After almost fifty years, Ferrari has announced their return to Le Mans 24 Hours, and their Formula 1 stalwart Charles Leclerc wants to grasp the opportunity and get behind the steering wheel for the premier endurance racing.
Back in 1973, founding father Enzo Ferrari pulled his company away from Le Mans to focus solely on Formula 1, after having a rich history in the championship with nine wins, their last victory dating back to 1965 with the historic 250 LM, the same time when the Italian heavyweights were having a neck to neck rivalry with Ford.
Ferrari’s success spans to the GT category as well, with their 488 GTE Evo winning the GTE Pro class, as well as four WEC LMGTE Pro titles.
Now after 48 years of remaining away from Le Mans, the Prancing Horse has wished their desire to return to the historical French circuit with their 2023 hypercar program, as Ferrari president John Elkann aims to restore Ferrari’s leadership across different motorsports categories.
“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,” Elkann said.
“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,” the Ferrari prez added.
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Leclerc “will be very happy to join” Ferrari’s Le Mans return
On the heels of Ferrari’s blockbuster announcement, Charles Leclerc wants to quench his thirst for the world’s oldest sports car racing.
The 23 year old Monégasque’s passion for Le Mans is not an alienated notion among the motorsports fandom, as he took part in the Le Mans 24 Virtual event in June last year and back then expressed his desire to repeat the same in real life.
“I’ve always been a fan of Le Mans,” said Leclerc, “if the opportunity arises I will be very happy to join. At the moment my main focus is Formula 1, but if there is an opportunity, why not?”
While Leclerc’s enthusiasm for Ferrari’s return to Le Mans is through the roof, his teammate Carlos Sainz sails a different boat, and wants to commit to F1 solely, while thumbing up his team’s decision.
“From my side it’s obviously a very interesting project. It is great a brand like Ferrari wants to try again at Le Mans. I will be their main supporter and fan,” Sainz asserted, “driving-wise we have a lot of work to do here and my focus is with Scuderia Ferrari Formula 1, and other projects at the moment are not in my direct mind. I will be following but it is still a bit too far away.”