Ford to debut new GT at UK Silverstone Circuit in April 2016

Article by Andrew Christian, on September 22, 2015

Ford discloses that its newest GT race car will make its European racing debut at the U.K. Silverstone Circuit in April 2016. The GT was originally shown last June at Le Mans. For the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship’s (WEC) opening round, Ford will line up two cars.

They are then expected to compete for the Royal Automobile Club Tourist Trophy during the GT-Endurance Pro Class. This is merely the first of nine rounds that have been revealed by FIA to occur in 2016. It will be during this series that the brand will once again participate in the Le Sarthe circuit in France.

This is the same series that the GT40 won 50 years ago, the first of its four consecutive Le Mans titles. It is lightweight, carries the EcoBoost power, and has been applied with the latest advances in aerodynamic, making the GT a powerful race car.

Raj Nair believes that this means that Ford is ready again to compete on the global stage. Nair is the chief technical officer as well as the Ford group vice president Global Product Development. Let the race begin indeed, Nair proudly declares.

The new GT has the same EcoBoost 3.5‑litre engine of the Ford GT super car, which was originally unveiled last January. However the GT race car now uses advanced lightweight composites made mainly of carbon fiber resulting in a light yet rigid chassis.

The race car and the production car will arrive in the market in 2016. This is the same year that Ford will celebrate the 50th anniversary of its GT40 place 1-2-3 at the Hours of Le Mans in 1966. This victory was in fact repeated by the brand at the same series in 1967, 1968, and 1969.

Participating in the 2016 FIA WEC is the GT Race Car that will also be in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship (WTSCC). This global competition debut will happen in January during the Rolex 24 in Daytona, Florida. Ford will announce the driver details at a future date.

Aside from the eight rounds, there will be an extra race to be held in Mexico. However this remains to be confirmed since any agreements have yet to be finalized.

Below is the 2016 schedule of the FIA World Endurance Championship that will take place in four continents:

  • March 25/6: The Prologue, Circuit Paul Ricard, France
  • April 17: 6 Hours of Silverstone, Great Britain
  • May 7: WEC 6 Hours of Spa, Belgium
  • June 5: 24 Hours of Le Mans Test Day
  • June 18/19: 24 Hours of Le Mans, France
  • July 24: 6 Hours of Nürburgring, Germany
  • Sept. 4: 6 Hours of Mexico City, Mexico (TBC)
  • Sept. 17: 6 Hours of Circuit of the Americas (Lone Star Le Mans), U.S.
  • Oct. 16: 6 Hours of Fuji, Japan
  • Nov. 6: 6 Hours of Shanghai, China
  • Nov. 19: 6 Hours of Bahrain, Bahrain

Below is the schedule for the 2016 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship:

  • Jan 30/31: Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach, Fla.**
  • Mar 19: Sebring International Raceway, Sebring, Fla.**
  • Apr 16: Long Beach Street Circuit, Long Beach, Calif. (WeatherTech Championship Prototype (P), Prototype Challenge (PC) and GT Le Mans (GTLM) only)
  • May 1: Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Monterey, Calif.
  • June 4: Belle Isle Park, Detroit, Mich. (P, PC and GT Daytona (GTD) only)
  • July 3: Watkins Glen International, Watkins Glen, N.Y.**
  • July 10: Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada
  • July 23: Lime Rock Park, Lakeville, Conn. (PC, GTLM and GTD only)
  • Aug. 7: Road America, Elkhart Lake, Wis.
  • Aug. 21: Virginia International Raceway, Alton, Va. (GTLM and GTD only)
  • Sept. 17: Circuit of The Americas, Austin, Texas
  • Oct. 1: Road Atlanta, Braselton, Ga.**
Press Release

ALL NEW FORD GT RACE CAR TO MAKE EUROPEAN DEBUT AT SILVERSTONE AHEAD OF HISTORIC RETURN TO LE MANS

Ford’s all-new GT race car – revealed at Le Mans in June – will make its European racing debut at the Silverstone Circuit in the U.K. next April.

Two cars will line up on the grid for the opening round of the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) where they will compete in the GT-Endurance Pro Class for the Royal Automobile Club Tourist Trophy.

The event is the first of nine WEC rounds announced by the FIA for 2016. Ford will later make its historic return to the Le Sarthe circuit in France where, 50 years ago, Ford’s GT40 won the first of four consecutive Le Mans titles.

“We believe the Ford GT’s advances in aerodynamics, light-weighting and EcoBoost power will make for a compelling race car that can once again compete on a global stage,” said Raj Nair, Ford group vice president, Global Product Development and chief technical officer. “The same spirit that drove the innovation behind the first Ford GT still drives us as a company today. Let the racing begin!”

Based on the all-new Ford GT supercar unveiled in January and powered by the same Ford 3.5‑litre EcoBoost engine, the all new Ford GT race car is engineered from advanced lightweight composites featuring carbon fibre for an exceptionally rigid but light chassis.

Both the race car and production car will arrive in 2016 to mark the 50th anniversary of Ford GT40 race cars placing 1-2-3 at the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans. Ford went on to repeat its victory at Le Mans in 1967, 1968 and 1969.

As well as competing in the full 2016 FIA WEC, the GT Race Car will contest the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship (WTSCC), making its global competition debut in January at the Rolex 24 in Daytona, Fla.

Drivers’ details will be announced later.

2016 FIA World Endurance Championship Provisional Calendar*

Alongside the existing eight rounds an additional race will take place in Mexico, to be confirmed as the contract is still being finalised. The 2016 schedule will feature nine races in four continents:

March 25/6: The Prologue, Circuit Paul Ricard, France
April 17: 6 Hours of Silverstone, Great Britain
May 7: WEC 6 Hours of Spa, Belgium
June 5: 24 Hours of Le Mans Test Day
June 18/19: 24 Hours of Le Mans, France
July 24: 6 Hours of Nürburgring, Germany
Sept. 4: 6 Hours of Mexico City, Mexico (TBC)
Sept. 17: 6 Hours of Circuit of the Americas (Lone Star Le Mans), U.S.
Oct. 16: 6 Hours of Fuji, Japan
Nov. 6: 6 Hours of Shanghai, China
Nov. 19: 6 Hours of Bahrain, Bahrain
2016 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Schedule

Jan 30/31: Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach, Fla.**
Mar 19: Sebring International Raceway, Sebring, Fla.**
Apr 16: Long Beach Street Circuit, Long Beach, Calif. (WeatherTech Championship
Prototype (P), Prototype Challenge (PC) and GT Le Mans (GTLM) only)

May 1: Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Monterey, Calif.
June 4: Belle Isle Park, Detroit, Mich. (P, PC and GT Daytona (GTD) only)
July 3: Watkins Glen International, Watkins Glen, N.Y.**
July 10: Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada
July 23: Lime Rock Park, Lakeville, Conn. (PC, GTLM and GTD only)
Aug. 7: Road America, Elkhart Lake, Wis.
Aug. 21: Virginia International Raceway, Alton, Va. (GTLM and GTD only)
Sept. 17: Circuit of The Americas, Austin, Texas
Oct. 1: Road Atlanta, Braselton, Ga.**
* Subject to validation by the FIA World Motor Sport Council

** Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup events

Topics: ford, ford gt, race car

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