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Ford WEC Program Confirmed Through 2018/19 ‘Super Season’ Only

Ford WEC program confirmed through ‘Super Season’ only due to calendar shift…

Photo: Drew Gibson/Ford

Ford’s factory GTE-Pro effort in the FIA World Endurance Championship is confirmed only through the 2018/19 FIA World Endurance Championship ‘Super Season’ as a result of the championship’s shift to a winter calendar, according to newly named motorsports boss Mark Rushbrook.

The American manufacturer had committed to a two-year extension of its program shortly after claiming class victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2016, back when the WEC schedule was set to remain contested over a calendar year.

However, its transition to a winter calendar has resulted in Ford’s WEC commitment for the next season, instead of two additional full years as initially planned.

Rushbrook, who will take the helm as Ford Performance Motorsports Global Director on Dec. 1, told Sportscar365: “We’ve said for the last year-in-a-half that we’re committed through 2019.

“So for IMSA, [it’s] 2018 and 2019. On the WEC side, at this point we can say we’re committed through the ‘Super Season’ 2018/19.”

A timeline on when Ford could make a decision to extend its factory GT effort has not been established.

It’s been heavily rumored 2019 will mark the end of the Ford GT program, but could depend on whether it makes the move to LMP1/DPi competition in 2020, which remains a possibility, according to Head of Ford North America Raj Nair.

“We’ve got a lot of time before we need to make any decisions on that,” Rushbrook said in regards to extending the Ford GT program.

Shift in GTE Homologations Likely

The WEC’s shift to a winter calendar will also likely affect the rollout of new and updated GTE cars, which will no longer make its debut in the Rolex 24 at Daytona, but rather at the start of each WEC season mid-year.

It’s understood an agreement has been made in principle to postpone the homologation period for roughly six months, beginning with the 2019/20 season.

“A new car would come for the first WEC race because it’s FIA-homologated,” said Dr. Frank-Steffen Walliser, Head of Porsche Motorsport. “The IMSA car will be introduced after the WEC [season] starts.

“The IMSA car should then come six months later, but one year later than the original schedule.

“Then for the first time you’d have properly homologated cars in Daytona. It takes until March or April for the FIA homologation because FIA thinks of the first race of WEC.

“I think this is a better solution, to postpone it by six months.”

While not yet approved by the FIA, it’s believed such a move would delay the introduction of new GTE programs, such as the much-rumored Lamborghini project, effectively by an entire year.

The new three-year cycle for GTE regulations, meanwhile, would begin with the 2019/20 WEC season instead of 2019 at Daytona.

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

22 Comments

22 Comments

  1. jason

    November 8, 2017 at 9:00 am

    Calling BS on this whole winter calendar format. Just seems weird. Only a weird series like F.E operates this way. As far as I am concerned the WEC will be a single 2018 season with 5 races. I know they won’t treat it like that but I will.

    • Dan

      November 8, 2017 at 9:22 am

      I really don’t think they care jason.

      • Helmut

        November 8, 2017 at 10:15 am

        The funny thing is that no one cares about the WEC championship and titles. The series doesn’t become more attractive by starting in autumn or winter or whenever. It’s still just build around LM, so it’s about winning in LM and the rest is testing.

        • Bakkster

          November 8, 2017 at 11:26 am

          Which is why the winter calendar makes sense. It helps prevent teams signing up for a ‘full season’ but only racing Le Mans and the two races before it to get their automatic entry.

  2. Wow

    November 8, 2017 at 9:21 am

    This Super Season nonsense sure is mucking things up. Typical FIA bull.

    • Helmut

      November 8, 2017 at 10:16 am

      The FIA doesn’t care about WEC, it’s all invented by the ACO and the FIA just signs their stuff and adds its logo.

  3. David Chaste

    November 8, 2017 at 11:02 am

    Audi, Porsche and Toyota’s (even nissan) money was what allowed the wec to travel and race at those empty f1 tracks without having to fill even half the seats.

    Since even toyota were thought to be leaving they have basically turned into the old Lemans series. A glorified version of the european lemans series wihout the star power.

    The super season is to help cut costs.

    Ford is mad that they haven’t locked out the podium at Daytona, lemans, or sebring yet, and will not be winning lemans in 4 consecutive years. They had planned to spend whatever it took, but BOP is leaving them holding the bag like Cadillac in DPi.

    • Andy Flinn

      November 8, 2017 at 4:27 pm

      David, Cadillac won the DPi NAEC and overall championships this year.

      How are they left holding the bag?

