Ford will return to Le Mans in 2016 with the all-new Ford GT supercar (earlier post) to compete in the LM GTE Pro class, commemorating the 50th anniversary of Ford’s 1966 overall victory. Ford GT is company’s showcase for aerodynamics and lightweight carbon fiber construction, along with the new twin-turbocharged Ford EcoBoost V6.
|The new Ford GT race car for WEC and Le Mans competition unveiled today at Le Mans, France. The Ford GT race car will debut in 2016, and will be campaigned by Chip Ganassi Racing. Click to enlarge.|
The new race car is based on the all-new Ford GT supercar unveiled in January at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS). 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.
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 Ford Performance lineup includes Ford GT, Focus RS, F-150 Raptor, Shelby GT350 and Shelby GT350R, Focus ST and Fiesta ST.
(Unlike today’s hybrid drive Le Mans racers, or the new Acura NSX hybrid supercar, also revealed at NAIAS, the GT—nor any of the other Ford performance vehicles unveiled at NAIAS—makes no use of electric drive technology.)
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. 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.—Raj Nair, Ford Motor Company group vice president, Global Product Development and chief technical officer
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.