Cars, motoring, new models

50 years on – will a Ford GT show the way home at Le Mans?

COLOGNE, Germany – Ford’s all-new GT race car, revealed at Le Mans in June 2015, will have its European racing debut at the Silverstone Circuit in April 2016.

Two cars will be on the grid for the opening round of the 2016 International Automobile Federation’s World Endurance championship to run in the GT-Endurance Pro Class for the Royal Automobile Club Tourist Trophy.

It will be the first of nine WEC rounds announced in 2016.

‘A COMPELLING RACE CAR’

Later in 2016 Ford will return to the Le Sarthe circuit in France where, 50 years earlier, a Ford GT40 won the first of four consecutive Le Mans titles. Carman’s Corner wishes the Blue Oval well, while wondering if Porsche and the other supercar brands are trembling on their tyres.

ford-gt-race-car 660

Raj Nair, Ford’s group vice-president for global product development and the brand’s chief technical officer, told the Corner through a media release:

“We believe the Ford GT’s advances in aerodynamics, lightness and EcoBoost power will create a compelling race car that can once again compete on a global stage. The same spirit that drove the innovation behind the first Ford GT still drives us as a company

“Let the racing begin!”

The car is based on the all-new Ford GT supercar that was unveiled in January 2015 and has the same Ford 3.5‑litre EcoBoost engine. The shell is made of light composites, including carbon fibre, and will be exceptionally rigid.

CHECK THE RACE LIST

The race and production cars will arrive in 2016 to mark the 50th anniversary of Ford GT40 race cars placing 1-2-3 at the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans. Ford went on to repeat its victory at Le Mans in 1967, 1968 and 1969.

The race drivers will be named later.

For those of you into such racing, here’s the 2016 FIA World Endurance championship provisional calendar.

  • Mar 25/6:   The Prologue, Circuit Paul Ricard, France
  • Apr 17:        6 Hours of Silverstone, Great Britain
  • May 7:         WEC 6 Hours of Spa, Belgium
  • Jun 5:          24 Hours of Le Mans Test Day
  • Jun 18/19: 24 Hours of Le Mans, France
  • Jul 24:         6 Hours of Nürburgring, Germany
  • Sep 4:          6 Hours of Mexico City, Mexico (TBC)
  • Sep 17:        6 Hours of Circuit of the Americas (Lone Star Le Mans), U.S.
  • Oct 16:        6 Hours of Fuji, Japan
  • Nov 6:          6 Hours of Shanghai, China
  • Nov 19:        6 Hours of Bahrain, Bahrain

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