What is a Le Mans Hypercar? Entries, rules and specs for the sports car category

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What is a Le Mans Hypercar? And which entries are under these rules? All the information on the front-runners for the 2023 season and beyond

Front view of Aston Martin Valkyrie Le Mans hypercar

Heart of Racing will run the Valkyrie Hypercar on both sides of the Atlantic

The highly anticipated Hypercar category has long been touted as a new golden age in endurance racing, with this year’s thrilling Le Mans 24 Hours – won by Ferrari after a 50-year absence – seen as a watershed moment for the sports car discipline. Now, iconic British marque Aston Martin will join the fray too alongside Lamborghini — the former entering from 2025 and the latter from 2024.

This year’s La Sarthe classic was an epic day-long battle between the Scuderia and Toyota, however also in the mix was Peugeot plus the equivalent LMDh class cars of Porsche and Cadillac. BMW, Lamborghini and Alpine will all bring their LMDh machines to Le Mans next year as the field expands, while Glikenhaus will withdraw from endurance racing’s top category.

The Hypercar category replaced LMP1 in 2021, but confusingly, the category is made up of two types of car: one called Hypercar, which offers significant design freedom and another called LMDh, which is cheaper because teams must use several off-the-shelf parts. Read more about the latter in our What is LMDh? article


Peugeot’s 9X8 competing at Fuji in 2022



Hypercar rules

Hypercars are more in the spirit of pioneering efforts from Le Mans’ past rather than the more prescribed LMDh cars. The key features are below, with more detail further down the page:

  • Ability to use hybrid or non-hybrid powertrain
  • Maximum power: 671bhp
  • Minimum weight: 1030kg
  • Aerodynamic “performance window” allows teams more design freedom
  • Development is frozen once cars enter WEC
  • Close racing enforced by Balance of Performance changes

While teams are free to develop Hypercars from road-going models, all current teams have developed theirs from the ground up.

Peugeot’s new 9X8

No rear wing for Peugeot 9X8 Hypercar

Getty Images

Instead of endless rules that stipulate the specifications and dimensions of individual components, designers are relatively free to choose their own solutions, based on performance windows.

That’s why Hypercars have a range of V6, V8; hybrid and non-hybrid engines to achieve the stipulated maximum of 500kW (671bhp). Aerodynamic simulations are carried out to ensure similar levels of downforce, which left Peugeot free to build a car without a rear wing, relying on ground-effect to generate downforce.


Hypercar teams

Ferrari is going head to head with Le Mans Hypercar (LMH) rivals Toyota, Peugeot, and Vanwall fighting for overall victories at Le Mans and in the World Endurance Championship.

They are also fighting LMDh rivals in the Hypercar category: Porsche and Cadillac are competing at Le Mans this year. In 2024, they’ll be joined next year by BMW, Lamborghini and Alpine. The Balance of Performance system is meant to ensure a level playing field between LMH and LMDh.


Le Mans Hypercar vs LMDh

Toyota GR010 HYBRID

Toyota GR010 Hybrid takes advantage of great freedom afforded by LMH rules


Le Mans Hypercars will go head to head with LMDh in both WEC, which includes the Le Mans 24 Hours, and the American IMSA series.

Some key aspects, such as maximum power, are identical, but there are substantial differences. The Balance of Performance system is designed to ensure equivalent performance across both types of car.

Hypercar LMDh
671bhp Maximum power 671bhp
1030kg Minimum weight 1030kg
Downforce to drag ratio: 4:1 Aerodynamic performance window Downforce to drag ratio: 4:1
Free choice of petrol engine Powertrain Free choice of petrol engine
Optional, on front axle Hybrid system Mandatory, spec system, on rear axle
In-house design Chassis LMP2-based design from approved manufacturer
Free choice Gearbox Standard design


One element that can give LMH cars an advantage is that their front-axle hybrid systems provide four-wheel drive, with the combustion engine driving the rear axle and an electric motor at the front.

If it rains, then the Hypercars should technically be at a great advantage. Making efforts to negate this, the ACO has made it so Hypercars can’t engage their electric drive in normal racing conditions when running under 75mph.


