Ford Performance Global Director Dave Pericak says customer Ford GTs are “a possibility” for next year, as the Detroit manufacturer enters the second half of its current four-year factory commitment to the GTE ranks.
The Multimatic-built cars, which made its competition debut last year, have so far been run exclusively by the Ford Chip Ganassi Racing outfit, in both the FIA World Endurance Championship and IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
But that could change beginning in 2018, according to the Ford Performance boss, who has opened the door for the potential of customer teams.
“I’ve always said that the first two years will be customer program-free, and this is a factory effort. We could consider opening it up for sure. [Next year] is a possibility,” he told Sportscar365.
Pericak said should they decide to green-light a customer program, only a “limited” number of Ford GTs would be made available, with pricing and technical support details needing to be worked out.
It’s understood a number of teams have already expressed interest in purchasing Fords for next year, including one longtime WEC GTE-Am entrant.
“We’re not ready to announce anything yet, but we’re looking at it,” Pericak said. “I’m sure we’ll have the interest, it’s just a matter of how far we want to go with it.
“We’re not under any pressure with that, but if we wanted to race next year with it, we’d have to make a decision pretty fast.
“It’s never been the goal of the program but I wouldn’t stop a customer program from happening, for sure.”
One of the potential challenges, Pericak said, would be the different specifications required for the WEC and WeatherTech Championship.
Unlike the GT Le Mans class in the WeatherTech Championship, WEC GTE-Am rules mandate teams must run at least one-year-old cars, which could complicate things should Ford opt to develop an “evo kit” for 2018.
While the permitted evolution is under evaluation, Pericak has questioned the practicality of making performance-related developments, amid the current Balance of Performance regulations.
“You almost have to ask yourself, with the BoP, does it even make sense to do that?” he said.
Pericak, meanwhile, has been non-committal on whether the Ford GT factory program could be extended past 2019.
“Right now we’ve only committed to the four years, and that is the plan,” he said. “That has not changed. Anything can change in the future, but right now it is a four-year program.”
It’s understood Ford’s initial two-year contract with Chip Ganassi Racing has not not yet renewed for years three and four, although Pericak said the plan is to run the cars with full factory support “as we are today.”