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Featured Ford GT drivers announced for inaugural WEC campaign

Discussion in 'Motorsports' started by R.J. O'Connell, Jan 5, 2016.

  1. Ford WEC Driver Lineup.jpg
    Marino Franchitti, Stefan Mucke, Olivier Pla, and Andy Priaulx will race for Ford Chip Ganassi Racing in the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship, at the wheel of the all-new Ford GT, the team announced in a press conference today.

    The radical new Ford GT is making its return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans on what will be the fiftieth anniversary of the Ford GT40's inaugural triumph in the race in 1966, and Chip Ganassi Racing have selected an experienced, veteran quartet of drivers to compete in the full WEC campaign. Ford plans to field four cars at Le Mans, combining their WEC squads with the two Ford teams competing in the IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship - who will be represented by full-time drivers Ryan Briscoe, Joey Hand, Dirk Müller, and Richard Westbrook.

    “Make no mistake, we are racing to win,” said Ford Performance global director Dave Pericak. “To compete at this level you need the best car, the best team and the best drivers, and we have selected Stefan, Olivier, Andy and Marino to drive the Ford GT to take on the best in the world.”

    “Just like when we announced the Ford GT drivers for the Weathertech Sportscar Championship last month, we’ve again chosen drivers with heart, speed and proven endurance racing credentials,"
    said team owner Chip Ganassi. "It’s a global team running in two championships and I can’t wait for the racing to begin.”

    Marino Franchitti has been a stalwart of endurance racing for over a decade, in 2014 he won the 12 Hours of Sebring driving for Ganassi in a Ford-engined Daytona Prototype. His brother, Dario, is a four-time IndyCar Series champion and three-time winner of the Indianapolis 500. A ninth-place finish in the LMP2 class for Highcroft Racing in 2010 is Marino's best Le Mans result to date. "From my first test in the Ford GT I fell in love with it and just wanted to drive it more and more. It’s incredible to be part of Ford’s return to international GT racing and to go to Le Mans 50 years after Ford’s first win there will be extremely special," Franchitti said of his new car and team.

    Stefan Mücke joins Ford after spending seven years at Aston Martin Racing, where he finished third in GTE Pro at Le Mans in 2012 and 2013. This year will mark the German's tenth consecutive Le Mans entry. He'll be the first of the four drivers to race the new Ford GT when he teams with Briscoe and Westbrook in the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona on 30-31 January.

    Long-time LMP2 front-runner Olivier Pla is back in action after a lost season at NISMO in 2015. The Frenchman has entered Le Mans eight times, finishing second in the LMP2 category in 2013. "It's a huge honour for me to represent Ford,- the Ford GT is a very special car and it is a privilege for me to drive it," said Pla. "Personally as a Frenchman, lining up at Le Mans as a Ford GT driver will be something very special."

    Andy Priaulx is also beginning a new chapter in racing after a thirteen-year affiliation with BMW. The Guernsey driver is a triple WTCC champion, a winner of the 24 Hours Nürburgring, and last year, Priaulx was a race winner in both the BTCC and European Le Mans Series. This will be Priaulx's first Le Mans entry since he placed third in the GT2 category in 2011, and like Mücke, he'll be in action at Daytona in January, driving for Ganassi's Daytona Prototype team in a car shared with reigning World Endurance Drivers' Champion Brendon Hartley, two-time Le Mans winner Alexander Wurz, and European Formula 3 star Lance Stroll.

    Priaulx added: "Any motorsport fan will remember the iconic Ford GT40 cars of the past, and for me to be part of this programme 50 years after Ford’s historic win at Le Mans is such a privilege."

    The Ford GT will make its WEC debut on 17 April at the 6 Hours of Silverstone, and its long-anticipated return to Le Mans on 18-19 June.

    Will Ford's experienced driver lineup give them the edge to triumph at Le Mans and in the WEC on debut?
    • Like Like x 9
  2. Bram

    Ezekiel 25:17 Staff Premium

    Very impressive driver line-up, great to see Priaulx popping up in this team. Can't wait to see this beautiful car on track.
    • Agree Agree x 3
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Lorenzo Bonder

    Lorenzo Bonder
    RD's Two Wheeled Driving Specialist Staff

    And they'll win the GTE classes
    • Haha Haha x 2
    • Winner Winner x 2
    • Beer Beer x 1
  4. JeffL

    Right on Brother, I hear ya, it's all good.

    Where did you get a picture of my dog.


    F***ed On Race Day
    Found On Road Dead
    Fix Or Repair Daily
    F***ed Over Rebuilt Dodge.
    • Haha Haha x 2
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Jimi Hughes

    Jimi Hughes
    RDMCC S6 Champion

    ^^^^ not heard any of those before... :sleep:
    • Haha Haha x 2
  6. JeffL

    Right on Brother, I hear ya, it's all good.

    Just makin' sure we have a new generation that knows how to have fun on a simracing site.;)
    • Like Like x 1
    • Love Love x 1
    • Haha Haha x 5
  7. JeffL

    Right on Brother, I hear ya, it's all good.

    Always been a fan of Ford Drive Trains, but their suspensions have always been suspect . From what I have read about this car it could be a game changer and Ford has come a long way over the last decade.
  8. The performance on that car will reduce greatly after a small crash, just watch, can't wait to see the Daytona race with rest of the new GTE and GT3 class cars.
  9. Nox

    Staff Premium

    Very impressive driver line-up.
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  10. Chris

    Ted Kravitz Appreciation Society Staff Premium

    Outside of the 488GTE, it'll be the best looking GT car in the WEC.
  11. JeffL

    Right on Brother, I hear ya, it's all good.

    • Like Like x 1
  12. And after Le Mans it'll be BoP'd into oblivion. :roflmao:

    Doubt it though, I know some people are expecting the GT to be the TS020 GTE edition, but I think it'll be right in line.
  13. I'll take my chances on the BMW M6 GTE. Gotta stay loyal.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  14. What I want to know is, which game will get the car first!
  15. Oh that car...*turn away, shudder*
  16. Very curious to see how they will perform with a new car; its the first in house build racing GT since the GT40, both GT3 and GT2 of previous generation were built by Matech and someone else, I remember there were 2 companies.
    What bugs me the most about new GT is that as much as they tried to preserve the "True Spirit" it is still missing the roar of 2 extra cylinders that are supposed to be there. I know GT was about innovation in a way but V8s are not outdated yet.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  17. David O'Reilly

    David O'Reilly
    A bad quali means I can go forwards in the race.

    From the did you know files.....
    The series "Walker Texas Ranger" had a sponsorship from GM.
    It included the Good guys always being supplied GM product.
    But.......It also included the Bad guys always driving a Ford.

    Now is that clever product placement, machievalian, nasty or is it mass hypnosis??
  18. I had previously said that I figured it would be January DLC in Forza since the street version is on the cover and the race car will make it's debut at the 24 Hours of Daytona in late January. Turns out I was wrong.
  19. So February it is then;)