Ontario-built Ford GT supercar will form the basis of Ford’s full out effort at capturing the checkered flag at the 24 Hours of Le Mans once more in 2016, exactly 50 years after three Ford GT40s swept the podium in 1966.
Ford has teamed up with Chip Ganassi Racing and Felix Sabates to field a four-car effort in the production car-based GT Endurance Pro class, backed up by a full year factory program of competition in both the FIA World Endurance Championship and the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. The race car will debut in January at the Rolex 24 Hours race in Daytona, Florida, though the road car Ford GT isn’t scheduled to be produced until late 2016, according to Ford.
The dominant GT40 originally debuted after a chuffed Henry Ford II unsuccessfully tried to buy Ferrari, who had won all five 24 Heures du Le Mans races up to that point in the 1960s. Ford then came back and won the next four Le Mans titles, right up to 1969, the GT40 winning at the hands of legendary racers such as Dan Gurney, Bruce McLaren and A.J. Foyt.
In other Ford racing news, Canadian Scott Maxwell managed to place the Mustang 350R-C on pole for its race debut at Watkins Glen in the Continental Tire SportsCar series, though a Camaro actually won the race, and then Maxwell won with it at Lime Rock Park after a major crash at Multimatic’s home race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. Street versions of the car, the Mustang Shelby 350 and 350R, go on sale in Canada in late 2015.