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Ford Not Ruling Out GTE-Am Customer Program

Door still open for customer Ford GT program at Le Mans, according to Ford motorsport boss…

Photo: Ford

Ford has not ruled out a customer Ford GT program in the future, which could serve as a “bridge” to its potential entry into prototype competition, according to motorsports boss Mark Rushbrook.

The Detroit manufacturer, which is currently committed to the FIA World Endurance Championship and IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship through next year, has continued to evaluate LMP1 and DPi options, amid discussions of a common global prototype platform by as early as 2021.

Rushbrook, the newly appointed Ford Performance Global Motorsports Director, has revealed they could look to extending its existing factory Ford Chip Ganassi Racing operation, or potentially opening the program up to customer entries. 

“We’ve got six GT race cars… There’s a future for those cars well beyond 2019,” Rushbrook said.

“If it makes sense to bridge into something, either as a factory program or a customer program, then yeah [we would do it].”

Rushbrook confirmed they had considered supporting a GTE-Am effort in this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, although ultimately elected to focus its program on the four-car GTE-Pro factory squad only.

Sportscar365 understands that Ford had been in advanced discussions with at least one U.S.-based gentleman driver for a one-off outing, which would have been run by Chip Ganassi Racing as a customer program.

“It would have been relatively straight forward to run some cars in GTE-Am,” Rushbrook said. “A lot of people came to us and said, ‘Hey just give us a car and we can race it.’

“Obviously, with the WEC team and IMSA team coming together, all of our global resources are consumed with those four cars.

“To run a fifth car or sixth car it would have been too much and would have taken our focus off the pro effort. So we chose not to.”

However, it’s believed discussions have continued with prospective customers for a potential GTE-Am effort at Le Mans for next year, which could be run under the Ganassi stable. 

It’s unclear if Ford will release cars to full customer operations while its factory GT program is still ongoing.

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

10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Sorc

    March 20, 2018 at 9:26 am

    Ah damn, A GT in Am would have been cool to see.

  2. Jaymo

    March 20, 2018 at 10:44 am

    Wish Multimatic would do a full season effort with Johnson and Francis Jr at the helm, Maxwell for the endurance rounds

    • WBrowning

      March 21, 2018 at 3:02 am

      I’m assuming that when the GTE-PRO homoligation for the GT ends, because they are too old that will open up the chances for a GTE-AM teams. I’m not sure, but does the IMSA GTLM homoligation for the GT expire too? Either way I’d love to see the group above drive the GT for sure.

  3. Passenger

    March 20, 2018 at 5:56 pm

    This is what happen that ACO ignoring GT class and just focusing P2 class. GT-AM is dying class, ACO needs to fix correctly.

    • thomas

      March 21, 2018 at 1:22 am

      what planet do you live on? Checked out the WEC Super Season entry list?

      • Passenger

        March 21, 2018 at 4:23 am

        Okay, I from Mars. I didn’t read clearly.

  4. Larry

    March 20, 2018 at 7:50 pm

    GTE-AM will have 9 full season cars and 13 for LeMans.

    6 new Porsches in AM.

    Yeah, it’s dying.

  5. MikeT66

    March 21, 2018 at 3:39 am

    That would be good news for the series and cars – I’d love to see one of these running in Gulf Oil colours!

  6. Jim T592

    March 21, 2018 at 6:39 pm

    I would love to see Flying lizard back in GTLM. One of these in Lizard Livery would be awesome!

  7. E. Raab

    March 22, 2018 at 1:48 am

    The FORD GT like any race car has a shelf-life where technologically, it will become obsolete. To claim
    it has a life well beyond 2019 may be a stretch of
    public relations at best.

    Historically, only Porsche has proven capability of
    producing actual turn-key race cars for customers.

    Ervin Raab

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