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Ford Confirms Four-Car Rolex 24 Entry

Ford confirms four-car entry for Rolex 24…

Photo: Drew Gibson/Ford

Photo: Drew Gibson/Ford

As first revealed by Sportscar365, Ford confirmed Wednesday that it will field a four-car Ford GT entry in next month’s Rolex 24 at Daytona.

Both FIA World Endurance Championship and IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship teams will unite for the effort, run by Ford Chip Ganassi Racing, marking its first four-car effort since the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Driver lineups have yet to be announced but is expected to include all full-season drivers from both championships, as well as Ganassi’s IndyCar and NASCAR star drivers.

“I’m excited we have another opportunity to assemble the full lineup for Daytona,” team owner Chip Ganassi said.

“The opportunity to compete with all four cars at the same time, in a race as prestigious as Daytona, is very special.”

The Multimatic-built Ford GT made its competition debut in this year’s Rolex 24 and since went on to claim three WeatherTech Championship class victories, all with the No. 67 car of Richard Westbrook and Ryan Briscoe, as well as at Le Mana with Joey Hand, Dirk Mueller and Sebastien Bourdais.

Its UK-based, Multimatic-run branch has also tasted success in the car’s first year, with class wins in the two recent WEC rounds at Fuji and Shanghai, both with Andy Priaulx and Harry Tincknell.

Westbrook, Briscoe, Mueller and Hand have all been confirmed as returning to the IMSA squad, with the majority of the WEC drivers also understood to have been under multi-year contracts.

“We didn’t have the strongest race at the Rolex 24 last year but we have a season of learning experiences behind us with this program now and we’re proud that when we come back to Daytona in 2017, we’ll come with all four Ford GTs,” said Ford Performance global director Dave Pericak.

Ford’s increased effort for Daytona comes as a significant boost to the GTLM class, which will again see factory or works-backed efforts from BMW, Porsche, Ferrari and defending champions Corvette Racing.

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

32 Comments

32 Comments

  1. Tonie

    December 14, 2016 at 9:11 am

    That has been coming for quite a while, but it is still sad to hear that they have actually pulled the trigger on this…

    • Juandefoldgit

      December 14, 2016 at 9:52 am

      Whats sad about them bringing the WEC teams along. We got to see 4 at Le Mans I see nothing wrong the Vettes beating all four at Rolex.

      • Tonie

        December 14, 2016 at 10:17 am

        I didn’t like it at Le Mans either. It feels like they are trying to buy a good result.

        • slow

          December 14, 2016 at 10:23 am

          Clearly biased poster is biased….. I’m sure you don’t see the LMP1 teams showing up with 3 cars as “buying” a win either. I remember a time when porsche and bmw showed up with half a dozen factory backed cars to the big races and people didn’t cry fowl. I guess when big bad Ford does it, it’s different though.

          • Bakkster

            December 14, 2016 at 10:37 am

            Exactly, factories bringing multiple entries to the big events is awesome.

            The only reason Le Mans was not awesome last year were the backroom shenanigans: BoP and meatball flags.

          • Barrie

            December 14, 2016 at 11:06 am

            When and where ?

          • Tonie

            December 14, 2016 at 12:00 pm

            Of course I am biased, as is everyone I think. The three LMP1 cars at Le Mans came to mind, but I am less bothered about that. I think the Le Mans entries are more in balance. Audi and Porsche both agreed to not field a third car, that to me shows some mutual respect (although they didn’t have much choice).

            To me, endurance racing is a mechanical sport with lots of hard work. Just bringing four cars sounds like it is a lottery and you have the most tickets. And I don’t care that it is Ford in this case, nor do I think that Ford is bad.

          • Bakkster

            December 14, 2016 at 1:58 pm

            Just at Daytona:

            In 1967 Ford brought 6 works GT40s (and lost to Ferrari anyway).

            In ’68 Porsche brought 4 works cars and Alfa had 7 in two classes.

            In ’69 Porsche brought 5 works cars.

          • jettrd

            December 18, 2016 at 8:51 am

            Bakkster, re the ’69 24 Hours of Daytona, it was the first race I ever attended (thank you, Dad!), and I think at least 4, if not all 5 works Porsche 908LH’s retired with same timing gear breaking.
            I have photos we took of all of them loaded up on the trailer before the race was over.
            Beautiful cars they were, though
            Penske and Donahue came through with a Lola T-70 Mk IIIB

        • SCF36

          December 14, 2016 at 11:53 am

          It doesn’t matter how many entries you have. You still have to show up and execute when the green flag drops. You can spend 10 trillion dollars and never win, or show up with one car and surprise everyone.

          Sure, you have a better shot at success with more entries, but everyone is there for NO other reason than to win. If you can increase your chances doing so, why wouldn’t you?

          Besides, Aston Martin has had 3 GTE Pro cars before and no one complained about that…

          • slow

            December 14, 2016 at 11:56 am

            Porsche brought 3 GTLM cars to Petite in 2014. Lets not even get into the GT3 races and all times manufactures have entered 3-4 cars.

        • Tim

          December 14, 2016 at 12:08 pm

          To Barrie.

          It was clear that Ford sandbagged heavily for a favorable BoP. (Everyone does. They did it better) and also they were trying to bully Risi into a penalty so they could sweep the podium. Risi did not listen to these aledged penalties and finished the race..

