The Story of Le Mans: Ferrari Prototipi, to be discovered at the 24h Le Mans Museum
The 24 Hours of Le Mans Museum presents a temporary exhibition that traces the history of the Ferrari prototypes of the 24 Hours of Le Mans: “La Storia Di Le Mans: Ferrari Prototipi”.
As Ferrari returned to the top of the “Hypercars” at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, a race described by Enzo Ferrari as ” Grand Prize for human and technical skills“, the 24 Oras Museum is hosting a new temporary exhibition on the famous Italian brand and its history… Ferrari.
As the Centenary approaches, and before its big comeback, the Musée des 24 Heures puts the Prancing Horse brand in the spotlight (it starts on November 26, 2022): the chance to tell its story, and its links to the Classic Le Mans, from its first involvement in 1949 to the near future of the brand.
In addition to the luxurious scenario, the La Storia Di Le Mans exhibition will allow you to discover six emblematic cars of the brand: the Ferrari 166 MM, the first Ferrari to compete in the 24 Hours, the 250 LM, a prototype that dominated the competition and won 3 consecutive editions (1963, 1964 and 1965), the 312PB, the 512 M, the 750 Monza and the 500 TR.
The prototype according to Ferrari
In endurance, the so-called “prototype” or “sport prototype” car is a vehicle with open or closed bodywork, intended to participate in events of 6, 12 or 24 hours from 100 to 1000 km.
After 1950, prototypes of all makes were favored at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, an event originally designed to challenge production cars. The latter do not disappear, but are relegated to other categories, while cars specifically developed for competition are given pride of place.
Ferrari was a racing team before it was a brand, drawing inspiration from its work on the track before selling its models. Depending on the results obtained on the circuit, the prototypes may or may not be offered to consumers for road use. This philosophy allows the Italian team to test new models in difficult conditions before adapting them to the road.
The launch of the 340 MM in 1953 marked a turning point in Ferrari’s history. This model is also derived in 375 MM with a larger engine. At Le Mans, both entered the Sport class, which also has similarities to the current Hypercar class. These two versions enabled the Scuderia to win its first FIA World Sportscar Championship in 1953. In 1954, Enzo Ferrari offered another vintage, the 375 Plus, aiming to end Jaguar’s supremacy in of 24 hours. This variant, powered by a 5.0-liter V12 and of which only eight examples were produced, won the team’s first overall championship. Ferrari prototypes unveiled at Le Mans.
For Ferrari, the future is written at Le Mans
In 2023, Ferrari will return to elite racing with the 499P, a prototype entered in the Le Mans Hypercar (LMH) category. Like many other companies, the Scuderia was attracted by the new, less stringent regulations, especially in terms of aerodynamics.
Ferrari Styling Center director Flavio Manzoni’s teams used aggressive lines, accentuating the many exposed edges and carbon fiber parts. However, the characteristic curves of the Ferrari prototype were not forgotten. The rear of the 499P features a unique horizontal light signature that elevates the impressive rear spoiler. The assembly forms two parallel lines spanning the entire width of the car for dramatic effect.
It will have the latest technologies and will be powered by a turbocharged hybrid V6 with a maximum output of 680 horsepower. The engine, the colors inspired by the past and the harmonious lines leave no doubt about the spirit of this prototype: it is a Ferrari, ready to compete in the world’s greatest endurance race.
Ferrari, in collaboration with the most prestigious team AF Corse, will compete in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) in addition to the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The prancing horse brand from Maranello has almost 75 years of expertise in this field. He hopes to add 10e Le Mans victory on his list on June 10 and 11, 2023.
Ferrari and Le Mans in some figures
467 participating Ferraris including 7 Dino Ferraris; 6 achievements in the energy or performance index; 36 class wins, including the last two at the 2021 24 Hours of Le Mans; 3 pole positions (1963, 1964 and 1965); 1,349,382 kilometers covered by Ferraris at Le Mans; 219 Ferraris at the end of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, meaning a 46.9% success rate; 13 winning drivers; 564 drivers entered Ferrari: 9 General wins… 1949, 1954, 1958, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964 and 1965.