With a dramatic Le Mans 24 Hours GTE Pro class victory just two weeks ago, Ford Motor Company has announced that its factory-supported Ford GT race programme will run for a minimum of three more years in both IMSA and FIA WEC competition.
Raj Nair, Ford Executive Vice President and Chief Technical Officer, confirmed this stating that the extension is make sure that everyone knows that the company is committed to sports car racing globally with WEC and IMSA.
According to him, “The stated goal of our Ford GT programme was to win Le Mans, and we’re very proud that we were able to do that in our first year. To commit to a full, four-year assault on both the IMSA and WEC championships shows how serious we are about taking Ford GT racing around the world.
“We are in motorsport to win races and championships, but just as importantly we are using it to develop our engineering expertise and help develop advancements for production vehicles like EcoBoost engines, advanced aerodynamics and lightweight materials that consumers can use in Ford production vehicles going forward.”
“We’re excited and feel the extension of this Ford GT race programme sends an important message to the industry and to enthusiasts that we are committed to global racing at Ford,” said Dave Pericak, global director, Ford Performance.
“But we remain committed to doing racing the right way. And the Ford GT programme is a perfect example of how we are using our racing efforts to help improve the products that Ford consumers can drive every day. Developing the GT production car and the race car at the same time has been a challenging task for everyone, but it has also showed how the production vehicle side and racing side of Ford Performance can work together to benefit everyone.”
The first-year programme currently consists of two Ford GT race cars in IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship competition, and two Ford GT race cars in the FIA World Endurance Championship.
The programme scored a 1-3-4 GTE Pro class finish at Le Mans on June 19, with France’s Sébastien Bourdais, USA’s Joey Hand and Germany’s Dirk Müller driving the winning No. 68 Ford GT effort.
The IMSA programme also scored Ford GT’s first victory in May at Laguna Seca with Richard Westbrook and Ryan Briscoe taking the victory, while the WEC programme scored its first podium with a second-place finish at Spa-Francorchamps, with Marino Franchitti, Andy Priaulx and Harry Tincknell driving.
Ford GT drivers Billy Johnson, Olivier Pla and Stefan Mücke also currently lead the WEC GT Drivers’ Cup standings.
The IMSA programme resumes action this weekend with the Sahlen’s 6 Hour of the Glen at Watkins Glen, N.Y., while WEC action resumes July 24 at the 6 Hours of Nürburgring in Germany.