The Ford GT is headed to France for the 24 Hours of Le Mans next year. Officially. Ford just announced what everyone expected, or at least, really, really, hoped for since the stunning supercar dropped in January. If this is anything like the last time it competed, Ford just declared war on France.
When Bruce McLaren and Chris Amos piloted the GT40 to victory at the 24 Hours of LeMans in 1966, it was more than the culmination of a personal grudge match pitting Henry Ford II and Carroll Shelby against Enzo Ferrari—it was a seminal moment in motorsport history. When Dan Gurney repeated the feat the following year, he spontaneously invented the champagne spray celebration.
Two more GT40 wins in 1968 and 1969 were followed by decades of fading memories, as new generations grew up knowing the GT40s only by grainy photographs, reverential restorations, and 20-second video clips.
Official details won't come out any time soon, but the racing program will be centered on the production car, and it's going to run a (presumably more powerful) version of the EcoBoost V6 that the road car showed off in Detroit.
Regardless, the car looks absolutely amazing, and beautifully close to the street-version. The biggest differences are an added splitter up front, a wing and huge diffuser in the back, and side exhaust, which negates the center exit exhaust of the production version.
Not that that matters. The car now looks like it's smiling as it passes you.
One of the two teams picked by Ford to operate the program is Chip Ganassi racing, which has previously won the 24 Hours of Daytona, the Indy 500, and the Daytona 500. Ganassi summed it up best: "When presented the opportunity to compete with the all-new Ford GT on the world’s biggest sports car stage, and on the 50th anniversary of one of the most storied victories in racing history, how could any race team not want to be part of that?"
How much does this mean to the guys at Ford? This goosebump-producing video probably sums it up better than words can.