Ford Eyeing a Return to 24 Hours of Le Mans
When you think of the Ford GT40, you may instantly think of the golden era of racing at Le Mans. But when you think of Le Mans, you might not instantly think of Ford. While Ford’s mid-engined monster dominated Le Mans 1966 to 1969, the Blue Oval brand did not have much of a presence at the French track (save for some Shelby Mustangs and late-model Ford GTs).
But Ford wants to change all that, and is contemplating a return to one of the most coveted and iconic races in the world. According to information gathered by Racer magazine, the American automaker is eyeing a return to Le Mans for 2016 or 2017.
The return is not as far-fetched as one might believe. Ford is currently running an EcoBoost-powered Daytona prototype in the newly formed TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, which has a number of vehicles that also compete at Le Mans, including LMP2 cars and the GTLM cars (such as the Corvettes, Vipers, and various Porsches).
It is widely held that Ford is nowhere near ready to take on Audi and Porsche in the LMP1 class. Its Daytona Prototype races against the likes of the LMP2 cars in TUDOR, but the two classes are very different. If Ford is to field an LMP2 car it is unclear how it would be viewed by various Daytona Prototype camps in TUDOR.
No details have been confirmed, but we expect an EcoBoost-powered LMP2 prototype as their entrant. In that class, chassis cost is capped at €370,000 ($502,000), engine cost is limited to €80,350 ($109,100) and it must weigh at least 900 kg (1,984.16 lb.). There are other various fuel restrictions, but in short, Ford will have its work cut out for it. As Ford is about to find out, building a Le Mans-ready prototype is a little harder than building a Daytona Prototype.