Ferrari has a long and prestigious history in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, a history that has led to many a story, including the famous one of Ford and its GT40 ending the dominance of the Prancing Horse at Le Mans back in 1965. The Italian automaker has nine overall wins at Le Mans and is one of the biggest names to ever race on the famous Circuit de la Sarthe, but today its presence there is only felt in the GTE category and not the blue ribbon LMP1 category.
That may soon change, as Auto Motor und Sport
is reporting that Ferrari is seriously considering entering the top LMP1 category with a new sports car prototype. Ferrari hasn’t raced a prototype at Le Mans since 1973 and hasn't won with one since 1965. The German magazine reports that Ferrari is expected to make a decision on the matter later this year and if it's positive we could have a new Ferrari LMP1 prototype on the grid by 2015's race.
On a technical standpoint, the hybrid concepts being implemented in Formula One’s 2014 season could be transferred for use in Le Mans, helping spread their costly development investment. Then there’s also the marketing aspect; the sports car prototypes in Le Mans are more closely aligned with the cars you and I drive than F1 cars are. This is one of the reasons big names like Toyota, Nissan and Porsche have either made their return to the sport or plan to soon.
Though Ferrari isn’t about to exit F1, its entry into the world of Le Mans LMP1 competition (and the World Endurance Championship) could lead to a huge shift in audiences away from F1, whose reputation has suffered in recent years due to its politics, financial demands, lack of automaker support, and expansion into markets without any motorsport tradition.
Stay tuned for an update._______________________________________Follow Motor Authority on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.