Ford has confirmed that it will end its full factory involvement with the Ford GT program following the conclusion of the 2019 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and 2018/19 FIA World Endurance Championship seasons, although looks set to continue in a supporting role for customer and semi-factory teams next year.
The American manufacturer previously committed to a four-year run with the Multimatic-built GTE cars in both series, although had left the door open to extend its involvement into additional seasons.
According to Ford Performance motorsports director Mark Rushbrook, that will instead come in a customer support role.
“We’ve talked, at some level, just looking to find the best way to keep the cars on track in the future with some level of involvement from us,” Rushbrook told Sportscar365.
“The cars are meant to be on track. They’re meant to be raced and that’s our preference, in trying to optimize where and how they get raced.”
Rushbrook confirmed they’ve been in dialogue with multiple teams that could campaign the cars next year, in both the WeatherTech Championship and WEC, with Ganassi and Multimatic “absolutely’ being in the mix.
Sportscar365 understands that Ganassi’s IMSA drivers, who are all free agents at the end of this season, have been asked to not pursue other opportunities for 2020, indicating that some sort of program is likely being put into place.
Out of the six active Ford GT chassis, Rushbrook said it would be their goal to have four of them racing next year, and ideally have cars in both series.
“Some things are determined, some things are still in discussion and hopefully between now and Le Mans those plans will all be finalized and something we can start to talk about,” he said.
Rushbrook, however, has stressed that Ford will remain involved in the future programs, largely due to the complexities involved in operating the mid-engined GTE contender.
A similar level of support has been given to its first customer team, Keating Motorsports, which will run a Ford GT in the GTE-Am class in this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans.
“The knowledge of how to race the cars is certainly within Chip Ganassi Racing and Multimatic as a company, with a lot of involvement from the Ford team, in terms of vehicle dynamics, aerodynamics, the engine and engine calibration,” Rushbrook said.
“With these cars, they are of a higher pedigree that you can’t just sell them to anybody and they can just go race them.
“You can’t just push the button and go. There’s a lot of knowledge that needs to go along with it to make sure they’re raced competitively.
“That would be our interest, to make sure that across the resources available within Ford Performance and our partners in this program, that we’re able to stay involved enough to ensure the cars are competitive and successful on track.”
Rushbrook said Ford’s future in a factory capacity has not yet been determined, amid continued talks on a possible DPi effort for as soon as 2020.