Ganassi races for today and tomorrow

August 5, 2015

Ganassi races for today and tomorrow

August 5, 2015

ford_Main_aug5The TUDOR United SportsCar Championship entry list says that Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) is running a Daytona Prototype here at Road America.

That is certainly true, but there is much, much more to that line on the entry list than meets the eye.

In reality, while racing for the win here, Ganassi is already racing for 2016.

ford_small_aug5For the past 18 months, CGRFS has been developing the 3.5 liter Ford EcoBoost, V6 turbocharged engine in TUDOR  competition in preparation for Ford’s recently announced return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans with the exciting new Ford GT supercar.

Ganassi will be leading a twin-pronged Ford GT program with a pair of GTLM cars in the 2016 TUDOR  and a second pair contesting the GTE-Pro class in the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC).

Pending formal invitations, all four cars are expected to compete at the 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Based upon the stunning $400,000 supercar unveiled this past January at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the first Ford GT race car is already on the ground and testing in advance of a competition debut at the 2016 Rolex 24 At Daytona in January.

“As we developed the Ford GT, from the outset, we wanted to ensure we had a car that has what it takes to return Ford to the world of GT racing,” said Raj Nair, Ford Motor Company group vice president, Global Product Development and chief technical officer.

Demonstrating both its speed and reliability, the Ford EcoBoost engine has already carried the Ganassi team to victories at the 2014 Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring and the 2015 Rolex 24 At Daytona.

“We’ve won races and championships, but we’ve never run Le Mans,” said Ganassi.

“Now, we will have the opportunity to compete with the all-new Ford GT on the world’s biggest sports car stage, and on the 50th anniversary of one of the most storied victories in racing history; how could any race team not want to be part of that?”

“Henry Ford II sought to prove Ford could beat endurance racing’s most legendary manufacturers,” said Bill Ford, executive chairman, Ford Motor Company, referring to the company’s four victories at Le Mans, including a 1-2-3 finish in 1966.

Changing classes, cars and adding the WEC program and Le Mans won’t be the only changes for the CGR team. While the new Ford GT, Ford EcoBoost engine and CGR team will all be making their first appearances at Le Mans, the team’s newest 2016 technical partner, Michelin, is well established at Le Mans.

While recognizing the quality, depth and experience of the competition, the Ford GT program is not designed simply to earn points for participation. Bill Ford himself says, “We race to win.” And so every lap, every pit stop, every test and race mile will be a step, however small, toward a successful return to Le Mans.

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