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.