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The Ford GT is off to Le Mans. Here's who's driving it
Brit Andy Priaulx among drivers on 50th anniversary of GT40’s first Le Mans win
Six months after announcing a return to endurance racing, Ford has finally revealed who will be driving its new GT racer this year.
Ford returns to the World Endurance Championship, and its headline race at Le Mans, half a century after the GT40’s famous 1966 victory, its first of four straight wins. The new GT’s LM GTE Pro class entry means overall victory won’t be the target this time, though.
Andy Priaulx – who has victory in the Nürburgring 24 Hours among his career achievements – features in the four-strong team driving the latest GT, five years on from his podium finish with BMW in the equivalent category in the 2011 Le Mans 24 Hours.
“For me to be driving for Ford in the WEC is just on another level,” declared the 41-year-old. “I can’t wait to get behind the wheel of the car and start the preparations for the season.
“Any motorsport fan will remember the iconic Ford GT40 cars of the past, and for me to be part of this programme 50 years after Ford’s historic win at Le Mans is such a privilege.”
The British racing veteran will be joined by fellow countryman Marino Franchitti in Chip Ganassi’s new team, as well as former Aston Martin driver Stefan Mucke and Frenchman Olivier Pla.
Ford Chip Ganassi Racing will enter two cars apiece into the WEC and America’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, with all of them coming together for a four-car assault on the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June.
Richard Westbrook, Dirk Müller, Joey Hand and Ryan Briscoe have been given race seats in the US series in November.
“Make no mistake, we are racing to win,” said Dave Pericak, Ford’s Performance global director. “To compete at this level you need the best car, the best team and the best drivers, and we have selected Stefan, Olivier, Andy and Marino to drive the Ford GT to take on the best in the world.”
The American carmaker will be up against Ferraris, Aston Martins, Corvettes and Porsches in the GTE bracket in June.
The new GT contains a twin-turbo V6 Ecoboost engine, and with upwards of 600bhp, it’s the most powerful unit to wear a badge you’ll also find on 1-litre Fiestas.
The engine scored significant wins at the 24 Hours of Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring following its debut in 2014, although team owner Ganassi accepted that Le Mans would be “a challenge” when Ford’s comeback was confirmed six months ago.
“We’ve again chosen drivers with heart, speed and proven endurance racing credentials,” said the 57-year-old. “I can’t wait for the racing to begin.”
The new season of the World Endurance Championship gets underway at Silverstone in April.