In February this year, Ferrari announced their intention to develop their own chassis and enter the new top class of the FIA WEC World Championship, the Le Mans Hypercar program, from 2023. In this last week, they have now officially announced a partnership with AF Corse to collaborate in the management of the team that will work alongside Competizioni GT in the Le Mans Hypercar (LMH) programme.
The team will compete in the championship as “Ferrari – AF Corse”, continuing on a winning streak started in the FIA GT 2006 with the F430 GT2 that, in its debut season, produced the team, drivers and Constructors’ title.
This will see them competing against Toyota, Peugeot, Glickenhaus and LMDh (Le Mans Daytona hybrid) manufacturers such as Porsche and Audi.
What is the significance of this development? Well, AF Cosre are running two ‘factory-backed’ Ferrari in the 2021 German DTM Championship which gets underway next weekend. Two top Kiwi drivers will be driving Ferrari 488 GT3 Evos’ for the Red Bull Racing team run by AF Corse – Liam Lawson and Nick Cassidy.
While Lawson is entirely focused on a Formula One seat with Red Bull, Cassidy, who has extensive Super GT Series experience in Japan, may well find that this could be his entry into the World Endurance Championship (WEC) and the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans race. Cassidy is now based in Europe competing in both the DTM Series and FIA Formula E Championship.
Note that Cassidy’s Super GT Series co-driver, Ryo Hirakawa will test drive a GR010 Toyota Hybrid Hypercar next week at the Portimao Circuit in Portugal.
It will be 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 WEC.
It is a category (closed-wheel competition) that has seen Ferrari win 24 world titles (most recently in 2017) and 36 victories in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.