News: Ford GT to Race at Le Mans

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Race Ready

The new Ford GT will race at the historic 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2016

By Steve Turner
Photos courtesy of Ford Motor Company

The new Ford GT is stunning, and its performance roots are based in the successful application of EcoBoost V-6 power in Daytona Prototypes, so we already know these engines are race-worthy. However, what better way to test the mettle of the new platform than to run it in one of the most legendary endurance races around—the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

When Ford Performance announced a press conference at Le Mans, we all knew what to expect, but that doesn’t make the announcement any less exciting. The Ford GT will return to race at Le Mans in 2016!
When Ford Performance announced a press conference at Le Mans, we all knew what to expect, but that doesn’t make the announcement any less exciting. The Ford GT will return to race at Le Mans in 2016!

Of course, this car’s predecessors, the GT-40 and the first-gen Ford GT had a bit of success at this race, and this morning Ford Performance announced that the all-new Ford GT would return to this event to race in 2016. Yes, the race version of the EcoBoost Ford GT will be running against the world next year in France.

“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,” Bill Ford, executive chairman, Ford Motor Company, said. “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.”

“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,”  Mark Fields, Ford Motor Company president and CEO, added. “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.”

While the Le Mans news is exciting, you won’t have to wait until next June to see the Ford GT race. It will debut at the 24 Hours of Daytona in January of 2016.
While the Le Mans news is exciting, you won’t have to wait until next June to see the Ford GT race. It will debut at the 24 Hours of Daytona in January of 2016.

The innovation that the Ford Performance team focused on for this project was to create a car that was built from the outset to become a GT racer not just a street super car. For the racing version the engineers concentrated on three areas: aerodynamics, horsepower, and reducing weight.

“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,” Raj Nair, Ford Motor Company group vice president, Global Product Development and chief technical officer, said. “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.”

To learn more about that return to the world spotlight, watch this…

Not only will the new Ford GT run a Le Mans next year, but it will debut next January at the 24 Hours of Daytona. The car is set to run full race schedules in the FIA World Endurance Championship and the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. Two teams will compete in these series and they will be run by Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates.

Roush-Yates Racing Engines is said to be creating the most powerful EcoBoost engines ever built for these cars, so detractors of the 3.5-liter V-6 may soon be silenced.
Roush-Yates Racing Engines is said to be creating the most powerful EcoBoost engines ever built for these cars, so detractors of the 3.5-liter V-6 may soon be silenced.

“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.”

It should come as no surprise that Multimatic Motorsports and Roush Yates Engines are also onboard to support this racing effort. However, additional support will come from Brembo, Castrol, Michelin, Forza Motorspoort, and Sparco.

If you missed the live stream of the announcement, you can re-live the excitement right here:

Le Mans Ford GT Gallery

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