THE HYPERCAR WITH WINNING DNA TO DOMINATE LE-MANS
499P is the name of the new Le Mans Hypercar with which Ferrari will tackle the FIA WEC World Endurance Championship in the elite class from 2023, a name evoking the history of the Prancing Horse manufacturer. In the past, prototypes were identified by the letter ‘P’, frequently preceded by the number of the engine’s unitary displacement.
The 499P is no exception. The car is an outcome of a vision proudly rooted in the past, that gave rise to the legend of today, enabling the company to achieve 22 world titles and 9 overall wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Nevertheless, it has its sights set firmly on the future, both in terms of the technical and design content that the prototype features.
The livery, with which the 499P will debut at the forthcoming 1000 Miles of Sebring, includes a revived version of the renowned 312 P colour scheme from the 1970s, which also visually underscores the historical connections interrupted 50 years ago, but that have remained ever present in the brand’s essence. For this reason, one of the Maranello-entered endurance cars will be adorned with the number 50, while the other will bear the number 51, one of the most successful ever.
The four-wheel drive prototype complies with the technical regulations and requirements of the hybrid-engined Le Mans Hypercar class, delivering a maximum power of 500 kW to the wheels and with a minimum weight of no less than 1,030 kilos. In defining the 499P, the company has drawn on the vast resources of technical, professional and human excellence that epitomise the Maranello marque, entrusting the management to Attività Sportive GT, under the direction of Antonello Coletta and the technical supervision of Ferdinando Cannizzo, head of the department in charge of engineering and development of Sports and GT racing cars.
The Ferrari 499P’s hybrid powertrain combines a mid-rear power unit with an electric motor powering the front axle.
The internal combustion engine (ICE) has a maximum regulation-limited output to the wheels of 500 kW (680 cv) and is derived from the road-going twin-turbo V6 family.
The ICE, which shares the architecture of the engine fitted to the 296 GT3, has undergone a thorough overhaul by Ferrari’s engineers, aimed both at developing ad hoc solutions for the prototype and lightening the overall weight. Among the specific characteristics of the 499P’s V6 is the fact that the engine is load-bearing and therefore performs a valuable structural function, compared to the versions fitted to competition GT cars, where the engine is mounted onto the car’s rear sub-chassis.
The second ‘soul’ of the hybrid powertrain is the ERS – Energy Recovery System – with a maximum power output of 200 kW (272 cv). The electric motor is equipped with a differential and is driven by a battery that is recharged during deceleration and braking, requiring no external power source. The battery pack, with a nominal voltage of 900v, benefits from experience honed in Formula 1, although it was purpose-built for the project. The 499P’s overall maximum power output is 500 kW (680 cv) and the powertrain is coupled to a seven-speed sequential gearbox.