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“No Lack of Interest” in Customer Ford GT Programs

Ford still positioned to support customer efforts; Keating rules out full-season WEC…

Photo: MPS Agency

Ford Performance global motorsports director Mark Rushbrook says there’s been “no lack of interest” from customer teams wanting to run the Ford GT next year.

Rushbrook reaffirmed the Blue Oval’s intent of supporting cars in either the FIA World Endurance Championship or IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in 2020, despite the conclusion of its factory program this year, and no confirmed program from any team.

As revealed by Sportscar365, Multimatic has not submitted entries for the 2019-20 WEC season while Chip Ganassi Racing managing director Mike Hull admits it’s “unlikely” the team will continue to campaign Ford GTs in the WeatherTech Championship without factory backing.

Other than the possibility for additional races for Ford’s first customer team, Keating Motorsports, beyond this month’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, it leaves an uncertain future for the Multimatic-built car, although Rushbrook still remains confident.

“I don’t know that there’s anything to announce at this point,” he said.

“We continue to look at the best options to be able to do that, whether it be in IMSA or WEC with drivers, owners or teams.

“You can see Ben Keating here, which is fantastic, and we like what they’re doing, and looking to establish similar relationships in the future.

“I think the car sells itself, quite honestly, because it is so unique that there are so many people who want to race it, because of what it is. We’ve had no lack of interest for the GTE cars.”

Rushbrook said its customer program can accommodate multiple teams, and indicated that the level of support seen with Keating at Le Mans could be extended to other teams in the future.

“Part of it is that the car is a little bit unique,” he said. “To get to know the car, especially when their first race is on a stage like this, we want to make sure that the team is successful and the car is successful.
 
“It’s very similar technical support [across the GTE-Pro and Am entries]. It’s open-book sharing of the setup of the car, of the chassis and the aero map, and everything that’s required to get around the track here fast.”

Keating: Full-Season WEC Effort “Too Expensive” 

Keating, meanwhile, confirmed to Sportscar365 that he has not lodged a full-season WEC entry request for the 2019-20 season, despite “coming down to the wire” on a decision ahead of the May 21 deadline.

The Texan, who runs full-time in the WeatherTech Championship with a Mercedes-AMG GT3, cites costs as the main reason.

“It’s too expensive for me and I had to make the decision too early,” Keating told Sportscar365. “It would take all of my budget for 2020 and then some.

“It was my hope that I could combine IMSA and Le Mans into one budget and be able to make WEC and I can’t do it for that.

“Clearly I could have worked on sponsors and things like that to put a program together but I couldn’t get it done by May 21, so therefore I couldn’t file an entry.”

Keating, who owns the chassis he and co-drivers Jeroen Bleekemolen and Felipe Fraga will race at Le Mans, said he’s exploring “all options” for next year, including a potential ELMS bid, as well as one-off WEC and IMSA races.

“After deciding to not do [WEC full time], I’ll be looking at IMSA, ELMS, wherever I may be able to [race this car],” he said.

“Ford would happily support me doing it. It’s just super expensive.”

Daniel Lloyd contributed to this report

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

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