Ford is returning to Le Mans with its new GT race car, based on the all-new supercar that is scheduled to go on sale next year.
Both the production car and race car will arrive in 2016 to mark the 50th anniversary of Ford GT race cars placing first, second, and third at the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans. Ford went on to repeat its victory at Le Mans in 1967, 1968 and 1969.
The race-going version will compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans starting next year. Ford says the car will run the full 2016 schedules of the FIA World Endurance Championship and TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, making its competition debut in January 2016 in the Rolex 24 At Daytona, Florida.
The two Ford teams will be operated by Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS). Both series teams intend to compete with a four-car effort at Le Mans. Drivers are yet to be announced.
The all-new GT serves as the pinnacle product of the new Ford Performance division, which is set to deliver more than 12 new performance vehicles by 2020. The GT race car features a number of innovations Ford believes will not only make it competitive in LM GTE Pro, but ultimately positioned to provide benefits to each vehicle in the Ford lineup.
“As we developed the Ford GT, from the outset, we wanted to ensure we had a car that has what it takes to return Ford to the world of GT racing,” said Raj Nair, Ford’s vice president of product development and chief technical officer. “We believe the Ford GT’s advances in aerodynamics, light-weighting and EcoBoost power will make for a compelling race car that can once again compete on a global stage.”
Ford engineers claim the race car has undergone extensive design and testing within Ford and Multimatic Motorsports, with CGRFS providing input into the development. Roush Yates is also supporting development of the 3.5-litre EcoBoost V6 – the most powerful EcoBoost production engine ever.
The latter debuted in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship in 2014. Since then, Ford, with CGRFS, has grabbed a number of wins at the 12 Hours of Sebring and Rolex 24 At Daytona.