Ford’s return to Le Mans will have a Kiwi at the wheel -- Scott Dixon has officially been named to the Ford GT 2016 Le Mans team.
The 2016 race will be the 50th anniversary of Ford’s Le Mans victory in 1966, when the winning Ford GT40 was driven by Kiwis Bruce McLaren and Chris Amon.
Ford Chip Ganassi Racing has assembled a talented team of racing drivers from across the globe, ready for its return to the Le Mans 24 Hours. Each of the four Ford GTs will have a team of three drivers to take on the demands of the Le Mans 24 Hours, which takes place on June 18-19.
“We are pleased to have a very strong driver line-up for our return to the Le Mans 24 Hours,” commented Raj Nair, Ford executive vice president and chief technical officer, Global Product Development.
“We’ve assembled a talented and experienced team on all fronts and we are all focused on creating a new chapter in Ford’s history at Le Mans.”
Scott Dixon will drive in the no. 69 car, which he will share with Englishman Richard Westbrook and Australian Ryan Briscoe.
“For once I’m the rookie as this will be my first Le Mans,” said Dixon. “I’m excited to make my Le Mans debut in the Ford GT. I’ve been in the car a few times in testing so I know we have a great race car here. Like any driver it is a dream come true for me to race at Le Mans and I can’t wait to get started. The history of Ford at Le Mans is very well documented and I’m proud to be part of this very special programme.”
The no. 66 Ford GT will be raced by German Stefan Mücke, Frenchman Olivier Pla and American Billy Johnson, while Scot Marino Franchitti, Guernsey-based Andy Priaulx and Englishman Harry Tincknell form a very strong squad in the no.67 Ford GT.
Tincknell is already a Le Mans winner as he took the LMP2 victory in 2014 in what was only his fourth sports car race. He will join the team for the first two WEC races at Silverstone and Spa before going to Le Mans.
Johnson is one of the most successful drivers in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge. Currently racing the Ford Shelby GT350R-C Mustang, Johnson makes his Le Mans debut this year.
The no. 68 Ford GT line-up will be American Joey Hand, German Dirk Mülle and Frenchman Sebastian Bourdais..
Bourdais tested the Ford GT during its development phase and competed in the no. 66 IMSA Ford GT at the Rolex 24 with Hand and Müller.
“Le Mans is incredibly close to my heart,” said Bourdais. “I was born there so it is very special to go back as the local boy, as I have done 10 times now. People have not forgotten Ford’s history and heritage at Le Mans, even though it was a long time ago. The excitement around Ford’s return will make Le Mans even more special for us.
“We have new challenges and new rivalries and we hope the story comes full circle so that we can repeat history.”
Bourdais and Dixon were recently announced as the third and fourth drivers who will complete the line-up for the Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring..
“Personally and as an organisation we are thrilled to be racing at Le Mans this year,” added Chip Ganassi.
“As a driver I raced there once back in 1987 and I have been looking to get back there ever since. To be going with Ford and the new GT makes it all the more special and the talent assembled in this driver line-up just adds to the anticipation.”