Race Version Of The Ford GT Will Debut At Le Mans
The highly anticipated race-spec version of the new Ford GT will make its global debut at the 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans. That’s the word from Motorsport, which adds that the race car has already made its first outing on the track earlier this month. The GT was reportedly driven by Scott Maxwell at the Calabogie Motorsports Park in Ontario on May 16th and 20th.
There’s no word as to what development stage the car has reached, but it is believed that the same example will be on display at Circuit de la Sarthe next month, when Ford will also make an official announcement for its 2016 racing program. The same source revealed that the race-spec Ford GT will be powered by a Roush Yates EcoBoost, 3.5-litre V6 similar to that used in the Riley & Scott Daytona Prototype car. The mill will mate to a Ricardo gearbox.
The car is likely to make its racing debut at the Daytona 24 Hours in January 2016, but a Petit Le Mans appearance in early October is also possible.
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Designed and honed by former Lola engineers
The race-ready GT has been designed in England by Multimatic and a team led by former Lola LMP designer Julian Sole and consisting of several other former Lola engineers. The British-based racing program is coordinated by former Aston Martin Racing team principal George Howard-Chappell. For the uninitiated, the original Ford GT40 was created through a similar collaboration. In 1963, when Henry Ford II commission his engineers to come up with a race car that would beat Ferrari, FoMoCo hired Lola chief designer Eric Broadley and former Aston Martin team manager John Wyer to lead the newly founded Ford Advanced Vehicles Ltd, which was also headquartered in England.
Why it matters
Arguably one of the biggest nameplate comebacks of the decade, the GT is about to bring America the race car it has been expecting for nearly five decades. Sure, unlike the GT40, the GT won’t tackle the top prototype tier at Le Mans, but Ford’s return to racing with a factory team is as important as it gets, no matter the class it will try to conquer. Even though the road-going car is far from ready, the racer is less than a month away from making its first public appearance, and that’s something all motorsport enthusiasts are excited about. The legend is back and the fact that the team behind the new GT also consists of former Lola and Aston Martin chaps is simply fantastic.
Find our more about the race-spec Ford GT in our speculative review here.