Ford to return to Le Mans in 2016 Fo

Stunning GT concept car is basis for a comeback to famous French enduro, five decades on from Ford’s first triumph in 1966 Stu the the fiv firs

Damion Smy

FORD will return to the Le Mans 24 Hours – the race it dominated in the 1960s with the iconic GT40 – in 2016 using its reborn Ford GT supercar.

Ford will not only compete in the legendary French race but the entire FIA World Endurance Championship in the LM GTE Pro class. The first event for the team, which will be operated by Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates – a partnership that’s seen success in IndyCars and NASCAR – will be the Daytona 24 Hour on January 30-31.

Next year will mark the 50th anniversary of the first of four consecutive victories in the race with the GT40, by Kiwis Bruce McLaren and Chris Amon.

Ford joins Porsche, Audi, Toyota, Aston Martin, Bentley, Ferrari, Chevrolet and Nissan as sportscar racing continues to lure manufacturers, to the envy of categories including F1, but it will not contest the top-level category alongside Mark Webber’s Porsche 919 and the high-tech Audi and Toyota entries.

Development of the GT’s 3.5-litre V6 will be carried out by the legendary Roush outfit that specialises in highly tuned Mustangs.

The GT will also rely heavily on carbonfibre.

Indeed, Ford claims that the road-going version will be the first production car to market fitted with carbonfibre wheels.

Those wheels will be produced right here in Australia by Geelong-based company Carbon Revolution.

DAMION SMY