Ferrari 499P Modificata a Le Mans Hypercar is for gentleman racers

Ferrari’s Corse Clienti program roughly translates to “racing clients” and oversees just that: Since 2003, F1 Clienti has served private buyers of the Maranello company’s retired F1 cars; a second branch serves buyers of the 599 XX, 599 XX Evo, FXX, FXX Evo, FXX K, and FXX K Evo sports cars; a third branch oversees the Ferrari Challenge series, begun in 1993 when owners of the 348 Challenge made it clear they wanted some sort of organized competition. And now there’s a fourth branch dubbed Sport Prototipi to provide for buyers of this newest offering, the Ferrari 499P Modificata. It is a subtly reworked version of the 499P endurance racer competing in the World Endurance Championship, the same scarlet runner that happened to win Le Mans this year (with some help from the organizing body). Revealed at Ferrari’s year-end Finali Mondiali bash at Mugello, the track-only coupe will be available exclusively to those Ferrari invites to purchase.

Maranello engineers modified the 499P Modificata to exploit freedom from Le Mans rules, and to be slightly easier on the gentleman racers who will pilot it; the full-fat 499P is no place for even an excellent amateur driver to be. The 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 derived from the mill in the 296 GT3 has been lightened and remapped for more tractable power delivery. WEC class regulations cap ICE output at 680 horsepower, and cap total hybrid powertrain output among Hypercars at the same number; so in the Ferrari 499 race car, the engine puts out far less than its peak when the 268-hp electric motor turning the front axle kicks in. Without need for such restrictions in the 499P Modificata, though, the combustion engine makes 697 horsepower and the electric motor is allowed to make its full contribution, combined output coming to 858 horsepower. That peak figure only occurs when the driver presses a push-to-pass button on the back of the steering wheel while pushing the throttle to the floor, and only lasts seven seconds. Otherwise, the e-motor can provide a steady 107 hp. Racing rules also prevent the electric motor from activating below 118 miles per hour. In the gentleman racer, all-wheel-drive works from a standstill. 

The pushrod suspension’s retuned to work with special Pirelli tires instead of the Michelins on the race car, the system providing more predictable and communicative handing, the tires engineered for quicker warmup and lower degradation. A set of rain tires was designed with a new compound and tread pattern to serve both semi-wet and full wet conditions. 

The automaker didn’t say how many 499P Modificatas it planned to make, only that it will be a “strictly limited-series car,” and that each one will cost €5.1 million before tax ($5.4M U.S.). That pays for the car as well as two years of outings and trackside support alongside the F1 Clienti program. In 2024, the series flies to eight tracks. For the fortunate buyers, the fun begins next February in Abu Dhabi. Stateside gawkers have seven months to try to wrangle a ticket to the F1 Clienti stops at Sonoma and Laguna Seca in May.

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