Less than two years after Ferrari’s highly anticipated return to the premier class of the endurance world championship, attention is growing around what will be the Prancing Horse hypercar to aim for absolute success at Le Mans. On the occasion of the recent 6 Hours of Monza, the third round of the WEC of the season, further details emerged on the Red currently being studied in the Maranello offices.
Antonello Coletta, director of Ferrari’s GT Competitions department, gave an interview to the editorial staff of Sportscar365, illustrating the philosophy behind the birth of the hypercar. The first details concern the powertrain, which Coletta confirmed to be hybrid with a configuration that delivers power to all four wheels: “It will be an all-wheel drive car. All hypercar prototypes are four-wheel drive, with the exception of Glickenhaus. However, Ferrari, Peugeot and Toyota will have all-wheel drive ”.
The Maranello cars will therefore be fitted with a powertrain similar to that also adopted by Toyota and Peugeot, the only other manufacturers that have adhered to the hypercar regulation with a hybrid power unita, unlike Glickenhaus whose cars are powered solely by a thermal engine. The Rossa will therefore be equipped with a combustion engine that will deliver power to the rear wheels, although the characteristics in terms of displacement, fractionation and possible presence and number of turbochargers are still unknown. As per regulation, the engine can have a maximum power of 520 kW, the equivalent of approximately 710 horsepower. The front axle will instead be powered by a 200 kW electric motor generator which, as per regulations, will only be able to deliver power at speeds above 120 km / h. The combined instantaneous power of the power unit cannot in any case exceed 520 kW overall.
Coletta then went on to mention the aerodynamic choices of the Maranello hypercar: “Now we work a lot on style because we start from something innovative, but the wind tunnel will determine the final shapes. The basis in any case will be a prototype“. In Maranello, therefore, they opted to take to the track with a car designed from scratch, rather than starting from the base of a road Red. Finally, Coletta did not rule out that the same prototype may include new design choices, in the wake, for example, of what was seen with the recent presentation of the Peugeot 9X8 without the rear wing: “The regulations are open and we have some possibilities to think of new ideas. […] We work hard to find the best possible solution. For now, however, it would be stupid to put our ideas on the table that we think are better than others ”.
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A 360 ° challenge
Within a technical regulation that imposes parameters such as the power delivery curve of the power unit, the minimum weight and the relationship between drag and aerodynamic load, however, there are several fields in which Maranello technicians will be able to seek every possible competitive advantage. The arrangement of the masses and in particular of the components of the power unit such as batteries, inverter, motor and tank will, for example, be fundamental to ensure the optimal moment of inertia as a function of reactivity and precision in changes of direction.
The aerodynamics itself presents a fair amount of freedom within the loading windows granted by the regulation, as well as imposing particular attention on the drag connected to the path of the flows through the internal components and the cooling system. Furthermore, with the energy that can be exploited at the wheels at each stint defined by the Balance of Performance, the efficiency of the power unit becomes decisive for reducing energy consumption so that, for the same useful work, it is possible to limit the quantity of fuel loaded and the battery capacity. Finally, aspects such as reliability and correct use of the tires will be crucial, connected to the design of the suspension group and capable of influencing the sustainable pace over long distances.
The race debut of the Maranello hypercar is scheduled for 2023, but the first images and tests of the Prancing Horse car could arrive as early as next season. Ferrari is expected to compete in Le Mans with the other hypercars of Toyota, Peugeot and Glickenhaus, as well as the LMDhs of Porsche and Audi that will compete in the same class. The possible presence of ByKolles and the participation in Le Mans of Acura and BMW still remain to be defined, after the latter have already announced their commitment to the North American championship. Among the manufacturers already announced and the possible enrichment with the arrival of private teams, the 2023 24 Hours of Le Mans could see a grid with over 20 entries in the premier class alone, announcing a challenge for Ferrari whose intensity is equal to that of waiting for the new hypercar.