Ferrari sets June target for Le Mans Hypercar test debut

Ferrari hopes to reveal its eagerly-anticipated Le Mans Hypercar for the first time at its Fiorano test track in June, according to its sportscar racing chief Antonello Coletta.

Ferrari logo detail

The car will then go on an extensive testing programme, ahead of its debut in the 2023 World Endurance Championship – which will herald its return to the top class at the Le Mans 24 Hours, a race it has won overall on nine occasions, the last coming in 1965.

It is dovetailing development of the hypercar, which is being run by AF Corse, with its next-generation 296 GT3 car, which is currently under construction at ORECA.

“We will start [testing] with the new hypercar I hope in June, or July, and the new GT3 car on more or less the first day of April, and these activities will be very important to make a base for the future,” said Coletta, who is the boss of Ferrari’s Attivita Sportive GT department.

“We will start in our track in Fiorano – because it’s tradition and takes minimum effort to open the doors, start the engine and go – I can just open my office window and watch!

“And after that we will see. Our technicians have already created a map of the test programme.”

Coletta says he has full faith in the LMH ruleset to produce “a great car” on Ferrari’s return to the top level of global sportscar racing for the first time in half a century – rather than the lower-cost LMDh route that Audi, BMW and Porsche have taken, which is based on next-generation LMP2 chassis.

“When Ferrari chose to be involved in the top class, it just had to be in Le Mans Hypercar,” he said. “Ferrari has made all the cars in its history, so no choice really, this is our philosophy. 

“I can say our project is going ahead very fast. It’s very complicated, because the LMH is more complicated than the LMDh, but this is what we have chosen.

“When we compete in a category, it is normal that the car has to be all Ferrari, the entire project is under the control of our technical staff. It will be a good car, a fast car, a great car and – with all the cars involved in this category – I believe the styling will be very different between them. 

“I think it’s important for the fans to understand very easily what is a Ferrari, this is a Peugeot, this is a Toyota… In the past, it was difficult to understand the differences between such similar cars.

“For us, the most important anniversary for us is that 2023 is 50 years since we last raced in prototypes, the best and most important category.”

#15 Ferrari 312PB: Brian Redman, Jacky Ickx – Le Mans 24 Hours, 1973

#15 Ferrari 312PB: Brian Redman, Jacky Ickx – Le Mans 24 Hours, 1973

Photo by: Sutton Images

The engine specification of the four-wheel drive Ferrari LMH will remain secret until the car is launched later this year, with Coletta anxious not to give anything away due to the high level of competition.

When asked about that, he replied: “It’s normal that Toyota will be strong because they will have been in this category for two years before we have our first race. I prefer not to discuss any technical details outside of the factory.

“We hope to work very well in the second half of the 2022 season, when we start with the tests. It’s normal that with eight or nine brands in this category across WEC and IMSA and in Le Mans altogether, the efforts needed will have to be very, very consistent. 

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“But I think it’s important for us to go ahead in a competition that is so strong with so many manufacturers competing together for the first time in the top class. It will be an important occasion for the endurance world.”

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