According to Motorsport.com, Ford plans to release its new GT race car at a venue near and dear to the original GT40’s heart: Le Mans. Hopefully the reveal is somewhere near the AF Corse pits for maximum lulz.
Scott Maxwell has been putting the car through its paces at Calabogie Motorsports Park in Ontario ahead of showing it off at Le Mans. Initial tests started on May 16, with longer test sessions taking place last Wednesday.
Motorsport.com’s report confirmed several details that were speculated about the car. It will be powered by a Roush-Yates 3.5-liter turbo V6 Ecoboost engine similar to the V6 turbo that currently runs in Ford’s Daytona Prototypes. It also features a Ricardo gearbox. The car’s design was further away from Ford’s home base than expected as well, with much of the design taking place at Multimatic’s “design cell” in Cambridgeshire, England.
George-Howard Chappell, formerly the team principal of Aston Martin Racing, will be heading up the racing program. Former Lola Le Mans prototype designer Julian Sole brought a lot of talent with him from Lola to work on the Ford GT’s design as well. The project was really the baby of Larry Holt, though. As Multimatic’s technical director, he lobbied all of his contacts at Ford hard for both the road car and race car projects.
While Forza may have leaked a few sneak peeks of the race car earlier this year, we’d really like to confirm Motorsport.com’s report with some photographic evidence. If you live near Calabogie and happen to have a zoom lens, we’d love to see pictorial evidence of Loch Ness Ford out there testing.
Motorsport.com says that testing will continue after the car’s debut at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in early June. After testing all summer, it will head to FIA/ACO performance tests at the Ladoux test facility. While Ford was originally planning on racing the car later this year, plans to crash Petit Le Mans have been put on the backburner as the team focuses on getting the car right. Motorsport.com’s sources speculate that they are now aiming for a 24 Hours of Daytona debut next January. Like Nissan, they seem to be discovering that putting together an entirely new car is a ton of work, and would rather get it right the first time than debut with something half-baked.
Will we finally see the Ford GT race car at Le Mans? Considering that this is the race that the original GT40 was made to dominate, we can’t think of a more fitting venue for a debut. After all, the FIA may have let it slip that Ford was coming back to the world’s most famous endurance race, anyway.
Photo credit: Getty Images
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