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  • William Maley
    William Maley

    Ford Returns to LeMans With GT In 2016

    The Ford GT Returns To Le Mans


    The rumors seemed to be right on the money as Ford announced this morning that it would make a return to Le Mans next year with the GT supercar competing in the LM GTE class. This is one way to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Ford’s historic 1966 overall victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

     

    However, the GT will not only compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The blue oval announced a racing program that will compete in both the FIA World Endurance Championship and TUDOR United SportsCar Championship with a two-team, four-car effort. Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates will be handling the program. Drivers for the effort will be announced at a later time.

     

    Ford says the race version of the GT boasts a number of innovations that “will not only make it competitive in LM GTE Pro,” but also “provide benefits to each vehicle in the Ford lineup.”

     

    Such innovations include “state-of-the-art aerodynamics to deliver outstanding levels of downforce for improved stability with minimal drag, advanced lightweight composites featuring carbon fiber for an exceptionally rigid but light chassis, and the power and efficiency of EcoBoost technology.”

     

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

     

    The race version of the GT will make its debut at the 24 Hours of Daytona next January.

     

    Source: Ford

     

     

    Press Release is on Page 2


     

    JUN 12, 2015 | LE MANS, FRANCE

     

    FORD RETURNING TO LE MANS IN 2016 WITH ALL-NEW FORD GT, MARKING 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF 1966 VICTORY

    • Ford returns to Le Mans in 2016 with the all-new Ford GT supercar to compete in LM GTE Pro class, commemorating the 50th anniversary of Ford’s 1966 overall victory
    • All-new Ford factory program to compete in both the FIA World Endurance Championship and TUDOR United SportsCar Championship with a two-team, four-car effort – operated by Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates
    • Ford GT is company’s showcase for aerodynamics and lightweight carbon fiber construction, along with new twin-turbocharged Ford EcoBoost® V6 – most powerful EcoBoost production engine ever


    Ford announced today it is returning to one of the most prestigious automobile races in the world with its new Ford GT race car, based on the all-new ultra-high-performance supercar that goes on sale next year.
    The Ford GT race car will compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans – referred to by many as the Grand Prix of Endurance and Efficiency – starting next year. Revealed today at the famous circuit in Le Mans, France, Ford GT will compete in the Le Mans GT Endurance class for professional teams and drivers (LM GTE Pro).

     

    The new race car – a further proof point of Ford innovation – is based on the all-new Ford GT supercar unveiled in January. Both the production car and race car will arrive in 2016 to mark the 50th anniversary of Ford GT race cars placing 1-2-3 at the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans. Ford went on to repeat its victory at Le Mans 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 race 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 will be announced later.
    The all-new Ford GT serves as the pinnacle product of the new Ford Performance group, a division dedicated to providing innovation through performance.
    Set to deliver more than 12 new performance vehicles by 2020, Ford Performance will leverage its racing efforts and expertise to speed innovations on dedicated performance models and performance parts in order to more quickly iterate the latest technologies that can ultimately be applied to the full Ford vehicle lineup.
    The performance segment is a growing business for Ford, as the company recognizes its customers’ desire for vehicles that offer excellent fuel economy, leading technology and a great driving experience. The Ford Performance lineup includes Ford GT, Focus RS, F-150 Raptor, Shelby GT350 and Shelby GT350R, Focus ST and Fiesta ST.
    “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.”
    The Ford 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. These include state-of-the-art aerodynamics to deliver outstanding levels of downforce for improved stability with minimal drag, advanced lightweight composites featuring carbon fiber for an exceptionally rigid but light chassis, and the power and efficiency of EcoBoost technology.
    “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 Motor Company group vice president, Global 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.”
    Joining Ford in this project are Multimatic Motorsports, Roush Yates Engines, Castrol, Michelin, Forza Motorsport, Sparco, Brembo and CGRFS. The race car has undergone extensive design and testing within Ford and Multimatic, with CGRFS providing input into the development. Roush Yates is supporting development of the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 – the most powerful EcoBoost production engine ever.
    The 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 engine debuted in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship in 2014. Since then, Ford, with CGRFS, has captured significant overall wins at the 12 Hours of Sebring and Rolex 24 At Daytona. Besides great success in sports cars, Ganassi race teams achieved major victories in the Daytona 500, Brickyard 400 and Indianapolis 500.
    “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.”


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    I guess I have to ask, " what class will this compete in? " Because it likely will not be fetching an overall win as it isn't a prototype..right? Not to say in the 24hrs that a GT class hasn't won the race overall but that comes down to the prototypes failing.

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    I guess I have to ask, " what class will this compete in? " Because it likely will not be fetching an overall win as it isn't a prototype..right? Not to say in the 24hrs that a GT class hasn't won the race overall but that comes down to the prototypes failing.

     

    It will be competing in the LM GTE Class.

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    Brilliant to see Ford back at Le Mans. I heard the whispers of their return and it's great to see it comfirmed.

     

    The car looks quite good. It looks a little strange at the back but that's my opinion.

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    GM already has the C7 entered in the GTE class, according to this link from NBC Sports:

    http://motorsportstalk.nbcsports.com/2015/06/10/le-mans-2015-class-breakdown-by-car/

    GM has had cars competing for as long as I can remember.. Used to be the C5R -> C6R -> C7R, now Corvette has even had a prototype program the past few years if I'm not wrong.

     

    Dodge/SRT took their factory funding away, I think, this year. That is why it was even more impressive that they took their class at Daytona this past Feb. The D3 all took "A" victory at the Daytona 24hrs, if I'm not wrong.

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    I know this isn't happening this year but just trying to spread the word for this weekend. The more that watch..the more the teams that will get funded. Weird way to look at it, but it's true.

     

    US TV COVERAGE:
    Saturday, June 13th
    8:30am-11:45am -FS2
    7:00pm-8:00pm -FS1
    11:00pm-12:20am -FS2
    Sunday, June 14th
    3:30am-7:30am -FS1
    7:30am-9:00am -FS2
    9:00am-9:30am -FS1

     

    circuit-de-la-sarthe_168127.gif

    Edited by ccap41

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    I think the car in terms of looks, is worthy of being a poster for every child racer. The engine note; well kinda buzzy, but well within all the sounds coming from cars in this category.

     

    But the resemblance to the production and racing cars is striking, but it's not like it hasn't been done before. However, just all the lines and flying buttress. That's something we'd expect from all kinds of exotic makes; and for Ford to deliver such a striking design, it wins points in my books. It's an absolute poster child for Ford performance, pr and performance at the same time. I like this GT a lot. I don't know how much a racing car costs, atleast a few million dollars. In hindsight, this debut makes the production GT seem value priced at $400k. I'd buy it just for the looks alone and bench it, just like I'd buy the GT350 for the sound alone and bench it, and just like I'd buy the SRT Viper for what's under the hood and bench it; just like I'd buy a C7 Z06.... You get the point. 

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    ....crap, just seen that they edited his back story out.  Shame.  it really gave you a feeling of what it was like for him at age 9 when he was there at LeMans for the Hat Trick win and how he realized at that exciting moment, exactly what he wanted to do for the rest of his future.

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    Jeez that rear diffuser looks terrible.. I understand it is 100% functional and purpose built but boy-o-boy does it look gaudy.

    Edited by ccap41

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