Balance of Performance (BoP)

Officials can adjust the power and weight of cars to ensure similar levels of performance and close racing. This is usually based on simulation data, to reduce the chances of teams ‘sandbagging’ — hiding their true performance to avoid an unfavourable decision ahead of a big race.

Teams’ energy allowance can be varied, giving them more performance per lap, and ballast can be added.

Following the 2023 Six Hours of Spa, the race prior to Le Mans and often seen as indicative of performance, the FIA and ACO announced further BoP changes for the blue riband race in the form of extra ballast relative to their pace in Belgium.

Toyota was handed 37kg, Ferrari 24kg, Cadillac 11kg and Porsche 3kg, with some teams understood to be unhappy about the late changes, after having prepared for the race without them.

The BoP system is only intended to tweak pace, and is applied across Hypercar and LMDh cars.


What does LMH stand for?

LM stands for Le Mans, indicating the ACO (Automobile Club de L’Ouest) use of the rules also its adoption for the WEC, whilst H stands for Hypercar.

Slightly confusingly, in WEC, the entrants will be in a class called ‘Hypercar’, which will include both the LMH cars and the LMDh.


Le Mans Hypercar regulations explained


Along with the powertrain, the chassis is possibly the biggest differentiator from LMDh.

While LMDh teams must purchase a predesignated LMP2 chassis from Ligier, Oreca, Dallara or Multimatic, LMH teams are free to create their own chassis within the above dimensions mentioned, which can be based on a road-going hypercar or a specialised prototype.

Whilst the road-going rule was brought in to accommodate Aston Martin and its now-paused Valkyrie project, Hypercar manufacturers have so far designed their cars from scratch, without producing any road versions.



Peugeot hypercar powertrain annotated

Peugeot’s Hypercar powertrain uses a V6 hybrid engine with a front-axle hybrid system


Entrants are free to make their own choices on power unit, the only proviso being that it mustn’t be diesel-fuelled.

The maximum power output of the engine must be 500kW (670bhp), also aligned with LMDh cars.


Hybrid system

Whereas in LMDh a spec hybrid system is mandatory, LMH entrants can elect whether to run a hybrid system or not. If they do, the  combustion engine must drive the rear axle and the electric motor powers the front.

If an LMH team opts for a hybrid system, its maximum output must be 200kW (268bhp). Hybrid cars are restricted in their deployment in the dry, with the electric motor not providing drive when under 120km/h (75mph). In the wet, that limit rises to 150km/h (91mph).

Hybrid engines should have an advantage over non-hybrids both in terms of the immediacy of power delivery and fuel consumption.



Both LMH and LMDh are required to have a limited downforce to drag ratio of 4:1.

An appeal of LMH is that designers have much greater leeway in terms of styling their own bodywork compared to LMDh, a potential boon to the marketing possibilities of manufacturers, in addition to the freedom it brings to packaging and setting up the car.



Ferrari’s Hypercar clinched pole at this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours with a 3min 22.982sec lap time, which is already 7sec faster than predicted before the category was introduced.

However, it is still slower than Kamui Kobayshi’s current lap record for Toyota, set in 2020 qualifying at 3min 14.791.



Whilst a host of measures have been brought in as part of an effort to reduce costs, primarily centred around the BoP and restrictive aerodynamic package. The fact remains that there is no hard and fast cost cap for LMH.

As a result, the class’s development costs, through use of its own chassis and powertrains, are far in excess of LMDh.

However, it’s thought unlikely to reach peak LMP1 levels of spending. As an example, Porsche’s 919 LMP1 programme, which was run between 2014-2017 and only eligible to race in WEC, is said to have cost $200m. The new rules are designed in part to negate anything near this kind of outlay.


Le Mans Hypercar entries: confirmed teams

Toyota Gazoo Racing

08 Buemi Sebastien (swi), Nakajima Kazuki (jpn), Hartley Brendon (nzl), Toyota Gazoo Racing, Toyota GR010 - Hybrid, action during the 8 Hours of Portimao, 2nd round of the 2021 FIA World Endurance Championship on the Algarve International Circuit, from June 11th to 13th, 2021 in Portimao, Algarve, Portugal - Photo Paulo Maria / DPPI

Toyota GR010 HYBRID – heir to TS050’s throne

Paulo Maria / DPPI

Toyota was first to unveil its new Le Mans Hypercar, the GR010 Hybrid in 2020, and has been racing since the LMP1 era gave way to Hypercars in 2021.

