Exactly 50 years after Ford's historic 1-2-3 victory at Le Mans back in 1966, Ford takes the top spot in the Le Man GTE-Pro Class only 395 days after the new GT was unveiled for the first time, and we couldn't be more proud of the well deserved victory. An inspiring effort from the Ford Chip Ganassi team has transformed the car into a Le Mans winner in just over a year.
In addition to the winning #68 Ford GT, the #69 Ford GT finishing in third place, and the #66 and #67 Ford GTs finishing in fourth and ninth places respectively.
"This is an historic moment for the Ford Motor Company," said executive chairman, Bill Ford. "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. 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."
Ford president & CEO Mark Fields added that "Building a new car
and racing it at Le Mans is a monumental task. We took it on and we
conquered the biggest challenge in sportscar racing: the Le Mans 24
Hours. It has been incredible to share this event with our dealers,
owners, employees, sponsors and guests who are all bursting with pride
at being part of the Ford family. Every manufacturer in the GTE Pro
class fought with everything they had in the best competitive spirit,
and we are thrilled to have played our part in this incredible race."
After a nail-biting battle with the #82 Ferrari, the #68 Ford GT took the lead for the final time in the 20th hour of the race. Hand was behind the wheel on the three occasions that the Ford passed the Ferrari, rekindling a 50-year-old rivalry between the two car manufacturers.
“It’s a big deal to come back here 50 years after the Ford win in 1966,” said Hand. “We said we wanted to win but to actually do it is huge. This team has come so far in a short space of time. They all worked hard, right through Christmas and New Year and gave us a race car that we can race hard. We drove like it was a sprint race for 24 hours. I’ve won a lot of races and this is a big one. I’m honoured to be part of this programme. I’m a red, white and blue guy so to be part of the Ford family, where they treat you like their own, is a great place to be.”
This victory is particularly sweet for Bourdais who was born within sight of Tertre Rouge. The Frenchman has competed at Le Mans 10 times previously but this is his first win.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling to be able to make this happen,” said Bourdais. “There was so much effort, so much emotion, and to be the one that wins the trophy to give to the Ford family and everyone involved is very special. Everything aligned for us today -- the history, the Ferrari/Ford battle, 50 years on and the Ford family being here. To come out on top of all that is an amazing feeling.”
At the same time, Chip Ganassi now
becomes the only team owner in history to win the Indianapolis 500,
Daytona 500, Brickyard 400, Rolex 24 at Daytona, 12 Hours of Sebring and
the Le Mans 24 Hours.
We are incredible proud of the team's efforts and would like to congratulate them on their huge accomplishment.
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