2023 is going to be a good year. The FIA World Endurance Championship and North American IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will have a new class open to Hypercars with a hybrid powertrain.
Porsche has announced that it is working towards having a racing prototype for the 2023 season as has Audi, Honda and most recently the team that every racing Championship wants – Ferrari.
Following a period of study and analysis, Ferrari has kicked off the development of the new LMH car to include in recent weeks the design and simulation phases.
Fifty years after its last official participation in the premier class of the World Sports Car Championship in 1973, Ferrari will take to the track in the Hypercar class of the FIA World Endurance Championship, which it proactively helped to establish.
Ferrari President John Elkann commented: “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 programme, Ferrari once again asserts its sporting commitment and determination to be a protagonist in the major global motorsport events”.
It will be fantastic to see these might manufacturers battling it out for an overall win at Le Mans again.
Celebrating McLaren’s dominance at Le Mans in 1995, when five of its race cars finished the race in 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th and 13th, the manufacturer has revealed five customer commissioned Senna GTR LMs paying homage to the F1s, each with a unique hand-painted livery that took over 800 hours of painstaking craftsmanship to complete from the Ueno Clinic car, on to the Harrods, Gulf, Jacadi and the Cesar car.
Interestingly, to truly replicate the liveries, special permission had to be granted by brand owners such as Gulf and Harrods and by Le Mans organiser the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO), to recreate logos and trademarks. The roof of each car even features an authentically recreated scrutineering sticker, which is the only piece of vinyl in the livery.
The five Sennas each have a dedication plaque on the inner surface of the carbon fibre tub denoting each car’s one-off status and its original F1 GTR chassis number identifier. Each car also wears an etched dedication to its Le Mans ‘twin’, including the date of the race, the names of the three race drivers in that car and the position in which they finished.
Inside, the GTR LMs feature a racing steering wheel with anodised gold gear shift paddles and control buttons (in tribute to the McLaren F1’s gold-coloured gear linkage); titanium nitride pedals with LM logos; leather door-pull straps and lightweight carbon fibre racing seats complemented by bespoke headrest embroidery and an MSO six-point racing harness coloured black with body-colour pads.
25 years ago McLaren celebrated one of its greatest motorsport achievements – winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans on its first attempt. June 18, 1995 saw McLaren F1 GTR #59, driven by JJ Lehto, Yannick Dalmas and Masanori Sekiya take the chequered flag with three other F1 finishing in the top 5.
To commemorate such an achievement, the Woking manufacturer has revealed a special edition model aptly named the McLaren 720S Le Mans. Only 50 are to be produced with 16 to find a home in Europe.
Each of the 50 Le Mans edition cars will carry a dedication plate featuring a ‘McLaren 25 Anniversary Le Mans’ logo and each chassis number will start with ‘298’, a nice little touch reminding the owners that in 1995, the F1 GTR completed 298 laps, one more that its closest rival.
New owners will get a choice two colours, McLaren Orange or Sarthe Grey, fitted with the stunning 5-spoke LM wheels, some added carbon here and there, gold-coloured brake callipers and a functional roof scoop!
Inside, owners can choose between black Alcantara with McLaren Orange accents or Dove Grey accents, carbon fibre racing seats, a 12 o’clock marker on the steering wheel, a couple of commemorative plates and to remind you what you are driving floor mats and embroidered headrests with the McLaren 25 anniversary Le Mans’ logo.
As always customers can always take their limited editions and give it the MSO treatment where a lot more carbon fibre inside and out can be ticked as well as a titanium harness bar and 6-point harnesses to further enhance the motorsport theme.
The cost for the pleasure of owning one these limited cars? The 720S Le Mans starts at £254,500 with deliveries due to start in September.