The formidable machine has won both World Endurance Championships since then, as well as all WEC races so far this season. Rivals say that its pace and reliability, combined with the team’s experience, make it favourite for Le Mans.

Related article

The team has opted to design an entirely new hybrid system. The hybrid racer will be four-wheel drive, with a 3.5 litre V6 twin-turbo powering the rear axle with 671bhp. The front-axle will have 270bhp provided to it with an electric motor.

The total power is capped at 500kW (671bhp) in LMH rules, with the GR010 Hybrid’s advanced electronics dictate the amount of hybrid boost used to ensure it doesn’t go over the limit

The team has maintained a stable driver line-up, which includes team boss Kamui Kobayashi. He’s joined in the No7 car by fellow WEC champions Mike Conway and José María López. The No8 car is driven by Sébastien Buemi, Ryo Hirakawa and Brendon Hartley.



708 PLA Olivier (fra), DUMAS Romain (fra), BRISCOE Ryan (usa), Glickenhaus Racing, Glickenhaus 007 LMH, action during the 6 Hours of Monza 2022, 4th round of the 2022 FIA World Endurance Championship on the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza from July 8 to 10, 2022 in Monza, Italy - Photo Joao Filipe / DPPI

Glickenhaus led at Monza in 2022, only for a turbo failure during the race

Joao Filipe / DPPI

The American Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus team has a single Italian-built SCG007 entered full-time WEC, after running two cars at Le Mans 2022. It has gone non-hybrid, plumping for a bespoke twin-turbo V8 produced by Pipo Moteurs.

The US-based company recently announced a link-up with 15-times Le Mans winner Joest Racing, provide personnel and support to the race team. Sauber have been employed to develop the aerodynamics, the Swiss squad having won Le Mans overall with Mercedes in 1989.

The drivers being run at Le Mans by Glickenhaus are Pipo Derani, Romain Dumas, and Olivier Pla in the No708, and Franck Mailleux, Nathanaël Berthon and Esteban Gutierrez in the No709.

Founder Jim Glickenhaus has also indicated his willingness to take his cars over to his home nation for races in IMSA.

“I want to do Daytona and I want to Sebring and why not Petit Le Mans [at Road Atlanta] as well?” he said.

“I’m more interested in those races than I am in going to Bahrain, Japan or wherever to race in the WEC: I don’t sell [road] cars there, but I do in America.”




Peugeot acquitted itself well in Monza despite inevitable reliability gremlins on first showing


After unveiling its radical new 9X8 Le Mans Hypercar to compete at the enduro classic and WEC in 2022, Peugeot made its debut at that year’s 6 Hours of Monza.

Utilising a hybrid power system, the car’s rear wheels are powered by 671bhp petrol engine, whilst the front axle is turned by a 268bhp electric motor. Glickenhaus and Toyota also use twin-turbo V6s.

Initial images of the 9X8 saw it feature no rear wing, with the team generating downforce from the under-floor of the car and other parts of the rear bodywork.

Peugeot’s driver line-up features two-time Formula E champion Jean-Eric Vergne, 2020 Le Mans LMP2 winner Paul Di Resta, eight-time DTM race-winner Nico Müller, 2013 overall winner Loïc Duval, Gustavo Menezes and Mikkel Jensen.



Ferrari No50 car at Le Mans 24 Hours qualifying in 2023

Ferrari is back at Le Mans after 50 years


Ferrari announced its Le Mans Hypercar programme in February 2022, after several months of speculation. The team had openly said that it was examining the possibility and now returns to the Le Mans 24 Hours race on its centenary.

Adding to its current tally of nine overall wins is undoubtedly the target for a brand once synonymous with the blue riband enduro.

Ferrari hypercars side by side at Le Mans in 2023

Ferrari has locked out the front row for this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours


The 499P Le Mans Hypercar was revealed last October at Ferrari’s Finali Mondiali extravaganza at Imola.

