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Essential Guide > New Kids on the Block
THE NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK
(and can they topple Toyota?)
Brought to you by Autosport, the leading weekly motor racing magazine and authority on World Endurance, F1, MotoGP and more
We take a look at the challengers to Toyota's five-year reign of Le Mans domination in the build up to what has been billed as the Race of the Century.
FERRARI | 499P LMH
The stars have aligned for Ferrari. It is heading back to the very pinnacle of sportscar racing after a 50-year absence, to battle for glory in this the centenary year of Le Mans. Its all-new 499P has a nod to tradition as the Prancing Horse surges into a new era.
The new car has been in the works since the spring of 2018 then the rule set that would ultimately go on to frame the hyperclass began to be thrashed out. Ferrari’s return owes much to the regulations that it helped write, slashing the cost of entry vs the previous LMP1 era.
Heavy on symbolism too, the new 499P pays homage to its Group 6 cars from the 1970s with its yellow accents, and with a Podium in race 1 at Sebring, could 2023 be a triumphant return for the Scuderia?
PEUGEOT | 9X8 LMH
In this the centenary of Le Mans, it is only right that a French marque should feature. Peugeot’s wingless wonder the 9X8 is what it hopes will restore it to Le Mans glory.
Peugeot chose to go radical and has stuck to its guns. Launched in July 2021, and having raced in 2022, Peugeot also comes into the centenary arguably better prepared than others, so could this give it the edge?
Marking a return for the first time since 2011, and with an iconic no rear wing look, the focus has been on delivering a sleek, elegant race car that can take it to glory.
CADILLAC | V-SERIES.R LMDH
Returning to Le Mans after a 20-year absence is General Motors, competing for the overall win under the guise of its iconic American brand Cadillac. Since it last took to Circuit de la Sarthe,
Cadillac Racing has tasted many victories stateside, and Chip Ganassi Racing will hope it can use that experience and convert it into victory.
A co-creation by Cadillac Design, Cadillac Racing and chassis constructor Dallara, it’s an all American effort, and has been decades since an American manufacture has taken top spot, but could 2023 be the year it goes all stars and stripes?
PORSCHE | 963 LMDH
Porsche also returns, after a five-year absence with its LMDh prototype. Designed as part of a dual assault on both World Endurance and IMSA Sports Car championships and with its Formula 1 programme now on an indefinite pause,
Porsche is putting all its eggs in the one basket with its new prototype. With more wins than any other manufacturer under its belt, and three dominant displays in 2015, 2016 and 2017 with the 919 Hybrid, you should definitely not bet against Germany’s most illustrious marque taking honours once again.
It’s an illustrious field and the competition this year is more congested and fierce than in many a year. None of the new guns can afford to under-estimate Toyota.
They have tasted victory every year since 2018, closing out the old LMP1 and the inaugural hypercar era. Having dominated already in 2023, no one would bet against five victories becoming six. Only time will tell.
Roll on 4pm Saturday 11 June! We can’t wait.