► Ford confirms new race-car plan
► GT supercar forms basis for GTE racer
► To compete at Le Mans 2016
Ford has confirmed a return to GT endurance racing with its new GT supercar - and that means it'll be competing back at Le Mans in 2016, where it'll rub shoulders with Ferraris and other LM GTE Pro class racers, half a century after its historic 1-2-3 at La Sarthe.
The Blue Oval announced its plan on Friday 12 June 2015 - just 24 hours before the famous Le Mans race starts. This race has real symbolism in Dearborn; Ford won Le Mans four times on the trot in '66, '67, '68 and '69.
The new motorsport programme will see GTs compete in both the FIA World Endurance Championship and the Tudor United SportsCar Championship in the US. Four cars will be run by two teams: Chip Ganassi Racing and Felix Sabates.
Why is Ford returning to endurance GT racing?
To underline its sporting credentials, as it seeks to ramp up the Ford Performance tuning division with models such as the new Focus RS hot hatch and GT supercar.
As reported previously by CAR magazine in October 2014, the whole GT sports car project was kicked off in anticipation of the Le Mans anniversary. The new, third-generation GT was shown at the 2015 Detroit motor show and is a wildly styled, carbonfibre-bodied supercar with a likely price tag of a quarter of a million pounds.
It's mid-engined, powered by an Ecoboost V6 and, tellingly, to be made in conjunction with Multimatic, an outfit with a two-decade history of Ford collaboration on motorsport projects...
Bill Ford on the Le Mans announcement
'When the GT40 competed at Le Mans in the 1960s, Henry Ford II sought to prove Ford could beat endurance racing’s most legendary manufacturers,' said Bill Ford, executive chairman. 'We are still extremely proud of having won this iconic race four times in a row, and that same spirit that drove the innovation behind the first Ford GT still drives us today.'
Click here to see our latest spy photos of the Ford GT testing on the road.