its return to top-class endurance racing, and we were there when the automaker revealed the 499P. The public will see it in action in a few months when it competes in the Sebring 1000 in mid-March 2023.

As it is an LMH type, Ferrari was able to develop its own chassis for the 499P, unlike the LMDh types in the same class, which must come from Dallara, Multimatic, Ligier or Oreca. The 499P meets the balance of the class performance standards, reaching a combined output of 670 horsepower, and although the LMH type regulations do not require a hybrid system, as for the LMDh, it is present. And unlike the LMDh cars, the 499P can have all-wheel drive with an Xtrac seven-speed sequential transmission that sends power from the gas engine to the rear wheels, while a differential splits torque from the electric motor with a single gear ratio.

The 499P takes its name from Ferrari racing tradition, referring to the displacement of its 2,992cc twin-turbocharged V-6, which shares the 296GT3’s architecture, but has been reworked not only to reduce weight, but also to serve as the unique backbone of the 499P’s design. . The electric motor on the front axle is powered by a 900-volt battery that is 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 custom-built for the car, but heavily influenced by technology used in Ferrari’s Formula 1 program. Speaking to the assembled press, GT Racing Head of Design and Development, Ferdinando Canizza, explained how Ferrari’s various racing programs contributed to the development of the 499P; that while it’s technically much more of an F1 car in terms of chassis design and aero, it’s the GT side that has had the biggest influence on the final car – that they’re essentially from the ‘same book’.

Intensive testing mode

Cannizzo also talked about the intense testing regime that brought the 499P so fast – or not so fast, as the case may be. Although it took just over a year between the February 2021 announcement of Ferrari’s LMH program and the initial on-track testing, Kanizza said the team’s initial concept had been run in a simulator about three months prior, in December 2020. A lot of simulator time – before and after each track test, a full season of virtual lap times, and the use of two track day prototypes focused on performance and reliability – helped the 499P reach such a fast level. So is the Ferrari GT teams testing, as well as the 488 (presumably a GT3 or GTE) running alongside as a benchmark.

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

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