Ford has just announced the company’s return to Le Mans for 2016 with the all-new Ford GT. The 2016 return marks the 50th anniversary of Ford’s astounding 1-2-3 finish, sweeping the podium with the Ford GT40 at the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The new Ford GT racecar – based upon the road-going 2017 Ford GT that was revealed in Detroit this year – was unveiled in France today, where the 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans will be taking place this weekend. The unveil of the “America Freedom”, red, white and blue liveried GT, came along with the official announcement of Ford’s intention to campaign the all-new GT next year in the Le Mans GT Endurance class (LM GTE Pro) alongside the likes of the Chevrolet Corvette C7.R, Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Porsches, and other supercars based on their road-going counterparts.
Bill Ford, executive chairman, Ford Motor Company, says, “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.”
The new Ford GT won’t be pulling off any one-pony-tricks with its entry into Le Mans. Ford will be campaigning the Ford GT for the entire 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship and TUDOR United SportsCar Championship season – its racing debut will be in January at the Rolex 24 in Daytona. The two Ford teams will be operated by Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS), respectively. For both series’, the teams intend to compete with a four-car effort at Le Mans. No official word on who will be driving as of yet.
The Ford GT serves a greater purpose in the new generation of Fords. It’s the flagship for Ford’s dedication to growing the performance car market. Ford says we’ll see more than 12 new performance cars from the blue oval by 2020 and judging by the announcement of the new Focus RS and the GT350R, us performance car enthusiasts are the first to benefit from the high-tech development of the new GT as Ford says the technology will trickle down to all of its performance models. Giddyup!
Check out the fantastic video Ford have put together along with the announcement. For you emotional gear heads, prepare from some spine chills. I’m on my second watch and I’m mesmerized.