Ford to race four GTs at the 24 Hours of Le Mans

Michael Martinez
The Detroit News

Ford Motor Co. will enter all four of its racing GTs at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the automaker said Friday.

It was likely — but not certain — that Ford would be allowed to race all four cars in the June race. The Le Mans organizing body, called the Automobile Club de l’Ouest, made the final decision at a press conference Friday in Paris.

“It was great to see all four Ford GTs up there on the Le Mans entry list today,” Dave Pericak, Ford Performance global director said in a statement. “Newcomers are by no means guaranteed an entry, whatever their history or ambitions, so we thank the ACO for giving Ford the opportunity for a four car assault in June.”

Ford is returning to Le Mans this year to mark the 50th anniversary of its historic 1-2-3 podium sweep over rivals Ferrari and Porsche in 1966. Two of the automaker’s GTs returned to the racetrack last week at the Rolex 24 in Daytona, where they disappointed with a seventh- and ninth-place finish out of 11 cars in their class after suffering a number of braking and transmission issues.

All four cars will be piloted by drivers from the Chip Ganassi Racing Team. The exact driving teams will be announced at a later date.

“I’m very happy that we can run all four Ford GTs at Le Mans,” said Chip Ganassi, owner of Ford Chip Ganassi Racing. “It will be a big challenge for us but one we are thrilled to undertake. We have prepared well and can't wait to get the Ford GTs onto the track there and show everyone what they can do.”

Ford’s two GTs that compete in the FIA World Endurance Championship — a nine-race series that starts with the 6 Hours of Silverstone in England this April — will wear Nos. 66 and 67. Ford’s two GTs that competed last week at the Rolex 24 as part of the 11-race IMSA WeatherTechSportsCar Championship will switch numbers, from 66 and 67 to 68 and 69, respectively.

Between the four GTs, Ford expects to log nearly 30,000 miles of racing in 2016.

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