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Ferrari holds off on 499P Hypercar IMSA programme decision

Ferrari has ruled out any decision on an expansion of its 499P Le Mans Hypercar programme into the IMSA SportsCar Championship in 2024 before the summer.

#50 Ferrari AF Corse Ferrari 499P: Antonio Fuoco, Miguel Molina, Nicklas Nielsen

Antonello Coletta, Ferrari’s sportscar racing boss, has stressed that the Italian manufacturer remains “totally concentrated on WEC” in the wake of the debut for its new Hypercar class prototype in last week’s Sebring 1000 Miles season-opener.

He explained that a 2024 IMSA programme in GTP will not come onto the agenda until the summer, “probably after the Le Mans 24 Hours”.

“The future in IMSA is not an subject for this moment,” he said. “IMSA is an important championship that will probably be taken into consideration.

“But the WEC is the most important championship and we prefer to go step by step, in 2023 just WEC and in 2024 we will see.

“I think that before half-season it is impossible to make an evaluation.”

But Coletta, who outlined Ferrari’s interest in racing its LMH in IMSA as long ago as July 2021, reiterated the importance of the American market to the brand.

He described the interest in IMSA as “normal because it is the first [biggest] market for Ferrari”.

Coletta explained that the decision-making process will include how Ferrari might approach running an IMSA programme: either entering a full factory squad as in the WEC or teaming with a partner, such as Risi Competizione, on a semi-works basis.

#62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 296 GT3: Daniel Serra, Davide Rigon, Gabriel Casagrande

#62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 296 GT3: Daniel Serra, Davide Rigon, Gabriel Casagrande

Photo by: Jake Galstad / Motorsport Images

The team from Texas has represented Ferrari in North America with a variety of machinery since the late-1990s, including the 333SP customer prototype, and this year is defending its IMSA Endurance Cup GT Daytona Pro title with the new 296 GT3 and factory drivers Davide Rigon and Daniel Serra.

“Risi is one of the most important references for us in the USA,” said Coletta. “But we don’t know if Risi is interested in prototypes and secondly we don’t know our programme.”

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Coletta’s initial comments about IMSA more than 18 months ago followed a significant step in the convergence process to align the LMH and LMDh prototype categories.

IMSA announced that LMH machinery would be allowed in its series, something from which it backed away on the announcement of LMDh at the 2020 Daytona 24 Hours.

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