Over the past decade, the world of endurance racing saw the domination of three brands. These automakers are Audi, Toyota, and Porsche. Toyota had the top LMP1 class to themselves, perhaps making the outcomes too predictable.
To make things more interesting and competitive, a new class called the LMH (Le Mans Hypercar) was introduced by WEC. The LMH class will be the new top-class, taking over from the LMP1 (Le Mans Prototype 1) class starting from the 2021 WEC season. With that, there are now several challengers to Toyota's throne.
Already confirmed LMH challengers for 2021 are Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus with their car the SCG-007, and an Alpine based on a chassis by Gibson Technology. More teams will enter in 2022, with Porsche, Audi, and Peugeot already confirming their entries.
Now, there's another one joining the fray. This manufacturer announced their return to the top class of endurance racing after nearly a 50-year absence, and the news has most race fans excited. That manufacturer is none other than Ferrari.
The Italian marque announced on February 24 that they’ll be returning to WEC and competing in the new hypercar class starting 2023. Big news especially, since the last time they competed at the top-class of endurance racing was in 1973. While they have been present on the WEC grid, it's been with GT class cars only.
Unfortunately, there's still no word on what car they’ll be fielding for the 2023 hypercar class.
“In over 70 years of racing, on tracks all over the world, we led our closed-wheel cars to victory by exploring cutting-edge technological solutions: innovations that arise from the track and make every road car produced in Maranello extraordinary. “With the new Le Mans Hypercar program, Ferrari once again asserts its sporting commitment and determination to be a protagonist in the major global motorsport events,” said Ferrari CEO John Elkann.
Most see this as a big win for the WEC. with a major manufacturer such as Ferrari returning to the top class of endurance racing. It’ll be interesting to see how Ferrari will juggle both Formula 1 and the WEC simultaneously.
With that, there's one manufacturer that needs to come back to top-level endurance racing: Ford.
Ford vs. Ferrari Part II anyone?