Sunday, 27 September 2015

All New Ford GT Race Car to Make European Debut at Silverstone Ahead of Historic Return to Le Mans

Ford’s all-new GT race car – revealed at Le Mans in June – will make its European racing debut at the Silverstone Circuit in the U.K. next April.

Two cars will line up on the grid for the opening round of the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) where they will compete in the GT-Endurance Pro Class for the Royal Automobile Club Tourist Trophy.

The event is the first of nine WEC rounds announced by the FIA for 2016. Ford will later make its historic return to the Le Sarthe circuit in France where, 50 years ago, Ford’s GT40 won the first of four consecutive Le Mans titles.

“We believe the Ford GT’s advances in aerodynamics, light-weighting and EcoBoost power will make for a compelling race car that can once again compete on a global stage,” said Raj Nair, Ford group vice president, Global Product Development and chief technical officer. “The same spirit that drove the innovation behind the first Ford GT still drives us as a company today. Let the racing begin!”

Based on the all-new Ford GT supercar unveiled in January and powered by the same Ford 3.5 litre EcoBoost engine, the all new Ford GT race car is engineered from advanced lightweight composites featuring carbon fibre for an exceptionally rigid but light chassis.

Both the race car and production car will arrive in 2016 to mark the 50th anniversary of Ford GT40 race cars placing 1-2-3 at the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans. Ford went on to repeat its victory at Le Mans in 1967, 1968 and 1969.

As well as competing in the full 2016 FIA WEC, the GT Race Car will contest the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship (WTSCC), making its global competition debut in January at the Rolex 24 in Daytona, Florida.

Drivers’ details will be announced later.

2016 FIA World Endurance Championship Provisional Calendar*

Alongside the existing eight rounds an additional race will take place in Mexico, to be confirmed as the contract is still being finalised. The 2016 schedule will feature nine races in four continents:

•    March 25/6: The Prologue, Circuit Paul Ricard, France
•    April 17: 6 Hours of Silverstone, Great Britain
•    May 7: WEC 6 Hours of Spa, Belgium
•    June 5: 24 Hours of Le Mans Test Day
•    June 18/19: 24 Hours of Le Mans, France
•    July 24: 6 Hours of Nürburgring, Germany
•    Sept. 4: 6 Hours of Mexico City, Mexico (TBC)
•    Sept. 17: 6 Hours of Circuit of the Americas (Lone Star Le Mans), U.S.
•    Oct. 16: 6 Hours of Fuji, Japan
•    Nov. 6: 6 Hours of Shanghai, China
•    Nov. 19: 6 Hours of Bahrain, Bahrain

2016 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Schedule
•    Jan 30/31: Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach, Fla.**
•    Mar 19: Sebring International Raceway, Sebring, Fla.**
•    Apr 16: Long Beach Street Circuit, Long Beach, Calif. (WeatherTech Championship Prototype (P),     Prototype Challenge (PC) and GT Le Mans (GTLM) only)
•    May 1: Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Monterey, Calif.
•    June 4: Belle Isle Park, Detroit, Mich. (P, PC and GT Daytona (GTD) only)
•    July 3: Watkins Glen International, Watkins Glen, N.Y.**
•    July 10: Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada
•    July 23: Lime Rock Park, Lakeville, Conn. (PC, GTLM and GTD only)
•    Aug. 7: Road America, Elkhart Lake, Wis.
•    Aug. 21: Virginia International Raceway, Alton, Va. (GTLM and GTD only)
•    Sept. 17: Circuit of The Americas, Austin, Texas
•    Oct. 1: Road Atlanta, Braselton, Ga.**

* Subject to validation by the FIA World Motor Sport Council

** Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup events

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