          You must not have been around or watched lemans. Thats all you heard about for weeks after.

        • Andy Flinn

          December 14, 2016 at 4:07 pm

          Tonie, if what you say is true, Porsche absolutely OWNS endurance racing.

          When it comes to endurance racing over the years, NOBODY has fielded more cars than PORSCHE.

          If you don’t believe me just check the Daytona, Sebring and Le Mans record books. (Or save yourself some time and just attend any vintage sports car race.)

          • Tonie

            December 14, 2016 at 4:53 pm

            Very true, but those days are history I think. (And I don’t mind to read about it;))

            The only reason why I don’t like it, is because they try to buy an advantage over their competitors and I don’t think that that is a good trend. When the mid engined 911 RSR was presented, there were many complaints about the rules which allowed prototypes as GT racers, requiring big budgets. If fielding four cars becomes the norm, what choice do others have? Suppose another manufacturer would also bring four cars, the others have to step up as well, or might step away. Of course I have a favorite brand I will support, but I do like proper competition above all else.

      • Barrie

        December 14, 2016 at 11:13 am

        Well said

      • Ant

        December 14, 2016 at 3:38 pm

        i will be happy to see the vette’s crash and watch the GT win.:)

    • Bakkster

      December 14, 2016 at 10:00 am

      It’s exciting, because it means Daytona’s a prestigious race worth bringing increased factory efforts for.

  2. Tim

    December 14, 2016 at 9:18 am

    4 is a little over kill expecially if Ferrari doesnt respond with at least 1 more 488 GTE.

    Atleast it is a WEC team coming over.

    • JB

      December 14, 2016 at 10:06 am

      Ford want revenge for Ferrari’s 1967 Daytona whitewash.

      Ferrari must respond!

      • Tim

        December 14, 2016 at 10:36 am

        I really hope so. Risi 2 cars and 2 cars from AF Corse or SMP would be amazing. I Really wish Risi would get 2 cars for the full season again.

    • Andy Flinn

      December 14, 2016 at 4:10 pm

      Tim, it wasn’t overkill in the ’60s at Le Mans yet it’s overkill at Daytona now?

      How come?

  3. P

    December 14, 2016 at 10:01 am

    Numbers:
    Ford GT UK: 01, 02 (Numbers from the Riley-Ford DPs)
    Ford GT USA: 66, 67

    Hope there are retro liveries this time.

  4. David Chaste

    December 14, 2016 at 10:21 am

    They won Lemans, why not win the biggest sportscar race in your own country. It’s not about Ferrari, Porsche or Corvette. They just want to win all these 24hrs races for all 4 years if they can. That will create a big story similar to their 1960’s feat, when they won lemans for 4 years in a row.

    • AEUlmann

      December 14, 2016 at 10:45 am

      Exactly. Bring them to the biggest race with the most historical significance – SEBRING!

      Then they can really prove something.

  5. av

    December 14, 2016 at 10:27 am

    I think it is great that Ford is bringing their modern times armada to Daytona. I think it is sad that Ferrari wont even pay for an extra car for MR. Risi. Especially after all the special victories that Risi Ferrari has brought to the marque.

  6. woody2.0

    December 14, 2016 at 11:11 am

    Great. Another reason for Ferrari to not even both showing up

  7. WBrowning

    December 14, 2016 at 11:18 am

    What would you have them do, wait around to race until Silverstone in April? I hope they all make it to Sebring too. Why not, the cars aren’t needed in Europe until March at the earliest, let them all run!

    I think the more cars equals more competition. I wish the Aston Martins could come, and a gaggle from Porsche, as many Ferraris as possible and how about that GTE AM Corvette. I also can’t wait till the other manufacturers start coming in too.

    It would be cool to get more FIA/WEC cars running the Patron Cup races, or maybe work out something with FIA to have some sort of dual sanction for Daytona and Sebring, I know it will never happen, too many egos and such.

    • slow

      December 14, 2016 at 11:27 am

      They would much rather manufactures not show any interest in winning races at all, and all just pull out of the series it seems like. Or only manufactures from their “approved” list can enter more than 2 cars at a race. Because it would be a tragedy if their favorite brand didn’t show as much interest in winning a race and lost because of it. Bunch of crybabies around here.

      • NaBUru38

        December 14, 2016 at 12:01 pm

        I think that Petit Le Mans should be split into two 6-hour races, one for protos and one for GT. The latter should be points scoring for the World Endurance Championship.

  8. Tom

    December 14, 2016 at 12:59 pm

    I think it’s awesome, more competition makes for better racing. Also, the rules and the track limit the overall impact of BoP compared to LeMans. Yellow flags are typically in abundance, allowing cars to gain most of a lap back and traffic often removes a strong competitor or two. Oh yeah, there’s that.. “we’ll park it if your pace is not representative of your testing”.

    Kudo’s to IMSA for investigating and “post-race parking” the GTD rocketship last year.

  9. JamieR

    December 15, 2016 at 6:32 am

    I think the reason Ford get (partly unjustified) negative press, is they turn up for several years, outspend everyone and then will vanish after 2019, whilst people like Porsche, the Vettes and Risi have been about decades, and will continue to do so.

    For some, it rightly or wrongly goes against the ethos of sportscar racing.

  10. JC

    December 15, 2016 at 5:34 pm

    Lucky for Ford that Daytona Beach is so large and so close by!

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