It’s an international endurance racer picking up Ferrari’s torch 50 years ago when the factory 312 PB shut down its engine at the end of the 1973 season. After 18 months of preparation, the ladies and gentlemen at Maranello submitted this 499P for the World Endurance Championship (WEC) at Le Mans. Hypercar class (LMH).
It will begin racing next year in the top division, and by 2024 will compete against Glickenhaus, Peugeot and Toyota in the LMH, as well as Acura, Alpine, BMW, Cadillac, Lamborghini and Porsche in the American equivalent of Le Mans Daytona. Hybrids (LMDh). Naturally, Ferrari will be looking to win as many races as possible, but are particularly keen to add to their tally of nine overall wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the last of which came in 1965 when Masten Gregory, Ed Hugs and Jochen Rindt took the checkered flag in the 250 LM .
Ferrari chose LMH because these rules allow the manufacturer to build the entire car, while LMDh requires chassis specification and some specification components. 499P for custom carbon fiber monocoque, Ferrari designed a 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 that began with a 120-degree architecture recycled from the engine of the 296 GT3 race car and the 296 GTB road car. Hence the name of the new racer, the volume of each cylinder is 499 cubic centimeters, the letter P stands for prototype. However, the architecture of all three cars is common. The mill in the 499P and the seven-speed sequential transmission attached to it are stressed units, meaning they are part of the structure, unlike the engines in other sliders. This required a different parts philosophy, resulting in the 499P engine not sharing parts with its racing siblings.
The regulations limited the output to 680 horsepower, so that’s what the engine does. It will be assisted by a 268 hp electric motor that turns the front wheels. Ferrari used all its programs to participate in the 499P Formula 1 a team that provides know-how for the Energy Recovery System (ERS). ERS recovers energy from the Brembo brake system via wires to charge the 900-volt battery package connected to the electronic engine. Class rules limit the maximum combined power for the car to the same 680bhp as the internal combustion engine, so the transmission control unit constantly adjusts how much the internal combustion engine and the electronic motor provide. To prevent an all-wheel drive shootout in the slower corners, LMH rules stipulate that the electric motor cannot contribute until the car reaches 74.6 mph (120 km/h), so only the ICE can produce the combined powertrain output.
So far, the 499P has completed more than 7,500 miles of testing. We will see it here during the WEC pre-season tests next March, presumably in color inspired by the 312 PB he won at Sebring in 1972 with Mario Andretti and Jackie X at the wheel. The Super Sebring weekend takes place next weekend, March 17, 2023. It’s where the WEC opens its calendar with the 1000 Kilometers of Sebring along with the IMSA 12 Hours of Sebring. Ferrari will run two cars with long-time endurance racing partner AF Corse, car #50 celebrating a half-century return to such events, car #51 remembering one of the most successful numbers on Ferrari racing.
The automaker did not say who the driver will be or if he will compete in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. It is also secretive about whether it will sell the 499P to customer teams, but the head of the GT program said that during development: “We took into account Daytona, we took into account Sebring, of course, because it is also part of the WEC, but , all other tracks like Road Atlanta are the most important to us.”