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Trevor

Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Prepares To Defend Le Mans 24 Hours Title

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In 2016 Ford had a new car, a new team and a new challenge: to win at Le Mans 50 years after taking a 1-2-3 victory at the 1966 Le Mans race. The team delivered a historic victory and has since become even stronger, winning races all over the world, competing in both the FIA World Endurance Championship and the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. 

In just a few days time, the four Ford Chip Ganassi Racing GTs will line up at the Circuit de la Sarthe for the start of the 2017 Le Mans 24 Hours and the defence of last year’s victory for the #68 Ford GT. 

The 2017 race also marks an important anniversary: 50 years since Dan Gurney (US) and AJ Foyt (US) won Le Mans, driving a Ford GT40. This, the second win in a run of four, cemented Ford’s dominance of the world’s biggest sports car race. 

VIDEO: Ford GT at Le Mans 24 Hours

Bourdais out, Kanaan in for Le Mans

The only piece of the puzzle that will be missing is Le Mans born Sébastien Bourdais, who is recovering from an accident during qualifying for the Indianapolis 500. It is a blow to the team, especially as Bourdais was in the winning #68 crew in 2016, but Joey Hand (US) and Dirk Müller (GER) have INDYCAR star Tony Kanaan (BRA) to help them fight for the top prize all over again. 

The crew of the #69 Ford GT remains as Ryan Briscoe (AUS), Richard Westbrook (GB) and Indianapolis 500 pole sitter, Scott Dixon (NZ). They made it to the podium last year and that has given them a great preview of what success feels like at Le Mans. 

The #66 Ford GT of Stefan Mücke (GER), Olivier Pla (FRA) and Billy Johnson (US) finished in fourth place last year after having to pit when penalised for a broken number panel light. Despite this, they were just one lap behind the winners at the finish and they are more motivated than ever this time around. 

The 2017 Le Mans 24 Hours was a tough race for the #67 Ford GT crew as the car developed a gearbox problem just before the start, which put paid to any challenge. This year Andy Priaulx (GB), Harry Tincknell (GB) and Pipo Derani (BRA) want to be at the heart of the battle. 

Le Mans participations for the Ford GT drivers:

Stefan Mücke -– 10 times (2007-2016)
Olivier Pla -– 9 times (2008-2016)
Richard Westbrook -– 6 times (2010-2014, 2016)
Dirk Müller -– 5 times (1999-2000, 2010-2011, 2016)
Andy Priaulx -– 3 times (2010-2011, 2016)
Harry Tincknell -– 3 times (2014-2016)
Ryan Briscoe -– 3 times (2013, 2015-2016)
Joey Hand –- 2 times (2011, 2016)
Pipo Derani –- 2 times (2015-2016)
Scott Dixon –- 1 time (2016)
Billy Johnson -– 1 time (2016)
Tony Kanaan – Le Mans rookie

Which Ford GT is that?

The Four Ford GTs will run at Le Mans in the same red, white and blue livery. In order to help the commentators and viewers differentiate between the cars they will all run brightly coloured windscreen strips, wing mirrors and an LED light strip down the middle of the windscreen using the following colours: 

  • #66 GREEN
  • #67 BLUE
  • #68 RED
  • #69 YELLOW 

New for this year and especially striking at night, the wing mirrors will be coated in electroluminescent paint that will glow in each car's unique colour, making each car easily identifiable at all times while adding almost no weight.

Did you know?

  • When Dan Gurney decided to spray the Champagne he was given on the podium after his 1967 victory he started the tradition that continues all over the world today.
  • It was Bruce McLaren who told Chris Amon to “Go Like Hell!” in 1966. 

Ford’s Le Mans results in the 1960s

1966
1st Bruce McLaren (NZ) / Chris Amon (NZ)
2nd Ken Miles (GB) / Denis Hulme (NZ)
3rd Ronnie Bucknum (US) / Dick Hutcherson (US)

1967
1st Dan Gurney (US) / AJ Foyt (US)

1968
1st Pedro Rodriguez (MEX) / Lucien Bianchi (BEL)

1969
1st Jacky Ickx (BEL) / Jackie Oliver (GB)
3rd David Hobbs (GB) / Mike Hailwood (GB)

 

Ford GT.jpg

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