Ford Holds Off Ferrari to Win at Le Mans

New GT yields same historic result.

by on Jun.20, 2016

Just as it did 50 years ago, Ford took the checked flag at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Once again, the Ford GT lived up to the hype, outlasting Ferrari and taking the checkered flag in its class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The results was almost a replay of the same race 50 years ago, only Ford took to the top three spots that year. The Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE finished second, but it was an epic battle that saw the No. 68 Ford GT run by Ford Chip Ganassi take and keep the lead for good at the 20-hour mark.

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Ford GTs took third and fourth place in the GTE Pro class race respectively.

“We dared to dream that we could return to Le Mans, 50 years after the incredible 1966 win, and take on the toughest competition in the world. The pride we all felt when the Ford GT crossed the line at Le Mans is indescribable,” said Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford in a statement.

(Ford goes back to the beginning with new GT at 24 Hours of Le Mans. Click Here for the story.)

“The team that designed, built and raced the Ford GT has worked tirelessly to bring us to this result and I am proud of each and every one of them. The Ford Chip Ganassi Racing team demonstrated the spirit of Ford, that of innovation, determination and true teamwork. We cherish our history and heritage, but today we made history again and I couldn’t be more proud.”

The Ford Ganassi team celebrate their victory in the 24 Hour of Le Mans.

The race is a grueling test of skill, endurance and luck. Ford made its debut there in 1966 after Henry Ford II decided to show Ferrari that Ford knew how to build a race car, and emphatically proving his point by taking the top three spots at the Le Mans 24 hours.

This year’s result, which saw the No. 68 GT finish third overall, was another way for the automaker to show it builds world-class products … even supercars. While the victory is a great publicity, there is a practical side to racing. Often advanced technologies are given their shake down on race cars. If a component or technology is tough enough for the track, it’s definitely capable of handling the open road.

However, this weekend was about the championship and Ford’s place among the top vehicles and teams at Le Mans.

(Ford begins taking orders for $400k supercar. For more, Click Here.)

“It’s crazy,” said Joey Hand, co-driver of the winning, and pole-sitting, No. 68 Ford GT, in AutoWeek magazine. “Hashtag America. A lot of great people, that’s what this was all about. We put it all on the line. We didn’t leave anything out there, and the car just kept on truckin’.”

The victory also had some meaning for team owner Chip Ganassi. It was his 175thwin and he becomes the only owner in history to win the Indianapolis 500, Daytona 500, Brickyard 400, Rolex 24 At Daytona, 12 Hours of Sebring and Le Mans 24 Hours.

The No. 68 Ford GT passed Ferrari for the last time in the 20th hour at Le Mans and never looked back.

The win will only whet the appetite for those looking to own the street version of the GT. Ford is in the process of looking over more than 6,500 applications from prospective buyers. More may lobby to get a chance as the shake out of those deemed ineligible occurs in the weeks ahead.

Hundreds of registrants submitted videos with their applications during the month-long application window, hoping to bolster their chances of purchasing one of the first 500 new Ford GTs. Creative applicants featured children, lighting effects, racing footage, revving engines, garage tours and life stories to show why they should own the all-new Ford GT.

(Victory, defeat – and plenty of surprises in Daytona. Click Here for coverage.)

Final pricing hasn’t been announced, but Ford says the new GT will cost “in the mid-$400,000s.” That makes it about three times as expensive as the original, $149,995 Ford GT. Ford produced just 4,000 of the earlier version which was unveiled in 2002 in concept form and then sold during the 2005 and 2006 model-years.

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2 Responses to “Ford Holds Off Ferrari to Win at Le Mans”

  1. JAE says:

    Good deal.

    A bit of a critique. The article was kind of hard to read and discern if the Ford GT actually won. It was somewhat jumbled. If I am correct:

    The No. 68 Ford GT won, beating the Ferrari 488 GTE.

    Ford GTs placed 3rd and 4th in the GTE Pro Series.

    But the questions are, which category did the Ford GT compete and ultimately win? Was it GT, GTE? The reason I ask is that later in the article it is listed the No. 68 finished 3rd overall. How about a breakdown of the classes and wins?

  2. Michael Strong says:

    JAE: Understand your concerns. We are not a “racing” publication per se and I really wanted to avoid getting into a complete dissection of the different classes and who won what. I felt that would muddle things up a bit and as I said, we don’t do a lot of racing coverage. That being said, it would appear I missed the mark. Keep reading and providing insights! We appreciate it. Mike S.

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