Ferrari is close to confirming a full FIA World Endurance Championship program for the upcoming ‘Hypercar’ regulations, RACER understands.
Multiple industry sources close to the Italian manufacturer have confirmed to RACER over the past few weeks that the Italian supercar maker is actively evaluating a program for the second season of the aforementioned regulation cycle, which begins at the start of the 2020/21 season.
Ferrari has been an active voice in the Technical Working Groups that helped shape and develop the regulations and is understood to be awaiting the final technical regulations to determine whether the budgets it requires to meet its commercial objectives will be achievable.
This potential effort is believed to be being driven centrally by Ferrari, rather than an external partner team such as AF Corse, which currently runs its GTE Pro effort in the WEC.
The attraction of the regulations is understood to be a combination of the hybrid powertrain (an area in which Ferrari has significant expertise), the visual cues with road-going cars and the potential for a high-profile global program, including Le Mans, at a much-reduced cost. Under the previous regulations, costs rose astronomically when Toyota, Audi and Porsche were all competing together from 2014 to 2017.
Aside from Ferrari, Toyota is also due to commit for Year 1 of the regulation cycle, along with Glickenhaus, McLaren, Aston Martin. At least one other high-profile marque is also known to be looking at a potential entry, having played an active part in developing the new regulations that were ratified at the FIA World Motor Sport Council meeting in Russia earlier this month.
As it stands, Year 1 could be thin on new cars due to the limited timeframe for manufacturers to green-light and prepare a full-scale effort in time for the second half of 2020, when the new season starts. Because of this, the 2020-21 season looks certain to feature the current generation of non-hybrid LMP1 prototypes running at the head of the field, grandfathered in to bolster the entry while the WEC awaits more new cars in Year 2.
“It’s an option that will be seriously considered depending on take-up of the new regulations in Year 1,” a senior source told RACER.