Since 2021, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the World Endurance Championship’s flagship race, has featured Le Mans Hypercars, abbreviated to LMH or more simply Hypercars, sports prototype cars. And in 2023, its centenary year, the 24 Hours of Le Mans will welcome Ferrari, one of its leading players, back to the FIA World Endurance Championship’s top class.
Unlike its ancestor the LMP1, which was only for prototypes built specifically to race in the class, the new regulations, jointly written by the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) and the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), admit Le Mans Hypercars as competition versions of existing road cars or as prototypes specifically designed to compete in the class.
The first hat-trick arrived the following year: two 250 TRI/61s occupied the top two places, with Olivier Gendebien and Phil Hill in first, followed by Willy Mairesse and Mike Parkes. A 250 GT SWB crewed by Pierre Noblet and Jean Guichet finished third.
In 1963, only twelve cars crossed the line, with six Ferraris monopolising the top six places. The Maranello marque dominated this edition, with Ludovico Scarfiotti and Lorenzo Bandini taking the winner’s laurels in a 250 P.
The last victory, the ninth overall and sixth consecutive went to Jochen Rindt and Masten Gregory in a 250 LM in 1965, finishing ahead of two other Ferraris.
More podium finishes came in the following years until 1973, when the Prancing Horse made its last official appearance in the race’s top category at La Sarthe. Ferrari’s history at the 24 Hours of Le Mans continued with the involvement of private teams and then with official triumphs in the GT classes. The latest came in the 2021 season with James Calado, Alessandro Pier Guidi and Côme Ledogar in the LMGTE Pro class ,and François Perrodo, Nicklas Nielsen and Alessio Rovera in the LMGTE Am.