Le Mans 24 Hour Race’s Ganassi Ford GTs Get Retro Livery Treatment
Retro liveries are en vogue at the moment, and the latest to get involved is Ford. And it has got involved emphatically, by unveiling a series of “Celebration Liveries” in which each of the four factory Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GTs will race in at this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours race. The liveries celebrate notable moments of Ford’s considerable Le Mans success, both from the present day and during the manufacturer’s—and arguably the race’s—1960s’ heyday. The specially-liveried quartet were shown for the very first time today, revealed at the famous La Sarthe circuit. They will be on track this Sunday, June 2, for the Official Le Mans Test. The liveries also mark something of an “au revoir”, as this year’s Le Mans is the final one for the current factory Ford GT program.
“In 2016, Ford returned to Le Mans to mark the 50th anniversary of our incredible 1966 win and we celebrated in the best way possible by winning the race,” said Bill Ford, executive chairman of the Ford Motor Company. “To stand on that podium on behalf of the employees was a proud moment for me and I look forward returning to Le Mans this year to support the team as we approach our final race in this chapter.”
The #66 Ford GT, which will be raced in this year’s Le Mans by Stefan Mücke, Olivier Pla and Billy Johnson, has a black livery that is a take of the Ford GT40 that Bruce McLaren and Chris Amon drove to 1966 Le Mans victory—which was Ford’s first overall Le Mans win and started its run of four consecutive victories in the famous endurance race. And the red and white GT40 that Dan Gurney and AJ Foyt triumphed in at Le Mans the following year is remembered in the #67 Ford GT livery to be raced by Andy Priaulx, Harry Tincknell and Jonathan Bomarito.
The #68 Ford GT has a red, blue and white livery based on Ford’s most recent Le Mans winner, from the 2016 race in the GTE Pro class. And the same three drivers, Dirk Müller, Joey Hand and Sébastien Bourdais, return to drive it. The #69 Ford GT of Scott Dixon, Ryan Briscoe and Richard Westbrook, meanwhile, takes its cues from the sky blue and red GT40 that came second in Ford’s 1966 Le Mans 1-2-3 finish. They will be joined in addition by a fifth specially-liveried Ford GT, from customer team Keating Motorsports racing in the GTE Am class. The #85—driven by Ben Keating, Jeroen Bleekemolen and Felipe Fraga—uses the same livery design as the four factory Fords but using the colors of its title sponsor, Wynn’s.
“The Ford GT was created to take Ford back to the world of GT endurance racing,” said global director of Ford Performance Motorsports Mark Rushbrook. “This factory Ford GT program has been a great success for our brand and we have enjoyed the many challenges that have come our way during this four-year program. Le Mans is not quite the end of the factory program as we still have many more IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship races to go in 2019.”
Images courtesy of Ford