After a long wait, Ferrari finally presented its new Le Mans hypercar that will compete next year in the FIA ??World Endurance Championship (WEC). The team from Maranello chose the name 499P, which follows the nomenclature used for decades.
The number 499 refers to the volume in cubic centimeters of each cylinder, while the letter P represents the prototype. At the heart of Ferrari's electrified hypercar is a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 engine. Ferrari said that the engine is structurally different from the one in the 296 GTB/GT3, and that the V6 was chosen because it is light and compact.
It develops 680 hp and cooperates with an electric motor placed in front, which delivers 272 hp. It is powered by a 900-volt Formula 1 battery, which is recharged by deceleration and braking. The drive is paired with a seven-speed sequential gearbox.
"It is not the same engine," said Ferdinando Cannizzo, head of design and development at Ferrari's Attivita Sportive GT sportscar racing department. "It is the same architecture as the 296, but it is a stressed engine, which means the structure has to be totally different.
"Selecting the V6 was definitely the right path to follow considering the way our range of road cars is moving - it was natural to go that route. "But it wasn't a compromise because a V6 is small, light and very compact: this gives an advantage in packaging, weight distribution and centre of gravity." Hiparautomobil was presented in Imola, its design has the characteristics of the Deyton SP3 model, and it is decorated with a red color with yellow details, like the 312PB model from the seventies of the last century.
Two cars will carry the numbers 50 and 51, the former marking half a century of Ferrari competition at Le Mans, and the latter used throughout history for Ferrari racing cars.
A tribute to our past and a manifesto for our future
"The 499 confirms our commitment to endurance racing, which is part of our history and part of a tradition of using this kind of competition to test new technologies," he said.
The LMH rules have allowed the 499P to be given a look that makes it recognisably a Ferrari. "When I see this car, it is clearly a Ferrari," said Cannizzo. The Ferrari 499P Le Mans has covered more than 12,000 kilometers during testing with two prototypes and will be fully homologated by the end of the year. The debut is expected in mid-March 2023 at the Sebring 1000 Miles race.