2016 will be the 50th anniversary of the MKII Ford GT40 placing 1-2-3 at the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans, and don’t think that fact has been lost on Ford. The automaker plans to mark the occasion in a huge way: by returning to Le Mans with the all-new Ford GT race car.
The new Ford GT racer, based on the road-going production version of the supercar, will compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans next year in addition to every leg of the FIA World Endurance Championship and the TUDOR United Sportscar Championship. Chip Ganassi Racing, who currently fields the Ford EcoBoost Riley Daytona Prototype in the TUDOR series, will run both the WEC and TUDOR teams.
As for the car itself, it will be powered by the same 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V6 that to be found in the road car and that brought the EcoBoost Riley to victory in the 24 Hours of Daytona earlier this year. Ford says the car is their “showcase for aerodynamics and lightweight carbon fiber construction,” and plans to use the racing program as an “incubator” for product innovation.
“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 Ford group vice president Raj Nair. “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 has partnered with Chip Ganassi Racing, Multimatic Motorsports, Roush Yates Engines, Castrol, Michelin, Forza Motorsport, Sparco and Brembo on the new racing program. The automaker says Multimatic handled much of the design and testing of the car, with Roush Yates supporting development of the engine.
The 2016 Ford GT racecar will make its competition debut at the 24 Hours of Daytona in January before heading to Le Mans with a four-car effort in the GTE Pro class. It will be the GT nameplate’s first time back at Le Mans since Matech fielded three Ford GT1 racecars in the race in 2010.