Ford's last real serious factory effort at Le Mans came in the 1960s, when it dominated for four years in a row with the mighty GT40s. And now, it might be coming back. And it's not what you think.
(Okay, so there was also the Ford C100, but that wasn't really that serious, and no one likes to talk about that one.)
The last time real Fords competed at Le Mans was back in 2011, when a set of privateer Ford GTs competed. And that was about it, and we never really heard much more from Ford about a factory effort.
Just this past week, however, the good chaps over at RACER magazine heard that Ford might be gearing up for a factory effort. But unfortunately it's not like Ford is gearing up to throw the new Mustang into GT racing.
The push, specifically, would revolve around a Le Mans P2 program, to compete with Honda and Nissan:
If it comes to fruition, and with the 83rd running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans less than a year away, a 2016 debut would fit a proper testing and development timeline, but something closer to 2017 – the first year of a new, common P2-style chassis that will be used by the WEC and TUDOR Championship – is also likely. Campaigning P2 Fords in the TUDOR Championship to gain chassis, aero and engine data would also be a logical choice prior to entering the 24 Hours Le Mans.
Yes, LMP2. No big prototypes going up against the Audi R18 e-tron, either.
But it's not like that's such a bad thing. LMP2 is highly competitive, and the cars are still fast enough to rip your eyeballs off and rearrange them to other, more nether regions.
The LMP2 program, if it does exist, looks like it could be an outgrowth of Ford's current Daytona Prototypes, and RACER notes that they've been hearing Ford make some employment inquiries with road racing teams.
Because if you're going to do it right, you're going to want to do it with people that know how.
Photo credit: Nathan Bittinger