The new Ford GT was revealed today at the North American International Auto Show with a 3.5L twin-turbo V6 EcoBoost engine. The specifications for the World Endurance Championship's LM GTE class give turbo engines a maximum 4.0L displacement. Coincidence? I think not.
While Ford didn't mention racing today aside from pimping the original Ford GT40's 1-2-3 podium-filling finish in 1966 in the press release, it's a widely-accepted fact now that a Ford GT endurance car is going to happen. How else are you supposed to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of that historic grudge match win? Cake and balloons are not enough!
Reports speculate that Ford will run a full-season two-car effort in the TUDOR United SportsCar series, with Sportscar365 suggesting Chip Ganassi Racing will run the program. Scott Pruett and Joey Hand have been rumored to be drivers for the new project.
TUSC was aaaaaaabsolutely watching the reveal this morning, too. Heh heh.
IMSA President Scott Atherton was at NAIAS, where he called the Ford GT "stunning" and "spectacular." While he declined to comment on whether or not the car would be running in TUSC, he mentioned that he would be willing to give up body parts to have it.
"But not my right arm," Atherton specified, as he would need arms to drive it. Of course.
Of course, you can't properly commemorate the anniversary of dropping the world's greatest turd in Enzo Ferrari's punch bowl without actually going back to Le Mans. There should at least be a 24 Hours of Le Mans entry in 2016, if not a full-season World Endurance Championship team. We'll see—nothing has really been nailed down as far as specific Le Mans plans go yet.
If today's "JUST SHOW THE RACE CAR ALREADY!" reveal for the Ford GT street car is any indication, Ford will continue to troll us with as little information as possible as long as they can stand it. They're officially now the McLaren of tin-top sportscars, and we both love them and hate them for it.
If the more solid rumor of the two is the full-season TUSC entry, why did I call out the WEC engine regulations instead? Well, the 2015 TUSC GTLM class rules completely bogart the LM GTE class rule set from the FIA. There's a spiffy United SportsCar cover sheet, and a bunch of FIA documentation behind it. Given that United SportsCar is actively trying to form more connections with their overseas counterparts, I don't expect that to change for 2016. GTLM is "Grand Touring Le Mans," after all.
Because the turbos come on the Ford GT street car and the engine is under 4,000 cc in displacement, both WEC and TUSC say it's A-OK, per the regs. Forget all that other meaningless stuff coming out today; there's your good news from Detroit.
Photo credit: Ford/Jason Torchinsky Photoshop.