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24H Le Mans

Factory Ford GTE Program Set for 2016 Debut

Ford to compete in 24H Le Mans with new factory GTE effort…

Photo: Matech Concepts

Photo: Matech Concepts

As first revealed by Sportscar365 in July, Ford will return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans with an all-new GT car in 2016, as part of a factory program that will also include a two-car GT Le Mans class effort in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.

While Ford has yet to make a formal announcement, Autoweek has confirmed further details on the program, including the scheduled unveil of the yet-to-be-named production car for January’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

Multiple industry sources have also confirmed that Chip Ganassi Racing has been tabbed to operate the program, with Scott Pruett and newly signed driver Joey Hand likely to lead the Blue Oval’s lineup. Sportscar365 understands up to two additional American drivers have also already been signed for the program.

The car, said to be developed and built by longtime partner Multimatic, is understood to utilize an EcoBoost V6 engine. It would mark a departure from Ford’s signature normally aspirated V8 engines used in previous generations of the mid-engined sports car.

The planned 2016 effort will mark Ford’s return to factory competition at Le Mans on the 50th anniversary of its first overall win in the twice-around-the-clock French endurance classic.

Ford will be represented in the TUDOR Championship next year with a solo Riley DP entry from Ganassi, which is expected to conclude at the end of 2015 in order for resources to be focused on the new GTE project.

No word has been given on when Ford will officially announce the program, although it could come as early as next month in Detroit.

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

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