“We chose LMH because it is important for Ferrari to make all the car and all the parts,” said Competizione GT boss Antonello Coletta, who revealed the 900v battery powering the bespoke 200kW ERS has been developed from learnings gained in Formula 1. “Ferrari is a constructor, the manufacturer of the car, and for us it is not our philosophy to buy a part. We decided to come back into prototypes when the rules gave us the chance to make all the car. This car is a manifesto of the technologies of Ferrari.”

The team has made a brilliant return to the top table of sports car racing, taking a pole on debut in Sebring and locking out the front row in Le Mans, before its No51 car of Alessandro Pier Guidi, James Calado and former F1 driver Antonio Giovinazzi went on to win the race.

The No50 sister car has former GT drivers Antonio Fuoco, Miguel Molina and Nicklas Nielsen, with the N051 featuring


Aston Martin

Over ten years since it last ran in Le Mans’ top class and 64 years since the British brand won overall, Aston Martin has announced it will compete at Le Mans from 2025 with its own Valkyrie Hypercar, joining both the World Endurance Championship and and US-based IMSA series.

The 6.5-litre, 1000+bhp machine – originally ‘conceived’ by F1 design legend Adrian Newey and road-car stylist Miles Nurnberger – was originally slated to enter WEC for 2021 but was then withdrawn in 2020 when Hypercar rules were tweaked and new owner Lawrence Stroll directed the company towards F1, will now take on the might of Ferrari, Toyota, Porsche, BMW and many more at La Sarthe for the world’s greatest endurance race.

“We have been present at Le Mans since the earliest days, and through those glorious endeavours we succeeded in winning Le Mans in 1959 and our class 19 times over the past 95 years,” said chairman Stroll.

“Now we return to the scene of those first triumphs aiming to write new history with a racing prototype inspired by the fastest production car Aston Martin has ever built.”

Side view of Aston Martin Valkyrie Le Mans hypercar

Car will be powered by 1000+bhp naturally aspirated engine

Following the cancellation of its previous Hypercar intentions, the Valkyrie was modified to become the AMR Pro track day car, in addition to a road-going version. The latter will now be adapted to the current Hypercar regulations, though its power unit will be based on the AMR Pro’s non-hybrid Cosworth, in contrast to the hybrid-powered Ferrari and Toyota plus the the equivalent LMDh contenders.

The team will be run by The Heart of Racing squad, which previously has GT experience in WEC, IMSA and other sports car series.

Though Aston has just a single overall victory at the blue riband sports car race, it’s one which has endured in the memory after a steely drive by future Ford GT40 mastermind Carroll Shelby and British sports car ace Roy Salvadori. The manufacturer’s endurance presence and reputation has since been maintained by a successful GT operation.

Since its sole victory in ’59, the famous British marque has had a number of high-profile top class failures, including the Nimrod NRA/C2 and AMR-1 Group C machines, as well as the Lola Aston-Martin B09/60 and Aston Martin AMR-One LMP1 efforts – the last of which ran in 2011.

The brand will be hoping to banish the memory of these slightly lacklustre projects with its latest Hypercar effort, which will be developed at the new F1 base at Silverstone.



Villeneuve in a Vanwall

The former LMP1 and LMP2 squad ByKolles has developed a Hypercar – with the famous ‘Vanwall’ moniker, Britain’s and F1’s first constructors’ champion.

A mainstay of the LMP1 class since 2014, ByKolles went down the prototype route, but intend to produce a road car version also.

Called the Vanedervell 680, the Hypercar will be produced both as a track day car and a road car, in addition to the racing model.

The road car will produce over 1000bhp and have a hybrid system but the LMH will be reined in at 700bhp, in part due to the fact it will be running a normally aspirated non-hybrid system.

The team will carries over its Gibson V6 from its ENSO CLM P1/01 LMP1 challenger, eschewing the hybrid route.

ByKolles drivers Tom Dillman, Esteban Guerrieri and Tristan Vautier make up the single-car driver line-up.



Ford was involved in negotiating the rules for LMH, and was thought to have expressed an interest in developing a new Hypercar of its own, but has now opted to develop its new road-going Ford Mustang for the GT3 rules in IMSA’s GTD Pro class.

McLaren was also a widely mooted a candidate, but since changed tack and pushed (successfully) for LMH/LMDh convergence. However, its announcement of having an option on Formula E and entering Extreme E for the 2022-2023 season has likely delayed any potential Le Mans plans.