Ford confirms GT program extended through 2019
On the heels of its win in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Ford Performance has confirmed a two-year extension to its Ford GT program through 2019.
It was initially a two-year program through 2017 but Ford has announced on Saturday that the program will continue for this extended period.
See the release from Ford below:
With a dramatic Le Mans 24 Hours GTE Pro class victory just two weeks ago, Ford Motor Company announced today that its factory-supported Ford GT race program will run for a minimum of three more years in both IMSA and FIA WEC competition.
“We wanted to make sure everyone knows that we are committed to sports car racing globally with WEC and IMSA,” said Raj Nair, Ford executive vice president and chief technical officer. “The stated goal of our Ford GT program 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 program 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 program 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 program 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 program 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 program also scored Ford GT’s first victory in May at Laguna Seca with Richard Westbrook and Ryan Briscoe taking the victory, while the WEC program 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 program 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.