Evan J. Smith
Freelancer
July 31, 2015
Photos By: Ford Motor Company

In anticipation of the mission to conquer LeMans in the 2016 Ford GT, Ford has begun the arduous process of testing. As with any new racing program, producing a winning combination requires engineering, assembly and many, many hours spent running the car. So before Ford returns to the 24 Hours of Le Mans, they must log laps—and in this case build a program from the ground up.

The most recent test was conducted three weeks before the car’s unveiling at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in Le Mans, France. Attending was by Raj Nair, Ford group vice president and chief technical officer, Ford Global Product Development, and Dave Pericak, director, Ford Performance. The Ford GT race car was secretly tested and today, Ford Performance is giving fans around the world an exclusive look at the Ford GT race car’s first shakedown test.

“Ford GT means a lot of really important things for the company,” said Nair. “First, it’s celebrating our heritage, but it also, for present-day Ford, highlights our capabilities, whether it’s the innovations with what we’re doing with EcoBoost engines, the innovations we’re doing in light-weighting vehicles, or the innovations we’re doing with aerodynamics. It’s seeing all of those tools and technologies in the production vehicle taken to their maximum limit on a car like the Ford GT. It’s a showcase of technology, a showcase of innovation, our ability and our passion for the sport as well,” he added.

The GT was first pressed on track in May, after months of simulation testing at Ford Motor Company in Dearborn, Michigan. The campaign is set to debut in 2016 at Daytona, where Ford will launch a four-car Ford GT race program under the Chip Ganassi Racing banner. “Two cars will race in the full TUDOR United SportsCar Championship series and will be based in the United States. Two will compete in the full FIA World Endurance Championship series and will be based in the United Kingdom,” stated our source at Ford.

“By no means does this mean we can all go home and wait until it’s time to go out on race day,” said Dave Pericak. “We have a lot in front of us to do and a short amount of time to do it. But to come out of the chute where we are just tells us we’re going to have one hell of a race car on race day. This is all state-of-the-art technology, whether we’re talking about engine technology or EcoBoost – who would’ve thought we were going to go to Le Mans running a six-cylinder EcoBoost engine? Unheard of. We have some secrets. This is a secret weapon, and we are not ready to show the world our secrets yet. We’re going to wait until race day to do that.”