Ferrari returning to Le Mans top flight with hypercar in 2023

Ferrari will return to the top flight of endurance racing with a hypercar entry in 2023, competing for outright Le Mans 24 Hours victory for the first time in 50 years.

The AF Corse Ferrari 488 of Sam Bird, Miguel Molina and Davide Rigon during qualifying for the Le Mans 24 Hour Race at Circuit de la Sarthe in 2017.   -  Getty Images

Ferrari will return to the top flight of endurance racing with a hypercar entry in 2023, competing for outright Le Mans 24 Hours victory for the first time in 50 years, the Italian marque said on Wednesday.

Ferrari last entered the top category at Le Mans in 1973 and rivals will include Toyota, Peugeot, Porsche and Audi among major manufacturers.

The Hypercar category replaces the previous LMP1 in endurance racing.

Read: AlphaTauri's Gasly ready to be a leader for team and Tsunoda  

Ferrari has won Le Mans outright nine times but not since 1965, when it fought a famed battle with Ford at the Sarthe circuit in western France. The marque has tasted success more recently in GT racing, winning the 2019 GTE Pro category.

"With the new Le Mans Hypercar programme, Ferrari once again asserts its sporting commitment and determination to be a protagonist in the major global motorsport events," said Ferrari president John Elkann in a statement.

The name of the Ferrari car and the drivers are yet to be announced.

Also read: 2021 Looking Ahead: Financial regulations take centrestage in F1

Ferrari has been looking for other activities in which to redeploy staff as a Formula One budget cap takes effect and the sport's oldest and most successful team are forced to slim down.

Some technical staff have already moved across to work with the Haas F1 team, who use Ferrari engines and have a close partnership with Maranello.

Ferrari also has a thriving young driver academy with endurance racing another arena for them to gain experience.