Ford would consider both the LMDh and LMH platforms should it move into top class prototype racing in the future according to Ford Performance global motorsports director Mark Rushbrook.
Rushbrook confirmed the Detroit manufacturer is continuing to look at potential GTP and/or Hypercar class programs for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and FIA World Endurance Championship, respectively, although indicated that a decision has not yet been taken.
“I will congratulate the global sports car community in what’s happening, both with GT convergence but also with prototype convergence,” Rushbrook told Sportscar365 Thursday at Daytona International Speedway.
“The fact that the ACO and WEC and FIA have been able to work with IMSA and run the cars together, that opportunity, and with LMDh or GTP formula here, I think it’s a great formula.
“I think it’s a great era for sports car racing to have that happening in the prototype class.”
When asked where Ford stands with LMDh, Rushbrook said they continue to monitor the situation.
“As with anything, we always look at what series are available around the world for us to compete in,” he said. “It’s obviously something that we’re watching.”
Rushbrook, however, said a 2024 debut would be “too early” if Ford was “literally starting right now” with the program, although he wouldn’t confirm if the manufacturer actually has a project in development.
“We have a lot going on and all good stuff,” he said in response.
He added: “Part of our responsibility is to see where is the best place for us to race in the world.
“We always have an eye on every racing series, it’s just a matter of how frequently you look at it and how close you look at it.”
Rushbrook stressed that building a LMH car is not out of the question given the global convergence between IMSA and the FIA/ACO.
“If we were serious to make a decision, or when we’re serious to make a decision, if we get to that point, we’d look at them both fairly,” he said. “I wouldn’t say at this point we’d be inclined one way or another.
“We would give them fair consideration.”
Rushbrook: Change in Philosophy Could Suit Hybrid Prototype Platform
While still monitoring all-electric series such as Formula E, Rushbrook said Ford’s decision to promote EV technology ‘in their space’ has resulted in a change of philosophy.
“We have shifted a little bit,” he said. “Back in 2018 we were saying, ‘Hey, we’re going to have so many full electric vehicles coming, we need to be racing something full electric.’
“That’s why we studied that so closely… but motorsports is a spectacle. It’s a way to capture the attention of fans and customers.
“We don’t think any of the full electric series today yet do that and give us an opportunity to tell our story in their space.
“Our strategy now is whether it’s NASCAR, Mustang GT3, or GT4 or Australian Supercars, is we can engage with a combustion engine and still tell them, through our marketing tools, an electrification story by using our drivers and personalities to drive our full electric vehicles or what we’ve done with our demonstrators.
“We can tell our electrification story in a way we can control entirely. That’s working for us.
“If there’s a good full electric series that comes along, great, we’ll look at it and we’ll consider it and maybe we’ll jump into it.
“For now, we’re happy with what we have, with combustion engine series, these full electric demonstrators. We do race hybrid in Rally1 in WRC with the Puma, and because of the format of the sport that works really well.
“In the service park, you can only move the car under full electric. So the fans that come in the service park, they see that car that goes phenomenally fast, here it is moving through the service park only in electric.
“With the performance it gives because of the extra power it comes from the electric motor, they still sound fantastic, they smell fantastic but you get extra performance. That’s working for us.
“In many ways GTP is similar in that you get extra performance out of it, you have the [EV] launches. Those make sense with hybrid.”