Charles Leclerc says he would be interested to race for Ferrari at Le Mans after the iconic Italian team confirmed it is returning to the top class of endurance racing.
Ferrari announced this week that it will develop a car under the Le Mans Hypercar regulations to compete at Le Mans from 2023 onwards, with drivers to be confirmed nearer the time. As one of the Scuderia’s Formula 1 drivers, Leclerc says to race in the 24 Hours is something he has always wanted to do.
“I love Le Mans,” Leclerc said. “I’ve always been a fan of Le Mans. 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?”
Leclerc’s new teammate Carlos Sainz was understandably more reserved on the issue, having yet to start a grand prix for Ferrari since joining from McLaren over the winter.
“From my side it’s obviously a very interesting project,” Sainz said. “I think it is great a brand like Ferrari wants to try again at Le Mans. I will be their main supporter and fan. 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.”
Although the timing of the Ferrari announcement comes as F1 starts operating under a budget cap that impacts the team’s spending, team principal Mattia Binotto says that wasn’t the instigator for the Le Mans program.
“No, it is not a consequence of the financial regulations at all,” Binotto said. “I think the program has been evaluated from the company point of view of interest and we decided as Ferrari to be involved.
“Will I be in charge? I think we should understand Ferrari is a unique company — it doesn’t matter who is in charge, and who is responsible; but no, I will not be directly in charge myself. We are, as Scuderia Ferrari, (are) fully focused on the F1 program, but no doubt that as F1 we may support with some knowhow, expertise. We will do it, as we are a unique company.”