Friday, February 10, 2017
Full Squad of Ford GTs to Compete at 2017 Le Mans 24 Hours
The ACO (Automobile Club de l’Ouest) announced that the full squad of four Ford GTs will compete at the 2017 Le Mans 24 Hours, one year on from the marque’s triumphant return to the endurance race that everyone wants to win.
The Ford Chip Ganassi Racing team’s 2016 victory came 50 years after a historic 1-2-3 finish for Ford at the 1966 Le Mans 24 Hours. Ford also won the race in 1967 when Dan Gurney (US) and AJ Foyt (US) piloted the Ford GT40 to victory, giving the team another target to hit this time around.
“When we came to Le Mans last year there was a lot of pressure on the team to deliver a win to commemorate the Ford GT40 1-2-3 finish in 1966,” said Raj Nair, executive vice president of Global Product Development and chief technical officer, Ford Motor Company. “It was fantastic to win but we will not rest on our laurels. We return to Le Mans in June with another year of experience racing the Ford GT behind us, seven wins including the 2016 Le Mans 24 Hours and the 2017 Rolex 24 at Daytona, and we can’t wait to compete again at this incredible event.”
The Ford Chip Ganassi Racing team will again field a strong team of drivers to defend its 2016 LM GTE Pro class win.
New to the team for 2017 is young Brazilian, Luís Felipe “Pipo” Derani, who will join Andy Priaulx (GB) and Harry Tincknell (GB) in the #67 Ford GT for the FIA World Endurance Championship races at Silverstone, Spa and Le Mans. The 23 year-old came to Ford’s attention in 2016 when he won the Rolex 24 At Daytona and the Sebring 12 Hours on his debut, marking himself as one to watch.
The winners of the Rolex 24 At Daytona, Joey Hand (US), Dirk Müller (GER) and Sébastien Bourdais (FRA) will defend their historic 2016 Le Mans victory in the #68 Ford GT. The sublime squad proved with their two 24-hour victories that they are very hard to beat.
The #66 Ford GT will keep the regular rapid line up of Stefan Mücke (GER) and Olivier Pla (FRA) in the FIA WEC, and they will again be joined by Billy Johnson (US) for the Silverstone, Spa and Le Mans races.
In the #69 Ford GT the top squad of Ryan Briscoe (AUS), Richard Westbrook (GB) and Scott Dixon (NZ) will be looking to improve on their third place Le Mans podium finish of 2016.
“We are really looking forward to getting back to Le Mans with the Ford GT this year,” said Chip Ganassi, Ford Chip Ganassi Racing team owner. “Although we came home with the win last year, I think we also learned a great deal about that race, the Ford GT and what it takes to compete for the win. I feel like we will be even better prepared this time around. In addition, we will also once again take four cars and 12 of the best racing drivers in the world so I can’t wait to get back there and defend our title.”