Ford’s Le Mans victory in the GTΕ-Pro Class comes 395 days after their all-new GT was unveiled for the first time, marking a tremendous effort from the Ford Chip Ganassi team.
This win also comes exactly 50 years after the automaker’s 1-2-3 victory at Le Mans back in 1966, a result that was almost replicated if not for Giancarlo Fisichella’s Ferrari 488 GTE outpacing the Ford Chip Ganassi #69 and #66 race cars in the LMGTE Pro category.
“This is an historic moment for the Ford Motor Company,” said executive chairman, Bill Ford. “We dared to dream that we could return to Le Mans, 50 years after the incredible 1966 win, and take on the toughest competition in the world. The pride we all felt when the Ford GT crossed the line at Le Mans is indescribable. The team that designed, built and raced the Ford GT has worked tirelessly to bring us to this result and I am proud of each and every one of them.”
Ford president & CEO Mark Fields added that “Building a new car and racing it at Le Mans is a monumental task. We took it on and we conquered the biggest challenge in sportscar racing: the Le Mans 24 Hours. It has been incredible to share this event with our dealers, owners, employees, sponsors and guests who are all bursting with pride at being part of the Ford family. Every manufacturer in the GTE Pro class fought with everything they had in the best competitive spirit, and we are thrilled to have played our part in this incredible race.”
Among the cars the Ford GT had to outrace, were the likes of the Chevrolet Corvette C7.R, the Porsche 911 RSR, the Aston Martin V8 Vantage GTE and the previously mentioned Ferrari 488 GTE. The #68 Ford GT fought hard against the #82 Ferrari 488 before taking the lead for the final time in the 20th hour of the race, thus rekindling a classic 50-year-old rivalry between these two car manufacturers.
At the same time, Chip Ganassi now becomes the only team owner in history to win the Indianapolis 500, Daytona 500, Brickyard 400, Rolex 24 At Daytona, 12 Hours of Sebring and the Le Mans 24 Hours.
Correction: Ford did not win the 24h of Le Mans, as it was erroneously mentioned in the title, but the LMGTE Pro Class. The overall win in the race went to the No2 Porsche 918 Hybrid.