Ferrari Formula 1 driver Charles Leclerc says he would be “very happy” to contest the Le Mans 24 Hours with the Italian manufacturer in the future.

On Wednesday, Ferrari announced it will make a return to the pinnacle of sportscar racing in the World Endurance Championship from 2023, having outlined plans to develop its own Le Mans Hypercar as part of a factory effort.

Leclerc, who previously revealed he would like to contest the "real Le Mans” after being one of a host of F1 drivers who took part in the virtual 24-hour race last year, reaffirmed his interest in the prestigious event following the news of Ferrari’s entry.

“I love Le Mans,” Leclerc explained. “I’ve always been a fan of Le Mans. 

“If the opportunity arises I will be very happy to join but at the moment my main focus is Formula 1, but if there is an opportunity why not?”

Ferrari teammate Carlos Sainz said that a possible appearance at Le Mans is not something he is currently considering with his full focus on his F1 ambitions with his new team. 

“It is obviously a very interesting project,” Sainz added. “I think it is great a brand like Ferrari wants to try again Le Mans and 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.”

Asked if Ferrari’s decision to enter WEC was a direct consequence of the newly-introduced F1 budget cap, Scuderia team principal Mattia Binotto replied: “No, it is not a consequence of the financial regulations at all. 

“I think the programme has been evaluated from the company point of view of interest and we decided as Ferrari to be involved. 

“I think we should understand Ferrari is a unique company, it doesn’t matter who is in charge, and who is responsible, but I will not be directly myself in charge. 

“We are, as Scuderia Ferrari, obviously fully focused on the F1 programme, but no doubt that it is as F1 we may support with somehow knowhow, expertise, we will do it, as we are a unique company.”