Ford Performance Global Director Dave Pericak has admitted they will “always keep an eye” on IMSA’s DPi concept, as the emerging prototype platform continues to gain traction among manufacturers from around the world.
The Detroit automaker, which currently fields factory Ford GTs in both the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and FIA World Endurance Championship, is believed to be in the early evaluation stages of a DPi effort for 2020, once its GT Le Mans class program comes to an end.
Leading German publication Auto Motor und Sport has reported that Chip Ganassi has made inquiries to Ford about a DPi project, in order to continue its factory partnership past the expected conclusion of the Ford GT program in 2019.
While having previously downplayed the prospects of a move into DPi, Pericak has now revealed that it could become a reality, should they want to “leverage” the platform.
“We’ll always keep an eye on it, for if and when it makes sense,” Pericak told Sportscar365. “But right now there’s not a plan to get into it.
“Racing has to serve a purpose, more than going out on track and winning. When we race, that’s our goal, to win, but it has to be the bigger purpose of supporting what we do back in Dearborn, which is to build cars and trucks.
“Right now the DPi, for us, is not relevant, and there’s nothing we would want to leverage it for. In the future, if we want to leverage it, then we will.
“It’s interesting what’s happening there and there is some really cool stuff going on, but right now there’s nothing that we can leverage it for at the moment.”
Pericak downplayed the prospects of running a parallel DPi effort alongside its existing Ford GT operation.
“It would be a resource drain, for sure,” he said. “You can always resource stuff to do what you want, but it’s not something you can just flip a light switch on.”
While Ford contemplates its long-term future in sports car racing, at least two other manufacturers or entities are evaluating or gearing up for DPi efforts.
Honda is expected to announce its participation with Team Penske and LMP2 constructor ORECA later this summer, while Joest Racing has reportedly already wind tunnel tested a potential Audi-engined DPi car that could come online next year as well.
It’s unclear whether the proposed Joest project would receive full Audi backing or be similar to Tequila Patron ESM’s deal with Nissan, which has seen a customer supply of engines with constructor-designed bodywork.
Leading members of the former Audi LMP1 squad, including managing director Ralf Juttner, attended the Rolex 24 at Daytona and Twelve Hours of Sebring, with Head of Audi Motorsport Dieter Gass revealing to Sportscar365 in April that a DPi program has been under evaluation.
Should both programs come to fruition they would join the existing efforts from Cadillac, Mazda and Nissan.