Ford has today announced it intentions to return to Le Mans with the brand new Ford GT race car taking part in the LM GTE Pro category. 2016 will mark the 50th anniversary of the Ford GT race cars placing 1-2-3 at the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans (who then went on to win in 1967, 1968 and 1969).
“When the GT40 competed at Le Mans in the 1960s, Henry Ford II sought to prove Ford could beat endurance racing’s most legendary manufacturers,” said Bill Ford, executive chairman, Ford Motor Company. “We are still extremely proud of having won this iconic race four times in a row, and that same spirit that drove the innovation behind the first Ford GT still drives us today.”
The new Ford GT will run the full FIA World Endurance Championship series in 2016 along with a TUDOR United SportsCar Championship programme which will make its debut in January 2016 at the Rolex 24 at Daytona, both teams will be run by Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) with a four-car entry for Le Mans 2016.
“Ford remains focused on three priorities globally – accelerating our One Ford plan, delivering product excellence with passion and driving innovation in every part of our business,” said Mark Fields, Ford Motor Company president and CEO. “All three came together to create the new Ford GT. We also know from our rich history in motorsports that world-class competition is a great incubator for even further product innovation.”
Joining Ford in this project are Multimatic Motorsports, Roush Yates Engines, Castrol, Michelin, Forza Motorsport, Sparco, Brembo and CGRFS.
“We’ve won races and championships, but we’ve never run Le Mans,” said team owner Chip Ganassi. “When presented the opportunity to compete with the all-new Ford GT on the world’s biggest sports car stage, and on the 50th anniversary of one of the most storied victories in racing history, how could any race team not want to be part of that? Will it be a challenge? Absolutely, but we couldn’t be with a better partner than Ford.”