      • David Chaste

        November 8, 2017 at 7:00 pm

        They could have blanketed the whole season, and deserved to. They did their homework and put in the money, time and effort.

        • youhavenoclue

          November 9, 2017 at 8:21 am

          Oh horsepuckey. They were so dominant early on BECAUSE of BOP.

          You really need to check your history of 2017. The Caddies sandbagged at the Roar and in testing and were suddenly faster at the Rolex.

          Despite their “warnings” about sandbagging during the testing and the Roar, NASCAR did nothing about their obvious sandbagging.

          David, they had the Nissan choked down by reducing boost. During practice at Sebring, one of the Nissans dusted everyone. NASCAR saw that they were running more boost than allowed and made them cut back on it.

          If they had let Nissan run as much boost as they wanted, the Caddies would not have been so dominant.

          It wasn’t the Caddies that were held back by BOP. You don’t know what you are talking about but GM fans generally don’t.

          • RobertB

            November 9, 2017 at 10:14 am

            Give the NASCAR BS a rest already, would ya? It’s stupid.

    • juneracer

      November 9, 2017 at 7:16 am

      Ford aren’t racers. they’re not in it for the long term, that was obvious at the start. they had there PR written and they’re trying to follow the script. now that they don’t have a BoP advantage they don’t want to play anymore. Ford in GT is just a flash in the pan…

      • youhavenoclue

        November 9, 2017 at 8:22 am

        Oh yeah, Ford aren’t racers. What a joke.

        How many times has your precious GM won OVERALL at LeMans?

        • juneracer

          November 9, 2017 at 8:41 am

          you’re funny, “havenoclue” indeed. without a distinct BoP advantage Ford is out of GT and that period is over for them… not exactly a proponent of GM but they are racers … in two years they will still be racing, Ford will be long gone …

      • Sol Shine

        November 9, 2017 at 11:23 am

        Ford with a BOP advantage? What a joke that is. Here’s the reality. They spent hundreds of millions of dollars developing a state of the art car, matched only by Ferrari’s similar car. Then they get to sit and watch while they get BOP’d into the dust. Meanwhile Corvette with their 1950’s technology gets a hand up by their best buddies at Nascar, er, IMSA, and BMW gets the gift of BOP to make their lardy limousine into a winner, and Porsche is allowed to make their rear engine 911 into a mid engined prototype. And you seriously think Ford had an advantage? That’s hilarious. Thanks to this kind of dimwit thinking that punishes innovation Ford likely will leave after another year and motorsport will be the poorer for it. Rarely do we see a carmaker dump that kind of money into a new project and instead of applauding it we get to see the sanctioning bodies dumping on it. Stupid thinking.

  4. Matt

    November 8, 2017 at 3:03 pm

    IMSA should just continue to BoP the new GTE cars themselves, like they have in the past and allow them to run regardless of this “official FIA homologation crap”. I don’t understand why everybody leaves it to the ACO to make all these decisions for them when the ACO constantly screws things up (such an the new P1 regs, going back on their word of allowing DPi cars to run at Le Mans with spec bodywork, limiting the number of P2 manufacturers, the new prototype regulations so that cars have less mechanical grip with narrow bodies for no reason, etc.). IMSA should also allow any other manufacturers to build P2 cars based on the rules, if they so chose. Why limit yourself to what the ACO does?

    • David Chaste

      November 8, 2017 at 3:16 pm

      Imsa does BOP the GTE cars themselves. Any cars running in IMSA are BOPed by IMSA. They do not rely on the aco for that at all.

      • Matt

        November 8, 2017 at 6:34 pm

        I know, I meant they should do the initial baseline testing if the manufacturer wants to enter it into an IMSA race and the ACO hasn’t had a chance to do it yet it.

        • Cosmo DeLuca

          November 8, 2017 at 8:03 pm

          Like the BMWs that have not been built to ACO eligibility for a few years now?

          • Tim

            November 8, 2017 at 9:12 pm

            I hope Lamborghini goes that route. Whats stoping them from entering IMSA with the GTE car and then having it and homologated later? I would be very surprised if the Lamborghini GTE wasnt a regular IMSA entry anyways.

  5. David Chaste

    November 8, 2017 at 3:22 pm

    Comme to think of it the upcoming super season encompasses lemans 2018 and lemans 2019 which was ford’s goal in the beginning. So it’s quite logical that tbey pull out at the end of the WEC’s upcoming season.

  6. el_gordo

    November 8, 2017 at 4:14 pm

    FIA never miss a chance to crap on IMSA

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